COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–With the number of new COVID-19 cases across the country still increasing, doctors are still unclear as to what level of immunity has been achieved.
“We think that that when most people get an infection with this virus, they get some degree of immunity,” said Dr. Joseph Gastaldo with OhioHealth. “We just don’t know how long the immunity is that you get,” Gastaldo adds.
That is why doctors have warned people to remain vigilant since this spring.
“Just act like you don’t have immunity,” is the advice Bethany Acker receivd from doctors. She contracted COVID-19 in March. “I’m still fearful of it I think, because things change all the time with this virus, which is scary.”
A number of recent studies reported immunity in previously infected individuals from a time span of three and six months and sometimes longer.
Medical experts suggest, because a person tested positive once would not mean they’re in the clear.
“There have been rare cases of people getting infected again by a genetically different strain of this virus,” Gastaldo said. “That should not sound the alarm for anybody, the virus does change.”
Charlie Coe recently recoverd from the disease. Coe remains cautious becasue of this information.
“I believe in the greater good. You should probably [wear a] mask, and you should probably keep your distance,” Coe said of his own mitigation strategies.
For Coe, immunity could mean getting himself and others closer to a vaccine.
“I had it, I’m probably good from an antibody or immunity standpoint for the next three to six months,” he said.
Columbus nurse Suzanne McDaniel, she overcame the virus and that provided her a rare sense of relief in a pressure filled time.
“I’m not as nervous when I come into contact with people because I wonder, ‘Do I still have some immunity?'” McDaniel questioned.
She still takes every precaution.
“Trying to stay six feet away as much as I can, washing my hands, wiping stuff down when I go to the grocery store,” McDaniel said.
Seeing the effects of the virus firsthand, she urges others who have recovered to do their part.
“I mean it doesn’t hurt to wear the mask you know? It doesn’t bother me.”
Experts have said there are still questions about immunity through infection. They are unclear how long a person will remain immune after receiving a potential vaccine.