January 12, 2021 by Carol Higgins
COVID-19 Roundup: First U.S. Case of Reinfection; Higher Risk Linked to ‘Overweight’; and Hand Hygiene Survey
Nevada Man, 25, First Confirmed Case of ‘Reinfection’ With COVID-19, Case Study Says
A 25-year-old man from Nevada was infected twice with COVID-19 earlier this year, a new report states. It is believed to be the first confirmed case of “reinfection” with the coronavirus in the United States — and the fifth confirmed reinfection case worldwide.
The patient had two positive tests for COVID-19: the first on April 18, 2020, and the second on June 5, 2020. The two positive tests were separated by two negative tests performed during follow-up testing in May.
By the end of May, about six weeks after the first positive test, the man went to an urgent care center with symptoms including fever, cough and dizziness. In early June, he tested positive again and ended up hospitalized, according to the case study published this week in the medical journal The Lancet.
“The second infection was symptomatically more severe than the first,” the study states. The Nevada patient survived his second bout with COVID-19.
While experts agree that reinfection with COVID-19 remains extremely rare, researchers caution that complete immunity after initial infection is not guaranteed.
The study’s authors conclude: “Previous exposure to COVID-19 does not necessarily translate to guaranteed total immunity. The implications of reinfections could be relevant for vaccine development and application. From a public health perspective, all individuals — whether previously diagnosed or not — must take identical precautions to prevent infection with COVID-19.”
Being Just Overweight Puts You at Same Increased COVID-19 Risk as Obesity, Smoking
While obesity has been a well-established risk factor for becoming severely ill from COVID-19, people who are overweight — but not obese — are also at a high risk, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC and public health officials now say that a much higher proportion of the U.S. population may be at risk for severe coronavirus illness. That’s because more than 30 percent of Americans are simply overweight — in addition to the 40 percent who are obese (a BMI, or body mass index, of 30 or higher).
More simply put: Nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults may be at increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Moreover, the CDC now puts people who are overweight at the same increased risk from COVID-19 as those “who smoke or have a history of smoking.”
A recent review of 75 studies found that obese people were twice as likely to be hospitalized with the coronavirus, compared with adults ho were overweight or of healthy weight, and nearly twice as likely to be admitted into an intensive care unit. However, few studies have looked at the higher risk associated with being simply overweight.
States the CDC: “Having overweight, defined as a BMI greater than 25, but less than 30, might, increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19.”
Here are actions to take, the CDC says:
- Take your prescription medicines for overweight, obesity or severe obesity exactly as prescribed.
- Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for nutrition and physical activity, while maintaining social distancing precautions.
- Call your healthcare provider if you have concerns or feel sick.
Survey: Hand Washing has Increased by This Much During the Pandemic, Compared to Last Year
U.S. Internet survey taken in June 2020 found that respondents were more likely to remember to wash their hands after experiencing respiratory symptoms, before eating in a restaurant, and before eating at home, compared to survey respondents in October 2019.
The survey results, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are not surprising because hand hygiene has been so much more top-of-mind since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The largest increase was among those who reported remembering to wash their hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing their nose — 53 percent in 2019 vs. 71 percent in 2020. Among respondents who remembered to wash their hands before eating at a restaurant (55 percent vs. 71 percent) and before eating at home (63 percent vs. 74 percent).
In the October 2019 survey, 3,624 people were contacted; for the June 2020 data, 4,053 people responded. Demographic characteristics were similar in both groups, the CDC said.
Men, young adults aged 18–24 years, and non-Hispanic White adults were less likely to remember to wash hands in multiple situations, the surveys found. The CDC states that “strategies to help persons remember to wash their hands frequently, and at important times, should be identified and implemented, especially among groups reporting low prevalence of remembering to wash their hands.”