Immunity and mask wearing

Short story: now-former CEO of big South Dakota-based hospital system got COVID-19, recovered, and now doesn’t wear a mask because he claims to be immune.

Longer story:

StarTribune article text

My questions: Based on perception, it’s a poor image, imo…especially for a CEO of a health system…but, based on science, is he right? Is it pointless from a healthcare perspective that he wear a mask? Even though he’s immune, could he still transmit the virus to others? I think there are mutations of the virus floating around. Couldn’t he be infected by those?

Based on this article, it seems that reinfection is a distinct possibility.

I’m no expert, but if he has fully recovered transmission from him should be negligible or nonexistent, is my impression. Just as anyone else, he could receive a big enough dose that would infect someone else, but he’s not going to transmit anywhere near all of what he received to any one other person. If he’s really immune, the virus won’t grow in his body, creating more than what he received available for spreading.

I don’t see the Star Tribune article talking about the reinfection possibility.

Note: did not read the link.

The way humans work is you need to make it easy for them to pick the good choice, particularly for things they don’t want to think about. How many people he comes into contact with know his personal story? Everyone of those people that do not know his story just see one more reason not to where a mask.

He is a selfish prick, but of course, middle aged/old white guy.

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I wrote something similar on the AO: just because he’s immune, that doesn’t make him a COVID virus killing machine, like a vacuum cleaner for the air, but for COVID.

Not a doctor (just play someone who’s not a fan of another non-doctor, who, of course, is also not a fan of a still other “doctor” … anywho…) but I think he can inhale COVID in Area 1 and exhale COVID in Area 2.
Short story: Selfish prick.

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Yeah…me neither…I was somewhat surprised because a decent journalist would’ve at least made an attempt to cover that part.

Also tone deaf, imo…from the article:

Get a brain, moran. He probably got a nice golden parachute, too. Serenity Now!!!

Agree that the the CEO should be wearing a mask regardless of whether he can actually transmit the disease because of how politicized the concept has become. But I am more interested in these questions.

I was having a conversation recently and the question came up about whether someone who had it and recovered is still at risk of infection from other strains. Early on I know there were people who tested positive, tested negative, then tested positive again but I thought that was very early and the explanations were more along the lines of never fully recovered vs caught a different strain. Any articles or research on this one?

That’s a great question, given that it plays into the actual efficacy of vaccines. If a new strain emerges, do the vaccines currently being studied grant immunity to those strains? The answer has implications for if (when) we have a virus that we have a vaccine for and it mutates to a worse version instead of to a better one like we’ve had 99.999% of the time in recent history. If we need a vaccine for every new strain or for every strain that gets “so far” away from the main one, … well, that’s why I’m an actuary and not an epidemiologist or a biochemist or an infectious disease expert.

My guess is no. Like the seasonal flu vaccine, which needs to be changed constantly every year. I’m guessing this is more like the flu than say smallpox.

Also not a doctor, but it has to do with how rapidly the thing is mutating, where the flu mutates rapidly and smallpox less so. I think the answer to this question is still TBD by the scientific community.

A nice perk though of some of the recent successful vaccines is that they’re designed with a method that is easy to adjust to new strains so in theory could adjust the vaccine to be similarly effective for any potential new strains.

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I was talking to my wife, who is a registered nurse, and I can’t quite remember how she summarized this article for me, but, in essence, it’s a bunch of hoo haw…

…one of the things I believe my wife said (I don’t know, I wasn’t really listening :blah: :blah: :blah:) was that this virus can linger.

As a guy sitting at the bar on his 6th, maybe 7th, Pabst Blue Ribbon, it is my expert opinion that you do get immunity from having the virus or vaccine and that, as the virus mutates, that immunity, though not perfect, will be helpful to your body to attack the virus should you become infected again.

We admittedly are using my sister, a COVID survivor, as a babysitter because her risk to us feels a lot smaller than someone who hasn’t had COVID already. But there’s still so much we don’t know about transmission and reinfection, and it’s irresponsible for a CEO of a hospital to be maskless. My sister still wears a mask when she goes out in public, because she’s terrified of reinfection (and because it’s the mandate here).

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I’ve read a little about this since I’ve also had Covid. I couldn’t find a straight answer. My biggest concern was transmitting Covid.

I still wear a mask bc it’s often required, and bc I have a stupid allergy cough that can sound bad and I don’t want to make people worry. Also the people I come into contact with don’t know that I’ve already had Covid. It is such a small thing.


I’m waiting for results from an antibody test now.

Even if I test positive for COVID antibodies, I still plan to wear a mask when out:

  • Reinfection is possible (especially after 3 months), so I still am at risk of transmitting virus that has not yet manifested as symptoms in me.

  • I don’t want to be mis-perceived as an anti-masker, and I want to support the community will that people wear masks.

  • I would kinda like us to adopt the East Asian practice for people to wear masks with any contagious illness.

The only thing that might change if I test positive for antibodies is that I might not be quite so paranoid. I’d still take precautions (see above re reinfection risk), but I might consider traveling cross-country to see family at Christmas, or perhaps the high hurdle as to whether I will enter premises I don’t control won’t be quite so high.

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Well, they are terribly comfortable after you get used to them. Not to mention, you can be fashionable on the cheap. And, you can make most faces at stupid people and they can’t see what you’re doing.

Studies with the corona viruses that can cause the common cold show that people can be reinfected with the same strain more than once. In one case a study participants caught the same strain as quickly as three months after recovery.

Studies with covid 19 have found unambiguous evidence that it’s possible to catch it a second time, but that seems to be uncommon. The hypothesis is not that “another strain is too different”, rather, that “you may not have developed persistent immunity”.

In fact, all the evidence suggests that this virus mutates slowly, and a single vaccine will be good for all likely stains for the next few years, at least. But we might need a booster shot of the exact same vaccine to maintain immunity.

(Some viruses are once-and-done, but several aren’t. We get boosters for tetanus and pertussis because our immunity fades over time. I actually caught pertussis, but I’m told that if i am blessed with grandchildren, I’ll need to be vaccinated again.)

Some of the vaccines being studied appear to provoke better immunity than a typical case of covid gives you. Soo there’s that.

Do we have a good feel for the severity of a second infection of COVID 19? This may end up like the other endemic coronaviruses where severe outcomes are generally rare. The vaccine may have limited value to just this first series of infections in preventing severe disease.