It’s possible to catch Covid twice, three or even more times, and as coronavirus infections continue to rise in the UK, you may be wondering how long immunity lasts
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Coronavirus infection rates are thought to be falling in the UK. However, scientists say it’s too early to draw any conclusions about the pandemic, because now more than 1,300 cases of the Omicron XE variant identified, in figures published on April 22.
The XE variant is a combination of two other Omicron sub variants – BA.2, also known as Stealth Omicron, and BA.1, the original Omicron strain.
As we’re years into the Covid pandemic, getting reinfected with Covid twice, or even three times isn’t impossible.
Recently it was reported that a healthcare worker in Spain caught the virus twice in 20 days. This is believed to be the shortest period between cases in one person. The 31-year-old first caught the Delta variant, and then Omicron less than three weeks later.
So how likely is it to catch Covid twice in a month? Here is everything you need to know.
Can you catch Covid twice in a month?
It is highly unlikely you will catch Covid twice in the same month, however it cannot be ruled out.
Speaking of the healthcare worker who got Covid twice in less than a month, Dr Gemma Recio, of the Institut Catala de la Salut, signals how capable the Omicron variant is of reinfecting people.
She said: “In other words, people who have had Covid-19 cannot assume they are protected against reinfection, even if they have been fully vaccinated.
“Nevertheless, both previous infection with other variants and vaccination do seem to partially protect against severe disease and hospitalization in those with Omicron.
“This case also underscores the need to carry out genomic surveillance of viruses in infections in those who are fully vaccinated and in reinfections.”
Previously it wasn’t believed you could catch Covid twice in a month. Previous studies pointed to immunity after getting infected lasting at least three months.
That means it’s incredibly unlikely you could catch Covid-19 twice within a month.
According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), a repeat infection means catching Covid 90 days or more after a previous infection.
For those testing positive a matter of weeks after their first positive result, it’s more likely residual effects of the initial infection.
In the UK a reinfection is counted as a positive case outside of the 90 days.
Signs of Covid reinfection
After you’ve recovered from Covid you’ll gain immunity from the virus, but it’s still not clear how long this lasts.
Your symptoms upon reinfection will also depend on which sub variant you catch, and whether you are vaccinated.
Your symptoms could be different the second, third or even fourth time round.
According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), reinfections of the Alpha variant, symptoms were less common. However, symptoms with reinfections with the Delta variant were common.
When Omicron was dominant, the ONS reported that people were “just as likely” to have symptoms in their first infection as their second.
Most common Covid symptoms
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Here is the official NHS list of Covid symptoms in adults:
- a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
- shortness of breath
- feeling tired or exhausted
- an aching body
- a headache
- a sore throat
- a blocked or runny nose
- loss of appetite
- feeling sick or being sick
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms again, even if you’ve already had Covid previously, you should stay at home and avoid contact with other people.
You are no longer required by law to self-isolate, but the NHS still recommends staying at home to avoid infecting others.