A 25-year-old was infected twice with the coronavirus earlier this year, scientists in Nevada have confirmed. It is the first confirmed case of so-called reinfection with the virus in the U.S. and the fifth confirmed reinfection case worldwide.
The cases underscore the importance of social distancing and wearing masks even if you were previously infected with the virus, and they raise questions about how the human immune system reacts to the virus.
The two infections in the Nevada patient occurred about six weeks apart, according to a case study published Monday in the medical journal The Lancet. The patient originally tested positive for the virus in April and had symptoms including a cough and nausea. He recovered and tested negative for the virus in May.
But at the end of May, he went to an urgent care center with symptoms including fever, cough and dizziness. In early June, he tested positive again and ended up in the hospital.
They're calling this the first known US case of reinfection, but reporting is slow. Notice that this reinfection occurred in June. I doubt this is the first US case.
I will keep saying this: 8 people in my family contracted the virus. Two of them died. Among relatives who survived, a cousin, age 38, originally contracted the virus in March. She was hospitalized, had a slow recovery, tested negative, and two months later contracted the virus again and was hospitalized again. Whether it was a case of reinfection from another exposure to the virus or a recurrence of a suppressed virus in her system, her case tells me that it is not safe to assume that infection and recovery guarantee you can't have a recurrence or reinfection.