Thursday, August 27 2020

Dive In

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Big Story

An emerging trend of reinfections

The TLDR: There have been a flurry of reports of people contracting Covid for the second time from around the world: Hong Kong, Belgium, Netherlands and—closer to home—Telangana! So is this reason to worry? No, but it suggests that neither an infection nor a vaccine can provide lifelong immunity. Most importantly: we don’t know if a reinfected person can spread the disease. 


Tell me about these cases

At least three of these are the first confirmed cases of reinfection. Until now, there were suspected cases, but there was no scientific evidence. Doctors had not sequenced the genes of the virus in each case to confirm that the positive Covid test was the result of a new infection, and not due to the viral residue of the old one. 


  • Hong Kong: A 33-year old man got a mild case of Covid around the end of March—and recovered fully. But when he underwent mandatory screening at the airport, he tested positive again. 
  • Belgium: A woman in her 50s was infected in early March. Her body did not produce a lot of antibodies the first time around. She has tested positive again after displaying mild symptoms.
  • Netherlands: Not much is known about this patient other than she is elderly and has a weak immune system.
  • Telangana: Two medical professionals—age and gender unknown—have tested positive after two months. They are entirely asymptomatic. But scientists have not yet confirmed that these are indeed two different strains—and therefore reinfections.


And they got sick all over again?

Yes, but with a different strain of the virus—and almost all had zero or mild symptoms the second time around. 


What does that tell me?


In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • Amazon India is being sued
  • Women make better corona warriors
  • Coming soon: A West Wing reunion
  • Alibaba hits pause on India


I Recommend

  • Le15 founder Pooja Dhingra's fave podcasts


Smart And Curious

  • India’s post-Covid recovery is looking like a Monopoly board game
  • The greatest novels ever written about every sport
  • India’s African rulers

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