The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in over 117 million cases and over 2.6 million deaths worldwide as of March 7, 2021, as estimated by the World Health Organization. Little is known about protection against SARS-CoV-2 repeat infections but two studies in the UK have found that immunity could last at least 5-6 months after infection. This data suggests that reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 is rare and occurs in less than 1% of individuals who previously tested positive.
Of interest, findings in a study indicates relatively low protection against reinfection in people aged 65 years or older compared with younger individuals, however, another study found a high degree of protection against reinfection in older people. The reinfection of healthcare workers is of particular interest because of the high risk of exposure to the virus and frequent tests regardless of clinical signs and symptoms. The study found similar results, the risk of healthcare workers becoming reinfected is higher than the general population.
This is true with this virus overall, younger populations are not as affected as seniors, and healthcare workers are a high risk! At the end of the day, the study found that protection against repeat SARS-CoV-2 infection is robust and detectable in the majority of individuals, protecting 80% or more of the naturally infected population who are younger than 65 years old. Individuals over 65 years old had less than 50% protection against repeat SARS-CoV-2 infection. Remember, our residents are over 65 for the most part; maintain source controls measures, social distancing, and control visitation with outside family and friends. We need to be aware, we need to maintain some sense of “normal” to include visits, but let’s do it safely!
Stay well, roll up your sleeves, and stay tuned!