People over the age of 65 are more likely to suffer COVID-19 reinfection, according to new findings published by The Lancet. In what’s billed as the first large-scale study of coronavirus reinfections, researchers in Denmark analyzed data from testing on about two-thirds of the population and concluded that only about 0.65 percent had a positive PCR test twice, according to a press release from The Lancet. Those under the age of 65 were found to have about 80 percent protection from the virus after an initial infection, while those over 65 were left with only about 47 percent protection, the study concludes. “Our study confirms what a number of others appeared to suggest: reinfection with COVID-19 is rare in younger, healthy people, but the elderly are at greater risk of catching it again. Since older people are also more likely to experience severe disease symptoms, and sadly die, our findings make clear how important it is to implement policies to protect the elderly during the pandemic,” Dr. Steen Ethelberg, one of the study’s authors from the Statens Serum Institut, was quoted as saying.
The authors also noted, however, that their study was conducted during the country’s first and second wave of the pandemic, before the emergence and identification of new COVID-19 variants that experts say are more transmissible. Likewise, the study’s authors said they “identified no evidence that protection against repeat infection with COVID-19 waned within six months,” but since the novel coronavirus is still so new to the scientific community, it is “still to be determined” how long protective immunity for most people lasts.