In a COVID update on Wednesday, Kansas Health Secretary, Dr. Lee Norman, voiced concern about the potential for COVID-19 reinfection.
Norman says the health department has had a lot of questions about whether or not someone could catch COVID more than once. A woman in Belgium recently passed away from a documented second infection, and Norman pointed to that case as evidence that a person could catch COVID more than once. Norman noted this woman suffered from other health conditions that put her in the high-risk category.
According to Norman, there are still a lot of unknowns surrounding reinfection. If a person recovered from COVID, but later encountered a different strain, it’s not clear if the first infection would provide any immunity, or how long any immunity could last. This means a person who recovers from the virus should be cautious, and not just assume they cannot be infected again.
Reinfections and virus strains have led to questions about impacts on a vaccine for COVID-19. Dr. Norman says he expects that at some point, COVID vaccines will look a lot like flu shots, in that they will vaccinate against multiple strains at once.
The first COVID reinfection in the U.S. was recently documented in Nevada. Dr. Norman says at this time, there is no indication of a potential reinfection or second strain of COVID in Kansas.