Recurrent COVID-19 infections can lead to serious health consequences, including organ failure or even death.
A new study by the Washington University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System found that people who had the virus multiple times were twice as likely die and three times more likely be admitted to hospital than those who had it only once.
The team published their findings in Nature Medicine. They also discovered that repeat patients were three-and-a half times as likely to have lung problems, three times more likely develop heart conditions, and 1.6x more likely than those with brain disorders.
Dr. Ziyad al-Aly, senior author, said that there has been an air of invincibility over the last few months among those who have had COVID-19, their boosters, or who have had an illness. Some people have started to refer to these people as having some kind of superimmunity.
He said, “Without ambiguity our research showed, that getting an infection a second time, third, or fourth times contributes to additional risks in the acute stage, which is the first 30 days following infection and the subsequent months, which are the long COVID phases.”
The study included 5.8 million records containing information from patients of all sexes, races, and ages. These included patients who had had multiple infections, people who had not been infected before, and those who had it previously.
This group included people with at least two to three infections, though some had more than four. Both Omicron and Delta variants were included in the study.
This means that even if there have been two COVID-19-related infections, it is better to avoid the third. Al-Aly said that if you have had three COVID-19 infections, it is best to avoid the fourth. He also recommended additional COVID vaccine boosters and masking symptoms.
This is the same study that the World Health Organization announced Wednesday, that COVID-19-related deaths worldwide dropped 90% this week, compared to February’s high toll.