Risk of being reinfected with Covid is low, new data suggests

17 June 2021, 20:14

The risk of reinfection from Covid is low, figures suggest
The risk of reinfection from Covid is low, figures suggest. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

The risk of being reinfected with Covid-19 is low, new figures suggest.

Just over 15,000 potential reinfections have been found in England - defined as testing positive a second time at least 90 days after the first time - out of 4 million confirmed cases.

However, a senior health official insisted that the news should not make people complacent.

Dr Susan Hopkins, strategic director for Covid-19 at Public Health England (PHE), said: "People are understandably concerned about whether you can catch Covid-19 more than once. While we know that people can catch viruses more than once, this data currently suggests that the rate of Covid-19 reinfection is low.

"However, it is important that we do not become complacent about this - it is vital to have both doses of the vaccine and to follow the guidance at all times to reduce your chance of any infection.

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"We continue to learn more each day about this virus and its variants.

"Through continued close monitoring and research, we will understand how best we can control outbreaks and the impact this virus will have on society over the coming years."

Of the 15,893 potential reinfections observed up to May 30, just 53 so far have been confirmed as a distinct specimen from each episode of illness, PHE added.

However, analysis into reinfection levels has been affected by the limited availability of data on the coronavirus' genomic sequence.

On Thursday, more than 10,000 new cases were confirmed over the course of a day for the first time since February.

There were 11,007 reported by the Government, the most in a day since February 19.

Meanwhile, another 19 people died within 28 days of testing positive. Government figures show 127,000 deaths from Covid, while Office for National Statistics show there have been 153,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

Meanwhile, 42 million first doses of a Covid vaccine have been given out, along with 30 million second doses.

Data from a large study of Covid suggests the rise in cases appears to be "slowing down" and cases could decline within two weeks.