How many cases of people getting COVID-19 twice have been recorded?
So far, there have been no confirmed cases in the scientific literature of people getting COVID-19 twice. There have been a few news reports of people having a positive test weeks or months after they recovered from their original symptoms. But doctors haven’t confirmed that these positive tests are actually caused by new infections. The seemingly ‘new’ positive test could be caused by lingering, low-levels of virus in the person’s system from their first infection. This is possible even if they test negative and positive again.
Based on what we already know, reinfection of an otherwise healthy person seems unlikely (CROSSREF). However, reinfection might be possible for people who are vulnerable due to medical conditions. It might also be possible in the long term if the virus mutates or a first infection does not produce long-lasting protective immunity. It’s a new virus. We don’t know yet!
Until we have confirmed scientific reports of people getting COVID-19 a second time, we can only speculate whether or not it’s possible. Testing and contact tracing are two helpful tools for figuring out who gets sick and when. As we collect more data, doctors will be able to answer this question precisely.
Last update: July 15, 2020, 12:00 pm ET
Science review: ERS, JAB