KEY POINTS

  • Coronavirus is wreaking havoc in dozens of countries worldwide
  • Health experts are in a race against time to control the virus outbreak
  • Does having coronavirus symptoms make you immune from the disease?

COVID-19 is a highly-infectious respiratory illness that was first discovered in the city of Wuhan, province of Hubei, in China, December of 2019. Since then, the deadly virus has spread to over 185 countries and territories, claiming the lives of more than 16,000 people.

In an attempt to stop the spread of the virus, the UK government has imposed strict measures that include asking around 1.5 million Britons to stay in their homes. They are to do this for at least three months or 12 weeks. The 1.5 million is considered among the most at risk and vulnerable from COVID-19 infection. Known as shielding, the measure seeks to protect the lives of those at risk of needing medical care if they got infected with COVID-19. coronavirus immunity coronavirus immunity Photo: cottonbro - pexels

An Increase Every Day

From a relatively small number of confirmed infections more than a month ago, COVID-19 cases in the UK have ballooned to 6,650 with 335 deaths. This included the youngest British fatality that was reported to be only 18 years old.

The daily increase of coronavirus cases in the UK has prompted the government to declare it is prepared to take more steps if official safety measures are not observed. Among the safety measures imposed by the government is to avoid making non-essential contact and to stay home wherever possible.

Referred to as social distancing, the measure is important because it has been established by scientists that COVID-19 infection spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes near you. When this happens, coronavirus-laden small droplets are launched into the air and could infect others who are nearby. Other measures imposed in the UK include asking people to work from home, avoid crowded places, and stay at least two meters from other people.

An Immunity From Coronavirus?

It is a long-standing conclusion that once you got infected by a virus, your body’s immune system will create antibodies that will protect you from becoming infected again. In this case, however, scientists are not yet 100% sure.

According to leading researchers on coronavirus, it is unclear whether people who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection will be immune to reinfection. Even if that is the case, they say it is also now clear how long such immunity will last.

There Are Asymptomatic Patients

As regards the symptoms, even if you have experienced coronavirus symptoms, you are not necessarily immune to the deadly virus. This is because until you get tested, you will never be sure if your symptoms are COVID-19 related or brought about by seasonal flu. In fact, early symptoms of COVID-19 can be easily mistaken for many types of winter bugs, including colds and flu. There are also many cases where people are COVID-19 positive, yet they do not develop any symptoms or feel unwell.

According to Dr. Li QinGyuan, while there are those infected who developed a protective antibody, they are not sure how long the protection lasts. Dr. Li is the director of pneumonia prevention and treatment at China-Japan Friendship Hospital.