Incidence of COVID-19 reinfection among Midwestern healthcare employees
Rivelli A, Fitzpatrick V, Blair C, Copeland K, Richards J. Incidence of COVID-19 reinfection among Midwestern healthcare employees. PLoS One. 2022;17(1):e0262164. Published 2022 Jan 4. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0262164
Given the overwhelming worldwide rate of infection and the disappointing pace of vaccination, addressing reinfection is critical. Understanding reinfection, including longevity after natural infection, will allow us to better know the prospect of herd immunity, which hinges on the assumption that natural infection generates sufficient, protective immunity. The primary objective of this observational cohort study is to establish the incidence of reinfection of COVID-19 among healthcare employees who experienced a prior COVID-19 infection over a 10-month period. Of 2,625 participants who experienced at least one COVID-19 infection during the 10-month study period, 156 (5.94%) experienced reinfection and 540 (20.57%) experienced recurrence after prior infection. Median days were 126.50 (105.50-171.00) to reinfection and 31.50 (10.00-72.00) to recurrence. Incidence rate of COVID-19 reinfection was 0.35 cases per 1,000 person-days, with participants working in COVID-clinical and clinical units experiencing 3.77 and 3.57 times, respectively, greater risk of reinfection relative to those working in non-clinical units. Incidence rate of COVID-19 recurrence was 1.47 cases per 1,000 person-days. This study supports the consensus that COVID-19 reinfection, defined as subsequent infection ≥ 90 days after prior infection, is rare, even among a sample of healthcare workers with frequent exposure.