Nebraska health experts say COVID reinfections carry high risk

Dr. Lawler says it’s been so long since most Americans have had a COVID vaccination, that he fears another surge is coming.
(MGN)
Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 4:47 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - If you think your chances of getting severely ill with COVID are low because you’ve already had it, be warned.

A new study by the Mayo Clinic tells a different story.

Jacob Rockafellow of Omaha has had COVID once. “It wasn’t fun,” he said. “First, I lost my taste and smell. That lasted for like two months. I really just felt like I had a bad flu, with just lingering, no taste and smell forever.”

Since then, Rockafellow has had three COVID shots. “I hope I don’t get it again,” he said.

According to a new study by the Mayo Clinic, Rockafellow is right to want to avoid it.

Researchers found that people who are reinfected with COVID develop significant health complications.

A new study by the Mayo Clinic paints a different picture.

Dr. James Lawler with the University of Nebraska Medical Center agrees. He said, “The reality is repeat reinfections do carry increased risk.”

Dr. Lawler says COVID reinfections increase the risk of health issues including heart disease, neurological problems, brain fog, developing long COVID, and even death.

He also says it’s not true that newer variants like omicron B.A.5 produce milder symptoms though it might appear that way because most Americans have already been exposed, infected, or vaccinated. “We just have more immunity in the population than we did before,” he said.

However, Dr. Lawler says it’s been so long since most Americans have had a COVID vaccination, that he fears another surge is coming. “In more ways, we are actually more vulnerable going into this fall than we were last fall,” he said.

Dr. Lawler expects a new, Omicron-focused booster will be available for some people in early September.