FACT CHECK: Is COVID-19 Reinfection Impossible?
A post shared on Facebook claims that if a person has already had a COVID-19 infection, they cannot be reinfected.
While COVID-19 reinfection is rare, it does occur, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At least one state now reports COVID-19 reinfection cases.
Social media users have been sharing a claim on Facebook that suggests it is impossible to contract COVID-19 again after already having it. (RELATED: Image Claims To Show A CDC Infographic Saying ‘Refusing To Take The Vaccine Is A Form Of Racism’)
While a previous COVID-19 infection does offer some degree of protection against future COVID-19 infections, this protection is not absolute, the Mayo Clinic reported. Reinfection is possible, according to both the Mayo Clinic and the CDC.
“Cases of reinfection with COVID-19 have been reported, but remain rare,” reads a section of the CDC’s website.
North Carolina began publicly reporting COVID-19 reinfection data in October, according to The News and Observer. The state reported there were 10,812 reinfections cases from March 1 to Sept. 20, with 94 deaths. The data shows a substantial uptick in reinfection cases starting in February.
“The number of reinfections has increased with the surge caused by the more infectious Delta variant,” reads a section of the state’s Historical Reinfection Data page. “Reinfections were less often identified in children and persons of Hispanic ethnicity and more often identified in females but were otherwise similar compared to those with initial/primary infections.”
Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Check Your Fact that the claim made in the Facebook post was false. “While it is true that reinfection, especially in the short term, are relatively rare they do occur,” Adalja said.
Several studies, including one published in The Lancet and another conducted by the CDC, found that those who previously had COVID-19 and are not vaccinated are more likely to contract COVID-19 again when compared to those who are vaccinated against COVID-19. The CDC recommends people should be vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of whether they have already had it or not.