The Latest: Can you get Covid-19 twice?

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
3 min readOct 14, 2020


Dear Reader,

A longtime pandemic question is whether people can get the virus more than once. While it’s expected that people develop some immunity to Covid-19 after infection, there are questions around how strong that immunity is and how long it will last.

As my colleague Yasmin Tayag reports for the Blog, scientists have confirmed that a man in Nevada was infected with the virus two times.

So, what does this mean? Total immunity is not guaranteed if people were infected with Covid-19 in the past. “It means that everyone needs to take the same precautions to protect themselves from Covid-19 — whether they’ve been infected in the past or not,” writes Yasmin.

The good news is that these findings do not suggest that people need a different vaccine for every strain of SARS-CoV-2. Experts say for now, one vaccine should still be sufficient to confer protection. Read more here.

Here’s what’s new:

  • Case count: There are over 7.8 million confirmed cases in the U.S. and over 38.2 million confirmed cases worldwide. So far over 215,900 Americans have died from Covid-19.
  • Johnson & Johnson pauses coronavirus vaccine trial: The company has paused the large late-stage clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine because of an “unexplained illness” in one of the volunteers. Johnson & Johnson did not say whether the sick participant had received the experimental vaccine or a placebo.
  • Trump allegedly tests negative: President Trump has tested negative “on consecutive days,” according to White House physician Dr. Sean Conley, using a rapid antigen coronavirus test called Abbott BinaxNOW. But experts cautioned that the test’s accuracy has not yet been investigated enough to be sure that the president is virus-free. (Read more.)
  • The U.S. sees more deaths than expected, mostly due to Covid-19: There were 20% more deaths in the United States than expected from March 1 through August 1, with Covid-19 officially accounting for about two-thirds of them, according to new research published Monday in the medical journal JAMA.

Follow our Medium Coronavirus Blog for regular updates, and read some of the essential stories we’ve curated below.

Be well,

Alexandra Sifferlin
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog

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A quick Q&A:

What Covid-19 data should I pay attention to?
Elemental executive editor Anna Maltby interviewed Eleanor Murray, ScD, co-director of the Epidemiology Covid-19 Response Corps at Boston University, about how to successfully use national, state, and local Covid-19 data to inform your life. Here’s a quick excerpt.

Elemental: Where is the best place to find Covid-19 data for your area? And how local should you be going?

Murray: For most places, your state health department is a good first stop, but many states are so large that this won’t be specific enough. Local data from your city (or from your metropolitan area in larger cities like New York) will be more useful in those states. Your local health department may have a website that provides these numbers, or your state health department website might provide local numbers as well.

Aside from just generally staying up to date about what’s happening in your area, when is it useful to look at local Covid-19 data?

Local Covid-19 data is most useful when you are making decisions about whether to engage in higher-risk activities, such as indoor dining, attending religious services in person, or visiting friends or family in their homes. When Covid rates are low in your area, these may be reasonable to do (potentially with some safety precautions such as masks), whereas during a surge they should be avoided.

Read the full interview here.

New on the blog:

Scientists Confirmed the First Covid-19 Reinfection in the U.S.

What Americans Deserve Right Now

How States Can Tackle Covid-19 in the Absence of Federal Support

U.S. Pandemic-Related Deaths Undercounted, Study Finds

A few more smart reads:

Covid-19 Testing and The Danger of a Quick Fix Narrative

Most Babies Born to Covid-19 Moms Do Well

Yes, You Need To Tell People if You Have Covid-19. Here’s How to Do It.

How to Tell if Socializing Indoors Is Safe (The Atlantic)

A Dose of Optimism, as the Pandemic Rages On (New York Times)



Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that