Can you be re-infected with COVID-19?

New studies in South Korea are following people who have recovered from COVID-19.

The Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 51 people who were diagnosed as recovered tested positive again a relatively short time after leaving quarantine.

Those people showed no symptoms.

Doctors say there is a small chance people could be infected with COVID-19 a second time.

"While there are multiple types of coronaviruses, there are multiple strains of COVID-19 viruses, so it's possible these people develop immunity, but maybe that immunity wasn't enough," said Dr. Littleton, founder of  Littleton Concierge Medicine.

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However, according to Dr. Littleton, re-infection is unlikely.

"The chances are small. That's a very small sample size," he said. "When we talk about 51 people relative to the population of South Korea, relative to the population of China, the United States, or the world, that's a very small percent."

Korean CDC officials believe what those people are experiencing is likely a reactivation.

Dr. Littleton says this needs more research.

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"This is what we're still trying to understand. It could be that in those individuals, the virus was not completely destroyed. Therefore, when immunity dropped, the virus popped it's head up again."'


With even the smallest chance of re-infection, doctors say it is wise to continue using CDC social distancing and hygiene guidelines after recovering.

Dr. Littleton also said it is unlikely a person in recovery will transmit the virus to anyone.

However, he again, suggests continuing following CDC guidelines.