It’s finally happening. People are getting infected three or more times. Admittedly I first heard of it from a “friend of a friend” — a notoriously unreliable source for urban legends — but triple infections and more are also being increasingly reported by the press.
And it turns out that the first person to die from the Omicron variant of Covid in the U.S. had already been infected. So the myth of “natural immunity,” advanced by Republican politicians who oppose mask and vaccine mandates, is being routinely exploded by reality.
The first death from the Omicron variant was a Texas man between the ages of 50 and 60 who health officials described as “at higher risk of severe complications from Covid-19 due to his unvaccinated status and underlying health conditions.” They do everything but say out loud that he was a Republican anti-vaxxer. But whether he was or not the fact remains that his death from Omicron ought to serve as a cautionary tale for people who think they carry any advantages from previous infections.
Another death blow to the myth of natural immunity comes from a recent study published last week by the Imperial College of London. The study demonstrated that the Omicron variant has a higher reinfection rate than previous strains of the virus. It measures the risk of getting reinfected by Omicron as 5.4 times higher than the risk of getting reinfected by the Delta variant.
Again, there is one path to avoiding infection from Covid-19: social distance, scrupulously wash your hands, wear a mask and get vaccinated. As the President recently put it, “If you’re over the age of 18 and six months have gone by since you got vaccinated, go get your booster. Go get it now.” And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.