The Latest: Can you get Covid-19 twice?

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
3 min readApr 29, 2020


Dear Reader,

It won’t be news to you that the pandemic’s toll on the economy has been devastating. In Marker today, writer Rob Walker reports that even retail giants like The Gap may not survive this.

It’s helpful, though difficult, to look forward. Today on the blog, we are featuring a story from GEN about how five countries have been able to slowly reopen. There’s no consensus on how to do this successfully, but these nations were able to slow the virus and could offer insights for the United States.

In the meantime, everyone is anxiously awaiting results of vaccine and drug treatment trials. And scientists are trying to gain a better understanding of whether people develop strong immunity to the virus or not, and for how long. More on that below.

What’s New:

  • The U.S. economy shrank at a 4.8% annual rate in the first quarter of this year: This is the biggest contraction since the 2008 recession.
  • The U.S. reached 1 million cases: The milestone was made on Tuesday, though the actual number is likely much higher due to the lack of widespread testing.
  • President Donald Trump signed an executive order to prevent a meat shortage: The move declared meat processing plants “critical infrastructure” to help keep them open. Worker advocates say it puts lives at risk, as hundreds of workers have fallen ill. Read more.
  • Vaccine studies are ramping up: Pfizer said Tuesday that the company will begin testing its experimental vaccine in the U.S. as early as next week, the Wall Street Journal reports. This comes after Oxford University researchers said on Monday that their vaccine candidate could be available for emergency use as early as September.

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:

Can You Get the Coronavirus Twice?
As with all things related to the pandemic, it’s complicated. But Elemental senior writer Dana Smith dives deep into the issue. Here are a few points from her story to keep in mind.

  • Most people who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 create antibodies to it.
  • It’s unknown whether the presence of antibodies guarantees a person is protected from reinfection. In most cases, the antibodies do seem to be effective at killing the virus. There have been reports of possible reinfections, but it’s not known whether those are real or if they are reactivations of dormant infections.
  • It’s unknown how long immunity will last, but it might depend on the severity of the infection. Based on evidence from other coronaviruses, such as MERS, SARS, and the common cold, experts predict immunity to Covid-19 may last “some number of years to be determined.”

Read the full story here.

New on the Blog:

The Latest on Coronavirus and Immunity

Is Coronavirus Airborne?

French Fries, an Ocean Voyage, and the Origin of Social Distancing

Essential Reads and Explainers

How Five Countries Were Able to Reopen

What to Know About Your Retirement Accounts Right Now

We Need a Contact Tracing Workforce of 180,000

How to Handle Postponing a Wedding Due to Covid-19

How Do You Reopen a State That Never Closed?

Americans on Cusp of Meat Shortage With Food Chain Breaking Down (Bloomberg)

Smart Reads

Drinking Is the Best Part of the Day. Is That Unhealthy?

I Started a Support Group for Covid-19 Survivors and Caretakers

The People Keeping the Internet On

This Company Found a More Humane Way to Treat Essential Workers

6 Calming Reminders If Cooking Is Stressing You Out

The Secret Group of Scientists and Billionaires Pushing a Manhattan Project for Covid-19 (Wall Street Journal)

Personal Pandemic Stories

‘Prisons Are No Place for a Pandemic:’ Advocates Fight to Free Their Loved Ones

There Is No Noise in a Covid-19 Emergency Room

Losing My 36-Year-Old Daughter to Covid-19



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