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When you’ve gotten COVID greater than as soon as, as many individuals have, chances are you’ll be questioning in case your danger for struggling the lingering signs of lengthy COVID is identical with each new an infection.
The reply seems to be no. The possibilities of lengthy COVID — a set of signs together with exhaustion and shortness of breath — falls sharply between the primary and second infections, based on current analysis.
« It does appear that the chance is considerably decrease the second time round than the primary time round for creating lengthy COVID, » says Daniel Ayoubkhani, a statistician on the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics in the UK, who’s been learning lengthy COVID in that nation.
However the danger doesn’t fall to zero, based on the newest outcomes of an ongoing survey of greater than 500,000 individuals within the U.Ok. by March 5.
« The danger of lengthy COVID is considerably decrease, … however it’s nonetheless non-negligible. It is not unimaginable to develop lengthy COVID the second time when you did not develop it the primary time. I believe that is the important thing takeaway from our research, » Ayoubkhani says.
The survey tracked lengthy COVID signs like fatigue, muscle aches, shortness of breath and focus issues. Fatigue and bother concentrating have been the commonest.
Among the many adults within the survey, 4% reported lengthy COVID signs persisting not less than 4 weeks after their first an infection, the survey discovered. In distinction, simply 2.4% of those that hadn’t developed lingering well being issues after their first an infection reported ongoing signs after their second case.
« That is a major discount within the odds, » he says.
The research did not study why the chance for lengthy COVID can be decrease from a second an infection than a primary. However Ayoubkhani says there may very well be a number of causes.
For instance, the immunity individuals have constructed up from earlier infections could scale back the chance of creating lengthy COVID from the following one. « We do not know that from our knowledge, however that is a speculation, » he says.
One other chance is that the research excluded those that had gotten lengthy COVID from their first an infection, so those that did not get it from their first an infection could also be innately much less vulnerable to lengthy COVID for some cause.
« It might have one thing to do with somebody’s predisposition, » he says.
The research additionally did not study whether or not a second an infection worsens signs in individuals who have already got lengthy COVID.
Regardless that the research was performed within the U.Ok., there is not any cause to imagine the outcomes would not apply to the U.S., he says.
In actual fact, the findings are per an earlier research that produced related outcomes by analyzing knowledge from tons of of hundreds of sufferers handled by the U.S. Veterans Administration.
That research, which was printed in November, discovered that the chance of nonetheless experiencing well being issues a yr after getting COVID fell from about 10% from a primary an infection to about 6% from a second an infection.
« Undeniably, we’re seeing very, very clearly that for the second an infection the chance is decrease than the primary an infection, » says Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, an epidemiologist at Washington College in St. Louis who led that research.
Al-Aly agrees which may be due partially to immunity from the primary an infection. One other issue is that later strains of the virus seem to trigger milder illness, which can make them much less prone to result in long-COVID.
« When individuals received re-infected they often received re-infected with omicron, which is definitely milder, » he stated, discussing the outcomes of his research.
One other doable affect could also be improved remedies, which lessened the severity of COVID, he says.
Neither research examined the chance of lengthy COVID after a 3rd or fourth an infection, however Al-Aly hopes that the chance would proceed to say no with every subsequent an infection.
« All these items are pointing in the correct route that makes me optimistic that sooner or later in time re-infection could add trivial dangers or non-consequential dangers, » he says.
« That is our hope. We do not have knowledge. However that is our hope, » he says.
However Al-Aly notes that as a result of so many individuals are nonetheless catching the virus, the general quantity who’re affected by lingering well being issues continues to extend even when there’s a decrease danger from second infections.
« I form of liken it to Russian Roulette, » Al-Aly says. « The chances on the particular person degree of getting lengthy COVID after a second an infection versus the primary is decrease for any particular person individual. »
However he provides, « that danger is just not zero, » and meaning at a inhabitants degree, we nonetheless see a rising variety of circumstances of lengthy COVID in the neighborhood — and a rising burden on caregivers and society.
Edited by Carmel Wroth.