Can you get Coronavirus twice?
When it comes to the novel coronavirus (a.k.a. Covid-19), it often feels like there are more questions than answers out there.
One question, in particular, that seems to be on everyone's mind as guidelines about social distancing and other safety precautions grow more urgent: can you get Covid-19 twice?
Concerns around double-infection first cropped up after the Japanese government made a statement about a woman in her forties who had been discharged following coronavirus treatment on 1 February, only to return to the hospital and test positive a second time on 26 February.
However, news reports have since speculated about whether she was truly reinfected with coronavirus, never fully recovered in the first place, or whether one of her tests was botched.
"There have been issues with testing quality, which is understandable given the multiple factors that could have negatively impacted the accuracy of test kits that were developed on short notice," says Dr Randy Orr, medical director of the Intensive Care Unit at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital.
That said, there is some reason to believe double-infection may not be a major concern.
"Prior history suggests that once a patient is infected with Covid-19, they will have a significant degree of immunity or protection from the virus infecting them again in the coming months," Orr says.
In other words, he believes that this coronavirus behaves like other viruses, which are generally difficult to contract a second time after being fought off by the body.