Many people are being re-infected with Covid variants that are more contagious than the original wild-type virus. The prevalent Omicron BA.5 variant has a nasty twist – it can evade the immune system.
A very large study from the VA hospital system shows that people who are re-infected with Covid often get less sick but have a higher risk of serious long-term health problems. The VA population is older and more likely to have multiple co-morbidities so that may not apply to younger, healthier people. The great thing about the VA is their massive database – the analysis is very reliable. The researchers compared the electronic health records of three groups of people: more than 257,000 people with one confirmed Covid-19 infection; more than 38,900 people with two or more infections; and a control group of more than 5.3 million who didn’t have a Covid-19 infection.
“The risk of developing medical issues such as lung and heart problems is most acute in the first 30 days after an infection. Those risks remain elevated for up to six months for most conditions and increase with each subsequent infection. For instance, out of 100 people with a reinfection and 100 who had only one infection, five more people with reinfection developed a lung or respiratory issue or heart problem within a six-month period.”
In 2020 and 2021, the Covid caseload rose during the summer after the Memorial Day and July 4th holiday gatherings and travel. That’s happening now. Covid cases rose in May and leveled out at a higher steady state.
I am continuing my Covid precautions – shopping early, socially distancing, wearing a mask indoors even if I am the only one who is masked. So far, so good.
If you have already had Covid, be aware that you could be reinfected and that the later infection could cause new problems.