Getting Infected Twice? Not Likely!

By: Jonathan Xu

There are many accounts and stories of people testing positive twice for COVID-19, the second time becoming many times worse than the first time. One report is of a woman from Los Angeles, who tests positive after her initial recovery from the virus. Some doctors have even stated that some of their patients get infected a second time, which is usually a much more severe case.

Many health experts say otherwise, however. They point out that each of these cases have little evidence supporting the authenticity of the account. A number of factors like whether they had really recovered from the first bout is not confirmed. Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said that “[He hasn’t] heard of a case where it’s been truly unambiguously demonstrated.” Through these words, it is obvious that he is doubtful of the anecdotes claiming that the virus has infected a victim twice.

More evidence brought up by other health experts point out that, 7 months into this epidemic, it behaves much like any other viral pandemic. If the coronavirus was truly like the other viruses, then it is possible to achieve herd immunity with the use of vaccines, which is indeed great news. Viruses almost never infect the same person in a short period of time, especially during a pandemic, which is why experts are so dubious towards the claims.

A more scientific approach demonstrates that after receiving or being infected by the virus, a person’s memory T cells would be activated and become hostile towards the coronavirus. When infecting a person, the coronavirus activates a robust defense in the body’s immune system as a response to the new foreign invader. The primary reason why the coronavirus is actually infecting people at the rate it is right now is because nobody’s immune system recognizes the coronavirus, but after even a single attack from the virus, a person’s memory T cells would remember the invader, maybe on that lasts for life.

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