But very little research has been done to reach definitive conclusions. For example, it is important to determine which definition the researchers used. In the French study, this was: a patient who had tested positive twice with a PCR test, the examinations were spaced at least 90 days apart, and had a negative result at least once between them. This turned out to be the case for 31 people in the study, out of the 6,771 patients examined in the first wave.
But the chance of getting infected again depends on the circumstances. From the amount of resistance the body builds and the amount of virus that transmits to the behavior. Diavatopoulos: “This makes interpreting these types of studies very difficult. Sometimes former patients take more risks because they assume they are protected.”
Are people less likely to suffer from reinfection?
“Most people will react to it more moderately the second time,” says immunologist Marjolyn Van Egmond. “But this is definitely not for everyone.” Ultimately, it depends on the situation: the more you ingest the virus, the more ill you will have overall. Thus, the exact circumstances of the first and second infection largely determine how severe or minor Covid-19 is.
As the Royal Institute of Mental Health (RIVM) writes, the majority of people who get reinfected “generally appear to be less dangerous.” Immunologist Divatopoulos explains: “We know that the defenses you build are generally stronger when you have severe complaints.”
So if you were barely sick the first time, it could be a lot worse the second time. In the Netherlands, various cases are known that have actually led to recontamination More severe symptoms.
In November, a patient reported feeling high again, extreme tiredness, lung pain, and severe headache: