UC doctor: Although rare, catching COVID-19 twice is possible

Posted at 8:39 AM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-16 08:39:31-04

CINCINNATI — Although rare, catching COVID-19 more than once is a possibility, according to UC Health’s Dr. William Zacharias.

Earlier this week, scientists confirmed a 25-year-old Nevada man had contracted the virus twice, according to NPR. It’s the first case of someone catching COVID-19 twice in the U.S. and the fifth in the world, NPR reported.

In addition to treating COVID-19 patients at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Zacharias researches the long-term effects the virus has on the lungs.

Zacharias said data indicates there are two different strains of the virus, which is evidence that it is possible to catch the coronavirus twice. Even though it is possible, it’s unclear how common it is, and scientists don’t yet know how many people are at risk of reinfection.

"I think what this tells us is that we can't be confident that we are out of the woods if we've had it once,” Zacharias said. “I think particularly for people that are at increased risk, this is probably going to be scary that it's at least possible that this happens."

People who have had COVID-19 should not let their guard down, Zacharias said. He said everyone should wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Ohio currently has 176,000 positive cases of COVID-19; about 33% of Ohio counties are on red alert, including Hamilton, Butler, Warren, Highland and Adams Counties.

Gov. Mike DeWine said hospitalizations have nearly doubled in the last 30 days.