Simanaitis Says

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SUPPOSE YOU’VE CAUGHT Covid-19 and recovered. Are you immune from catching it again? 

Trump claims he’s now immune.

Trump throws a face mask into the crowd at a rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, October 13, 2020. Image from Voice of America, October 14, 2020. At a rally in Sanford, Florida, October 12, 2020, he said “I feel so powerful…. I’ll walk in there, I’ll kiss everyone in that audience.”

Don’t try this at home, kids; he’s the President (as he incessantly reminds us, thankfully not for long). 

What’s more, we’ve learned to be more than a little suspicious of Trump’s pronouncements. For example, he has said repeatedly that the U.S. was “rounding the corner” with the virus.

Yet, evidence suggests we’re in the midst of a terrible second wave of the pandemic. And, a recent article in Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, suggests that any post-infection immunity is another unknown aspect of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Science Article. Jop de Vrieze writes in Science, November 20, 2020, “Reinfections hint that immunity against Covid-19 may be fragile and wane relatively quickly, with implications not just for the risks facing recovered patients, but also for how long future vaccines might protect people.”

“To count as a case of reinfection,” he says, “a patient must have a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test twice with at least one symptom-free month in between. The PCR test is considered the gold standard, more accurate than the Covid-19 Rapid (or Antigen) test.

De Vrieze writes about a 33-year-old man who had been treated at a Hong Kong hospital for a mild case in March, and then tested positive again on August 15 after returning from a trip to Spain. 

Since then, at least 24 other reinfections have been confirmed, but scientists say this is definitely an underestimate.

Prepare for Reinfections. Lia van der Hoek is a virologist at Amsterdam University Medical Centers. She is quoted as saying, “I think we’d better prepare for a wave of reinfections over the coming months.” That’s “bad news for those who still believe in herd immunity through natural infections,” she adds, and a worrisome sign for vaccines.

Sanne de Jong, age 22, works as a nursing intern at a Rotterdam hospital. Back in April, she had been tested positive for the virus and had mild symptoms for about two weeks. In early May, she tested negative. But then in July, she tested positive again. “You’re kidding me!” she recalls saying.

Sanne de Jong, a nursing assistant in Rotterdam hospital. Image from Science, November 20, 2020.

De Vrieze writes, “Although she tested negative in September and has high levels of neutralizing antibodies, suggesting she is protected for at least a couple of months, she still suffers from gastrointestinal complaints, fatigue, and cognitive impairment. De Jong says her story is a warning to people who had the virus and think they’re now invulnerable: ‘Please be cautious. You can get it again.’ ” ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2020

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