In Wuhan, a Few Test Positive After Recovery

Experts are skeptical that a second infection could happen so soon
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2020 6:10 PM CDT
In Wuhan, a Few Have Recovered, Then Tested Positive Again
People stand in a spaced line as they wait to buy pork in Wuhan last week.   (Chinatopix via AP)

A number of patients in Wuhan have tested positive for the second time for the coronavirus after testing negative and making a recovery. That raises a few possibilities, NPR reports. One is that the diagnostic tools aren't 100% accurate. Or there could be another round of infections beginning, just as China is planning to lift quarantine restrictions on the city next month. Wuhan, epicenter of the outbreak, had logged no new cases involving the infection spreading from one person to another for the March 18-22 period, raising hopes of the battle reaching a turning point. The city has had more than half of China's 80,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. A study released this week suggested that lifting the restrictions in Wuhan early could allow a fresh outbreak this summer, per Live Science.

Experts doubt that a person could be infected a second time quickly after getting over the first infection. It's too early to be sure, though, they said. Several Wuhan quarantine centers that keep patients who've left hospitals reported that 5% to 10% of patients have tested positive after being considered recovered. Japan had a similar case in February. There also could be false positive or false negative results, experts said. A doctor in Wuhan who has tested positive twice, and now is in isolation, is skeptical of the assessment from Chinese authorities. "In terms of those who retested positive, the official party line is that they have not been proven to be infectious," he said. "That is not the same as saying they are not infectious." (More coronavirus stories.)

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