Here’s How Quickly You Can Get Reinfected With COVID After Being Sick

BA.5 is changing the game when it comes to multiple COVID-19 infections. This is what experts know about how long immunity lasts now.

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A few months ago, we believed recovering from COVID-19 meant the chances of getting the virus again so soon were low. Scientists thought we were protected for at least six months after the initial infection.

But now, as the hyper-transmissible BA.5 variant whips around the country, more and more reinfections are being detected in people who’ve already had COVID once, if not twice, before.

“Reinfections are due to several reasons, including more relaxed safety precautions such as masking and social distancing, as well as declining antibody levels and additional viral mutations, which can result in immune escape by omicron sub-variants,” Pablo Penaloza-MacMaster, an assistant professor of microbiology-immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and advisor to the Illinois Department of Public Heath, told HuffPost.

In addition to SARS-CoV-2, there are four other coronaviruses that circulate and cause the common cold. These viruses are known to reinfect people after an average of about 12 months. Though there was hope that we’d eventually gain herd immunity against COVID, it appears that SARS-CoV-2 is behaving like the other coronaviruses that we’re exposed to year after year.

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