South Korean health authorities on Friday reported that a total of 91 patients who were said to have been cleared of the CCP virus again tested positive for the virus.
Jeong Eun-kyeong, the head of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), said that the virus might have been reactivated rather than the patients being infected again, according to the Yonhap News Agency. Earlier this week, Jeong said that 51 recovered COVID-19 patients tested positive after leaving quarantine.
The country’s top health official said a more extensive viral test is being administered to these individuals. The KCDC added that it is also investigating whether the people who tested positive again have an antibody indicating whether they have recovered from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the disease COVID-19.
“We are isolating viral cells from respiratory organs of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 again,” Jeong told Yonhap.
A COVID-19 patient is deemed fully recovered after they test negative two times in a row performed within a 24-hour period.
But the prospect of people being reinfected with the CCP virus is of worldwide concern, as many countries hoping that people who are infected will develop sufficient immunity to prevent the virus from surging again.
In Wuhan, China, where the virus first emerged last year, whistleblower doctors warned that patients could get reinfected, reported the Taiwan News in February.
“It’s highly possible to get infected a second time,” one of the doctors said. That doctor remained anonymous out of fear of retaliation from the Chinese regime after another doctor, Li Wenliang, went on the record to raise warnings about COVID-19 before he was detained and rebuked by the CCP. He reportedly succumbed to the disease in February, although netizens and citizen journalists in China expressed their suspicions.
“A few people recovered from the first time by their own immune system, but the meds they use are damaging their heart tissue, and when they get it the second time, the antibody doesn’t help but makes it worse, and they die a sudden death from heart failure,” the anonymous doctor told the Taiwan News.
Experts outside China said it isn’t clear if patients are immune to reinfection from the virus.
“We don’t know very much,” said Matt Frieman, a coronavirus researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, reported NPR. “I think there’s a very likely scenario where the virus comes through this year, and everyone gets some level of immunity to it, and if it comes back again, we will be protected from it—either completely or if you do get reinfected later, a year from now, then you have much less disease.”