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

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
17 hours ago - Health

Millions of COVID-19 vulnerable adults tied to schools

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable to the coronavirus, and at least 63.2% of employees live with someone who is at increased risk, according to a new study published in Health Affairs.

Why it matters: We know children can catch and spread the virus. This study emphasizes why minimizing risk if and when schools reopen is crucial.

11 hours ago - Health

Rep. Khanna: COVID-19 could change the perception of public health care

Rep. Khanna and Axios' Margaret Talev

The universal experience of COVID-19 could change how opponents view Medicare for All, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "The pandemic has reminded us of our shared humanity with other American citizens. It's no longer possible to think, 'Oh, we're not part of those who get sick.' Now almost everyone knows, unfortunately, someone who has been hospitalized, someone who had a serious bout with COVID," Khanna said.

Rep. Brooks: We need to better prepare for pandemics

Axios' Margaret Talev (L) and Rep. Susan Brooks (R). Photo: Axios

Insufficient stockpiles and a lack of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a warning for America on future preparedness, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "Congress had been beefing up for years — the appropriations for preparedness — it certainly was not enough, and we recognize that," Brooks said.