The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in this current wave has already surpassed one million. Many of the cases are reinfections, including a nurse who caught COVID-19 three times over the course of a year, with each case more severe than the previous one.
The epidemic situation in Taiwan shows no signs of slowing. It's believed that for people who recover from COVID-19, immunity can last about 3 months. The Central Epidemic Command Center recently even said that people who recover have "invincible immunity" and won't get re-infected, so they won't be listed as contacts or have to quarantine. However, there is the case of a nurse who got infected on three separate occasions over the course of a year. Each case was more severe than the previous one.
Lee Chien-chang, Doctor, Dept. of Emergency Medicine, NTU Hospital: “Genetics has an effect on immune systems. Some people are naturally immune to certain types of bacteria, while others don't have any immunity. Those who developed the so-called invincible immunity can still get re-infected later on.”
Huang Hsuan, Critical Care Physician: “The properties of the Omicron variant make it easier to escape immunity, so many antibodies can't fight it.”
According to CECC statistics, there are 1,212 people who have gotten infected twice since 2020. There is no consensus yet on whether the symptoms of a second infection are milder. Doctors say the belief that reinfection won't occur within three months' time probably only applies to the exact same sequence. The virus infected too many people after it started spreading at the community level, so there will be sequence replication errors. If the sequence differs, then reinfection can occur. This is specific to the Omicron variant.
Chiang Kuan-yu, Doctor, Taipei City Hospital Zhongxing Branch: “People who got infected in the past no longer have "invincible immunity." There are so many Omicron BA.1 2 3 4 5 and BA.2 subtypes, so when there is a comparatively large difference in the sequence and people get infected a second time and the viral concentration is high, then they can still get infected.”
Doctors remind the public that COVID-19 is harmful, especially to those with chronic illnesses. Those with breathing difficulties and palpitations even after recovery from COVID-19 should seek medical treatment to determine if there is pulmonary fibrosis and medications are needed.