The spread COVID-19, the coronavirus illness which was first reported in Wuhan, China in 2019, has brought with it a number of unsurprising worries and concerns regarding the virus - including if it’s possible to contract it twice.

So, can you get coronavirus twice? Or do you simply become immune once you’ve contracted it? Let’s discuss.


Can you get infected with coronavirus twice?


It’s important to remember that SARS-CoV-2 is a new strain of coronavirus which we’re learning more about each day, and, some questions are difficult to give a direct answer to - including whether you can get coronavirus twice.

To put it simply, it’s not yet completely clear whether you can get coronavirus twice. CDC explains that: “The immune response to COVID-19 is not yet understood. Patients with MERS-CoV (a similar but different viral infection) are unlikely to be re-infected shortly after they recover, but it is not yet known whether similar immune protection will be observed for patients with COVID-19.” [1]


Has anyone gotten the coronavirus twice?


There have been reports of a small number of cases where patients who were hospitalised with confirmed Covid-19 and later tested negative were then later found to be positive again.

However, this may be a result of missing the infection during testing originally (if very small amounts of virus were present early in the infection) and it’s also possible that patients who were initially released with negative results were released before they were fully recovered.

Keep in mind that what we know about these small number of cases comes from news reports and not scientific studies.


At the time of writing, the latest figures show that over 80,000 people have recovered from this disease, and it is important to remember that the majority of people who develop COVID-19 have mild or moderate symptoms and recover. [2].

Having said that, it’s crucial to follow the hygiene steps outlined by CDC to keep both yourself and your loved ones protected from getting and spreading the virus, these include:

  • Clean your hands carefully and often with soap and water
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue, not your hand
  • Wear a facemask if you’re sick
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthcare Professionals: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers. Online: Cdc.gov, 2020
  2. Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)