If you have already had COVID-19, health experts still advise people to wear a mask and get the vaccine. Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, an infectious disease specialist at Washington University in St. Louis, tells Missourinet there is a period of time after your symptoms subside that you could still infect others.
“There is no way for you to know exactly where you are in that period,” she says. “Even after they are past that period, they need to wear masks to protect others as well as themselves.”
Hlatshwayo Davis says wearing masks, getting the vaccine, social distancing and proper hand washing are the most effective ways to protect you and others.
“We know that there is going to be some level of immunity, but at this point, we don’t know how long that lasts for. So certainly months out, you don’t know if you still have a level of immunity to covid,” she says.
The CDC is recommending those infected with the coronavirus to wait 90 days from the time they had COVID-19 before getting vaccinated.
“We do not know exactly how natural immunity that is in place may interact with the vaccine. We’re still early in this in trying to figure out exactly what’s going on,” Hlatshwayo Davis says.
A new strain of COVID-19 has made its way to the United States. Hlatshwayo Davis says there have been other strains of the virus but they have not had a significant impact like this latest one.
“What is worrisome about this new strain is that it has multiple mutations and there is data to show that it may transmit COVID at higher rates than we have seen previously,” she says. “There is nothing that has shown that this has either different symptoms or is a more severe presentation of COVID. All that we are seeing right now is higher clusters of people, particularly in the United Kingdom and in South Africa.”
She says Pfizer and Moderna, who have researchers testing the new strain against the vaccine, think the drugs currently being used will be effective against the new strain.
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