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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Researchers in Hong Kong say they've confirmed a case of coronavirus reinfection for the first time, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: A confirmed reinfection would mean that immunity to the virus can be short-lived. As a result, we shouldn't expect any sort of back-to-work magic bullet from any potential source or indicator of immunity — whether that's antibody testing, the use of blood plasma as a treatment, or perhaps even a vaccine.

  • At the same time, researchers do not know how big of a problem reinfection is likely to be — how common it is, who's most susceptible to it, or whether reinfections are any more or less dangerous than initial infections.
  • They had already suspected it could occur, but hadn't confirmed it with thorough testing until now.
  • A young, healthy patient contracted the virus for a second time roughly four months after recovering from it. The patient experienced only moderate symptoms the first time, and no symptoms the second time.

The bottom line: All of the public health and public policy responses to the virus depend on our scientific understanding of how it works — and we're still figuring that part out.

Go deeper

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

A health care worker oversees cars as people arrive to get tested for coronavirus at a testing site in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Updated Nov 30, 2020 - Health

Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The race for a COVID-19 vaccine is ramping up, with three major candidates now reporting efficacy rates of more than 90%.

Why it matters: Health experts say the world can't fully return to normal until a coronavirus vaccine is widely distributed. But each potential vaccine has its own nuances, and it's likely that multiple vaccines will be needed in order to supply enough doses for universal vaccination.

Dec 1, 2020 - Health

Expert: Pandemic has disrupted 80% of The Global Fund’s AIDS and HIV programs

Axios founder Mike Allen (left) and Gayle E. Smith, president and CEO, ONE Campaign. Photo: Axios

80% of The Global Fund's AIDS and HIV programs around the world have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, ONE Campaign president and CEO Gayle E. Smith said on Tuesday at an Axios virtual event.

Why it matters: The pandemic has diverted resources and attention from efforts to care for patients with AIDS and HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis, as well as restricted medication delivery to regions that are the most affected, per The New York Times.

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