Since the official start of the pandemic in 2020, there have been different variants and sub-variants that have caused flares and spikes in COVID cases. “For two and a half years, Covid-19 has overtaken our response, becoming increasingly transmissible and reaching levels of infectivity few pathogens have ever reached.” says Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, professor of molecular medicine and executive vice president of Scripps Research. Here are the facts on COVID reinfections, according to experts. Read on – and don’t miss these to protect your health and the health of others Sure signs you already had COVID.
“In recent months we have seen a remarkable increase in transmissibility as the Omicron (BA.1) variant became dominant, with at least a three-fold increase in reproductive number beyond delta,” says Topol. “Despite hopes that this could top out the spread of the virus, we quickly transitioned to a BA.2 wave, with at least one more jump of around 30% transmissibility, and we are now heading towards one in the United States.” dominant subvariant called BA.2.12.1, which is another 25% more transmissible than BA.2 and already accounts for almost 50% of new cases.”
“It seems likely to me that this will be a long-term pattern,” says Juliet Pulliam, an epidemiologist at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. “The virus will continue to evolve. And there will probably be a lot of people who get many, many reinfections over the course of their lives.”
“If we manage it the way we’re doing it now, most people will get infected with it at least a couple of times a year.” says Kristian Andersen, a virologist at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. “I would be very surprised if it didn’t go that way.”
“You don’t have much protection after being infected with BA.1”, says dr Warner C. Greene, Senior Investigator for the Gladstone Institutes. “It’s immunosuppressive. It acquires these mutations that make it look like a stealth virus. We have our immune systems ready to prevent these infections, but the virus is now learning how to evade the antibodies. It’s less effective against T-cells, thank goodness.”
“No, we don’t have to live with Covid because the Covid we are seeing now is deeply concerning.” says Topol. “While there has been no increase in hospital admissions, they are increasing significantly, with an increase of more than 20% in the United States over the past two weeks. The proportion of people who are hospitalized and die among the vaccinated compared to the unvaccinated has increased significantly.
Follow public health principles and help end this pandemic no matter where you live – get vaccinated or boosted as soon as possible; If you live in an area with low vaccination rates, carry an N95 face masknot travelling, maintaining social distancing, avoiding large crowds, not going indoors with people you are not sheltering with (especially in bars), practicing good hand hygiene and protecting your life and the lives of others, not visiting any of these 35 places where you are most likely to contract COVID.
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for bringing science and research-backed information to a wide audience. Continue reading