‘Reinfections are going to continue to occur’: COVID-19 immunity and the risks of reinfection
July 19, 2022 - More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of Americans now have some level of protection against the novel coronavirus. Millions have been vaccinated or have recovered from a prior infection, yielding antibodies that provide varying degrees of immunity.
Although that immunity may stave off the most dire of infections, it isn’t foolproof, and it doesn’t always prevent a person from getting COVID-19 a second time — or even a third or fourth time.
BA.5, a highly contagious omicron subvariant, is now the dominant cause of COVID-19 infections in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
Although COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available, reinfections have risen in recent weeks. Years into the pandemic, experts said that’s unsurprising. Virginia Pitzer, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, said being infected with COVID-19 more than once will likely become the norm.
"We’re going to be living with COVID, reasonably for the rest of our lives, and reinfections are going to continue to occur," Pitzer said.
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