We watched morons storm congress last week. Sure, that was shocking and disturbing, but frankly I was already at the limit of being shocked and disturbed by morons storming congress through democratic elections. It seems to me that a bigger deal, affecting every human on earth now and well into the future, is this damned plague.

When news of covid 19 first really hit a wide audience in March 2020, I was probably one of the first to ask a question that I’m going to propose is one of the most important questions of our lifetime.

Can you become seriously ill with Covid 19 after recovering from being seriously ill with Covid 19?

Am I being obtuse? Am I missing something? How is it that this question dawdled nearly unaddressed for damn near a year? If this virus is serious (it is) and not a hoax (it isn’t), eventually there must be a critical mass of people who, like me, had it. I think we’re finally to a point where there are enough of us that the most obvious questions we have are starting to be addressed.

Questions like…

  • Can I get it again?

  • How much danger am I still in after recovering from acute symptoms?

  • Would contracting it a second time be less severe/dangerous?

  • Does the virus remain subtly hidden and flare up?

  • What damage to my body did it really do and what is permanent?

  • What are the long term effects and prognosis?

  • Is my presence an equal or reduced danger to others, or no danger at all?

  • Could close contact between covid survivors cause any kinds of problems at all?

  • How debilitating will the long-term aftermath be?

  • Will a "test" show skewed results because I’ve had the disease in the past?

  • How accurate/relevant are tests for people who have had it?

  • Does it make sense for recovered victims to wear a mask beyond performative solidarity? A question I first asked publicly in July!

And today, I’m delighted to see the tiniest mote of attention turned to this topic, but simultaneously shocked and disturbed at the stupidity of some of the reports.

Let’s start with the AP’s addled advice: Should I Get A Covid-19 Vaccine If I’ve Had The Virus?

It’s impossible to know how long a person might be immune, said … an infectious disease expert at [fancy medical school]. "There’s no way to calculate that."

Ok, right away, I’m calling bullshit here because there is most definitely a way. Maybe you find it unreasonable of me to contradict trained medical professionals but when they seem unaware of the entire premise of my degree I’m going to push back and say there is absolutely a way to calculate "that" and I coincidentally studied it at university for years.

By the way, some of that same IE magic could probably also cure this absurd problem which seems to be turning the whole vaccination drive into a super-spreader event. It’s one thing for the aforementioned morons in congress to not be concerned about the pandemic but presumably these people are.


But it was articles like this one in The Week that really blew my mind. Getting Coronavirus May Prevent Against Reinfection For Months, Preliminary Study Finds It opens with this mind blowing idea.

Contracting COVID-19 is nearly as effective at preventing reinfection as the two top coronavirus vaccines…

What an extraordinary claim! It’s bad enough that pharma is enjoying their ticker tape parade before their rocket even launches, but using shitty statistical reasoning to come to absurdly unintuitive conclusions must surely be suspicious.

I thought that the coverage in Forbes had more correct language. Past Covid-19 Infection Gives Vaccine-Like Immunity For Months, Study Finds

"…we don’t yet know…" "…it is possible…" "…it will be interesting to see…" "…whether or not these findings hold true…" "It’s not yet clear for how long the protection provided by vaccines last."


Reuters' coverage seems helpful and sensible so I’ll quote a bit of it. Covid-19 Infection Gives Some Immunity, But Virus Can Still Spread Study Finds

Preliminary findings by scientists at Public Health England (PHE) showed that reinfections in people who have COVID-19 antibodies from a past infection are rare - with only 44 cases found among 6,614 previously infected people in the study.

But experts cautioned that the findings mean people who contracted the disease in the first wave of the pandemic in the early months of 2020 may now be vulnerable to catching it again.

They also warned that people with so-called natural immunity - acquired through having had the infection - may still be able carry the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in their nose and throat and could unwittingly pass it on.

"We now know that most of those who have had the virus, and developed antibodies, are protected from reinfection, but this is not total and we do not yet know how long protection lasts,…"

The BBC’s version is similar, and though confusing it seems technically reasonable. Past Covid-19 Infection May Provide Months Of Immunity

The main point I want to stress is that as far as I can tell only one of the following situations is possible. Only one.

  1. Having Covid does not stimulate the immune system to provide substantial subsequent immunity from future re-infections. A vaccine roll out will take longer than the vaccine provides protection for and may be futile.

  2. Having Covid does stimulate the immune system to provide substantial subsequent immunity from future re-infections for a significant time, much longer than a vaccine roll out. Deploying vaccines makes sense.

  3. Having covid precludes you from ever being in danger of it again - like mumps. Vaccines may be able to match that level of protection and can handily cure the pandemic.

  4. Pharma companies should get to work replacing our entire immune systems immediately because they have a much better chance of promoting our welfare than billions of years of evolution. The vaccines are more effective than natural immunity.

Though none of us really has the answer, I’d bet on the second possibility. What I find extremely difficult to believe is the fourth possibility.

And I suspect I’m not alone. When I see headlines like "I’m Not An Anti-vaxxer, But… US Health Workers' Vaccine Hesitancy Raises Alarm" I have to wonder — did the "40% of frontline workers in LA county refusing Covid-19 inoculation" perhaps already have the disease? I didn’t see a single article that even mentioned the possibility that factor may have influenced that poll. Clearly these people know what the disease looks like more than normal people. Clearly they are exposed to it much more. I can imagine many of them having been infected or tested positive with relatively mild symptoms (or not). Why should they get vaccinated? If there is a good reason, I think we need a lot more detail on exactly what it could be.