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Can variants lead to reinfection?

A new study from Denmark has found reinfections are pretty rare

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Workers keep track of test timers at a COVID-19 testing site at the Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. A new study from Denmark has found reinfections are pretty rare

Workers keep track of test timers at a COVID-19 testing site at the Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. A new study from Denmark has found reinfections are pretty rare.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Experts are concerned new COVID-19 variants may be causing people to be reinfected with the novel coronavirus.

What’s going on?

On Monday, Utah reported its first case of someone who had the COVID-19 variant originally discovered in Brazil, according to the Deseret News.

  • So far, about 54 cases of the COVID-19 variant have been confirmed in the U.S., per the Deseret News.

Why experts worry about variants

South Carolina epidemiologist Dr. Scott Curry told WIS-TV that reinfection is becoming a greater concern because of the variants.

  • “It’s happening a lot in areas of the world where variants are kind of getting out of control,” Curry said. “For instance, Brazil is having a really rough time with people who documented symptomatic COVID to make them sick twice.”

Curry told WIS-TV you know you’ve been reinfected if you’ve shown a high viral load of the coronavirus on two separate occasions of testing.

Can you get COVID-19 twice?

A new study out of Denmark suggests getting infected by the novel coronavirus twice is actually pretty rare — but your chances change based on your age.

  • The new study — which was recently published in the medical journal Lancet — found most people who survive COVID-19 usually stay safe from reinfection for six months.

Reinfection of coronavirus by the variant or the original mutation — though rare — can happen. But the chances drop by about 80% for those younger than 65 years old. Those who are older than 65 only saw their chances drop by 50%, which indicates older people may be more likely to be infected again with COVID-19.

The New York Times reports that the study focused on a small group of people, and the researchers didn’t offer any more information beyond what they reported in the study.

  • This could mean “that only people who were mildly ill the first time became infected again and that the second infections were largely symptom-free,” according to The New York Times.