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COVID-19: Increasing Number Of Reinfections Being Reported, Sometimes Within Weeks

Americans are at a great risk for reinfection.
Americans are at a great risk for reinfection. Photo Credit: Unsplash/Viktorr Forgacs

With the number of new COVID-19 variants and wild strains evolving, Americans are reporting an increasing number of reinfections of the virus across the country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 means a person was infected, recovered, and then later became infected again, sometimes within weeks of the initial infection.

Officials said that after recovering from COVID-19, most individuals will have some protection from repeat infections, however, reinfections have become more common during the most recent wave of new cases.

“Recovery from many viral infectious diseases is followed by a period of infection-induced immunologic protection against reinfection,” according to the CDC.

“This phenomenon is widely observed with many respiratory viral infections, including both influenza and the endemic coronaviruses, for which acquired immunity also wanes over time making individuals susceptible to reinfection.”

In many cases, one contracts the Alpha or Delta strain of the virus, and within a matter of weeks or months, they test positive again, this time for a different COVID-19 variant, largely the Omicron strain.

One such case was star Jimmy Kimmel, who confirmed that he tested positive for reinfection on Tuesday, May 17. His second positive infection came two weeks after the late-night host sat out of tapings of his show after members of his family tested positive for the virus.

“I’m such a positive person, I tested positive AGAIN,” he posted online in announcing his replacements in John Mulaney and Andy Samberg for his show "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

“CDC continues to work to better understand reinfections with COVID-19 to inform public health action,” federal health officials said. "CDC is using a range of data sources to assess how often reinfections occur, who is most at risk for reinfection, and the risk of reinfection when there is community spread of Omicron or other virus variants.” 

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