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US Reinfection Case Raises Question: How Long Does COVID Immunity Last?

A recent case in Nevada became what appears to be only the second published case of COVID-19 reinfection in the scientific literature. The case highlights unknowns about the virus and helps illustrate the constraints public health workers in the US operate under. PHI CEO Mary Pittman comments on the need for funding of public health now and for future pandemics.

  • The Guardian
a chalk drawing of a circle with "corona" written in the center and smaller circles surround it

A recent case in Nevada became what appears to be only the second published case of COVID-19 reinfection in the scientific literature. The man, a long-term care home worker in Reno, quarantined at a family member’s home while he was ill. Researchers believe he was reinfected when a family member, also an essential worker, brought a slightly different coronavirus strain home in early June.

Virologists largely expected reinfection could occur. But experts said the US reinfection case highlights the enduring mysteries of the coronavirus, including how long a person’s immune system protects against the virus after an infection and the virus’s interaction with individual biology. Reinfection cases are important also for the development of vaccines and assessing their impacts as the world’s medical community races to develop them.

The case also reveals the power that can be brought to bear by robust testing, contact tracing and public health expertise at a time when all three are under attack. Public labs and contact tracing programs have had funding decimated in the decade since the Great Recession.

 

PHI CEO and President Mary Pittman
Defunding public health nationwide is one of the things I really worry about. It’s one of the things we have to recognize and ameliorate, because this is not going to be our last pandemic.

Mary Pittman, CEO of the Public Health Institute

Click below to read the full story in The Guardian.

Originally published by The Guardian


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