By Madison Muller
After the wave of omicron this winter, there was hope that all those infections at least meant that the covid it would go unnoticed for a while and give us all a little break.
But it seems that might not be the case.
Once again, infections are steadily increasing in USA. Some people are getting COVID a second, third, or even fourth time. Being recently sick no longer seems to be a guarantee that one will be protected against COVID for an extended period of time. Studies have suggested that newer omicron subvariants may evade not only antibodies to earlier variants such as delta, but even antibodies to earlier versions of omicron.
“The reality is that things are really not going well at the moment”said Jake Lemeuxinfectious disease physician at Massachusetts General Hospitalat a Harvard Medical School COVID briefing on Tuesday. “We all thought we would have a break after the devastating omicron wave. And that was clearly the case until a few weeks ago.”.
There is much we don’t know about these reinfections, and the unknown makes it even more difficult to assess the status of the pandemic as a whole. It is not clear how often reinfections occur or with which variants people are reinfected. That just isn’t currently part of the COVID data collection of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A handful of state health departments have been diligently monitoring repeat cases, but even they say reinfections are definitely undercounted.
Still, their data highlights something important.: Reinfections are becoming more and more common.
The Health Department The state of Colorado, for example, has recorded more than 44,000 reinfections during the pandemic, 82% of which have occurred since omicron became the dominant variant in December. Reinfections are more common among the unvaccinated, but more than a third have arisen in people who completed their initial two-dose vaccination series, according to the data. More than 16% of reinfections in Colorado have been in people with at least one booster dose.
A report from Washington state released Wednesday shows that some reinfections are also leading to hospitalizations. The age group most likely to be reinfected is 18 to 34 years old, but people 65 and older are more likely to be hospitalized after reinfection, the data show.