- Published: April 10, 2020
This is a great question, but a hard one to answer definitively.
On Monday, April 6, the South Korean CDC reported that 51 patients who were thought to be cured of the disease tested positive again. They posited that the patients were not reinfected because of short time frame after they were released from quarantine, so the virus may in fact have reactivated in them, as the chickenpox and herpes viruses can do. However, the KCDC said they would be doing more epidemiological testing on those cases. Other possibilities are testing errors, or that residual traces of the virus had yet to leave the patients’ systems, according to one article.
There have been reports from other countries that those who recovered from COVID-19 were reinfected, but those have also yet to be confirmed. There is also not enough evidence to determine how long someone who has recovered from this coronavirus is immune.