Covid19 Patients ReTesting Positive Later?

Has anyone seen this? What do you think? Too early to tell? Article is from end of February but I just saw it today.

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Too early to tell. Might be reinfection, might be problems with the test, might be…need more data points.


The range I’ve seen for positive tests after first symptoms are 20-37 days. IRC that was the BBC but I can’t find the article. The Reuters article which teased the reinfection thing (it isn’t in the article, it is in the URL Reuters used to promote it) doesn’t seem to fall outside that range.

The Reuters article was posted on Feb 26 and Reuters state that is the date of the second positive, though it might be that they mean February 19 and simply misspoke, in the manner of our leader. The date for the first diagnosis that they quote is “late January”. Feb 26 - 37 = January 20, 2020, which is borderline to being late.

So, no, any reasonable interpretation of the report is that the lady in question was released well before the disease had run its course and then made the horrible mistake of getting tested again.

A few minutes later… Ok, I just did more searches. All the matches were around Feb 28 and they seem to have settled around the idea that the infection is biphasic, which just means it has two distinct phases. This gives rise to the very real possibility that a patient will be discharged at the end of the first phase because the symptoms appear stable, only to have the second phase kick in and make things appear worse.


The gift that keeps on giving… not unlike HPv and herpes viruses

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Have you a link or two to post?

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It’s more a case of googling something like “Coronavirus reinfection reports” and noticing that while articles keep emerging about reinfection the references seem to be to the February 26 case and a couple of earlier reports from Wuhan. Older examples: [NYT from Feburary 29, then updated March 6, references the Osaka case and the following report from China] [Feb 21, Javascript required. This covers a case from China, “The positive result after discharge was likely due to a discrepancy in samples, the state media People’s Daily reported late Friday, citing an expert.”.] [March 6, but basically re-running the Feb 27 article @T1Allison referenced with some very unclear report of what a patient being released the readmitted.] [Feb 27, Javascript required. Broadly the same as the NYT article but not as well researched.] [Javascript required, paywalled, just a rehash of the same reports as above.] [JavaScript required, Mar 5. This is the newer Chinese case that the March rehashes reference.] This article contains the interesting comment:

The hospital will begin conducting antibody tests on all patients before discharge from Thursday, to ensure they are fully recovered.

So it looks like China is releasing patients too early, before the more serious SARS part of COVID-19 has been eliminated. The most interesting thing, however, is that the Chinese apparently now have an antibody test.

Here’s an LA Times article from March 13 that explores the issues: