TRUST INDEX: You can be infected with a COVID variant more than once

Experts say people with false sense of immunity could continue to infect others

SAN ANTONIO – With new COVID variants and constant recommendation updates, it can be tough to wade through the information, so our KSAT Trust Index team is doing your fact-checking for you.

Omicron is the latest variant causing COVID-19 and as most people know by now, it’s the most contagious, tearing through populations faster than previous variants.

“It’s not some evil virus plotting what it’s going to do next. Every time it replicates itself, it makes little mistakes in its genetic code, at random. Some of these mistakes are going to confer these advantageous qualities, like being more infectious,” said Dr. Ruth Berggren, infectious disease doctor at UT Health San Antonio.

A KSAT viewer contacted us saying he had heard that once you get COVID, whether it’s Omicron or one of the other less contagious variants, you cannot be infected again.

We ran that by Dr. Berggren who said, unfortunately, that’s not true.

“Yes, you can get variants twice. That has been seen. Time will tell with greater detail whether it was different for Omicron than it was for Delta versus previous versions,” Berggren said.

KSAT’s Trust Index team has also been asked if those previous versions, like the Alpha and Beta variants, are still around.

“The previous variants that are less infectious, they just kind of disappear. Could they be lurking somewhere? Probably. Is it relevant to us? Not really,” Berggren said.

She said there’s no war between viruses, that the Omicron didn’t kill the Delta variant. That’s not what happens.

“It’s just that viruses replicate, and the ones that are most infectious are going to be the ones that are landing in the nasal passages in the mouths of the next person that’s being infected,” Berggren said.

Dr. Berggren said there is not enough research yet to solidify how long immunity lasts for each variant, so the best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated.

About the Authors

Courtney Friedman anchors KSAT’s weekend evening shows and reports during the week. Her ongoing Loving in Fear series confronts Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She joined KSAT in 2014 and is proud to call the SA and South Texas community home. She came to San Antonio from KYTX CBS 19 in Tyler, where she also anchored & reported.

Recommended Videos