A World Health Organization official said on Monday that the more times an individual gets infected with COVID-19, the more likely they are to be “unlucky” and contract long-term health effects from the virus.
“The more times you get it, the more likely you are to be unlucky and end up with long COVID which is the thing that none of us want because it can be so serious,” David Nabarro, a WHO special envoy for COVID-19, told Sky News.
He continued: “It can knock people off their stride for several months.”
Long COVID happens someone who gets sick from COVID-19 maintains their symptoms for an extended period, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says symptoms could last weeks or months, and even go and come back.
According to the CDC, people are more likely than others to experience long COVID if they have had a more serious infection, have underlying health issues, are unvaccinated, or experienced multisystem inflammatory syndrome during or after the illness.
Nabarro said on Monday that the WHO does not believe that the more times an individual gets COVID-19, the more immunity they have against potential future infections because the virus is constantly changing and can “duck past” antibodies from previous infections.
In the US, the seven-day average of daily new COVID-19 cases has hovered around 100,000 for over a month, according to the latest data from the CDC.
The figures began to plateau in late May after an upswing from nearly 25,000 a day in March.