How many times can you catch Covid? Most of those with Omicron have been infected before

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A new study has revealed that two-thirds of those infected by Omicron in England have already had Covid. So how many times can you catch coronavirus? Here’s everything you need to know

Woman blowing her nose hard into a tissue at home
Majority of those infected by Omicron in England have had Covid before

Almost three years into the pandemic, most of us have either caught Covid or known someone who has been struck down by it.

However, some people have been unlucky enough to catch the virus more than once. Now, an ongoing study from react , you have found a majority of those who have been infected by the dominant Omicron strain had already been infected by the virus before.

The study swab-tested thousands of volunteers in England, and found that two of every three (65%) of the infected volunteers said they had already previously tested positive for Covid.

Many of these could have been reinfected, but more work remains to be done to see how many of these are true re-infections.

How many times can you catch Covid?

You can catch Covid more than once especially after the emergence of Omicron
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You can catch Covid more than once. Some people – including politicians Keir Starmer and Matt Hancock – have had Covid twice, while there have also been other reports of people being infected with the virus three or even four times, sometimes just a few weeks apart.

An analysis by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) published in December revealed that around one in 10 people who contracted Omicron in England have previously had Covid.

Brits will be well aware of the three main symptoms of coronavirus – a new, continuous cough, a fever and a loss of taste and/or smell.

These are the officially recognized symptoms according to the NHS.

However, with the new Omicron variant, symptoms have been described as being more similar to a common cold.

It’s important to be aware of the symptoms in order to limit the spread of Covid.

While Covid infection is thought to provide natural immunity, UK studies into Omicron showed that immunity due to infection provides poor protection against the new strain.

Another study which took all PCR test-confirmed Covid cases in England from November 29 and December 11, found that people who had already contracted coronavirus only had around 19% protection against Omicron.

How soon can you get Covid again?

Natural immunity from Covid infection wanes after a period of time. However, it’s not clear how long this initial immune response lasts after the first infection with Covid, and it can vary from person to person.

According to research, immunity after recovery from Covid can last from three months up to several years. But, some people can get re-infected sooner.

A Yale School of Public Health study from October 2021 noted that unvaccinated people should have immunity against reinfection for between three and 61 months, but this was before the emergence of Omicron.

How long does it take to recover from Covid?

Some people may be affected by long Covid which can last weeks or months after infection
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The amount of time it takes to recover from Covid can be different for everyone. While many people feel better in a few days or weeks -making a full recovery within 12 weeks – others can experience long-Covid symptoms.

These long term symptoms can last weeks or months after the infection has gone, and is not linked to how ill you were when you first caught the virus.

Common long COVID symptoms, according to the NHS include:

  • extreme tiredness
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain or tightness
  • problems with memory and concentration (“brain fog”)
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • heart palpitations
  • dizziness
  • pins and needles
  • joint pain
  • depression and anxiety
  • tinnitus, earaches
  • feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
  • a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
  • rashes

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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