President Donald Trump recently tweeted that he was immune to COVID-19. Twitter attached a warning saying that it “spread misleading and potentially harmful information.” But Dr. Anthony Fauci partially defended Trump’s statement. So now we must ask: What is the truth when it comes to coronavirus immunity?
In an interview, Fauci said that Trump is “temporarily immune,” but he is not sure how long the immunity will last. With some viruses, immunity can last many years or even a lifetime. With others, it may only last a year or two or even just a few months.
Part of this is because of mutations. The vaccine for yellow fever lasts a person’s whole life. That’s because the virus doesn’t really change much over time. The flu, on the other hand, changes quite often. For that reason, people can catch the flu many times over their lives. You can even catch the flu after getting a flu shot because there are so many different types!
Coronaviruses aren’t new. People are exposed to them all the time. SARS and MERS are coronaviruses, and about one-third of all common colds are caused by one of four types of coronavirus. Because of this, a lot of people may be naturally immune to COVID-19. While coronaviruses have been around a while, this one is new to us, so we still don’t’ really understand it. We still don’t know if the virus is mutating rapidly or even at all. So, scientists do not know how long immunity will last.
There have also been recorded several cases of people who have contracted COVID-19 twice. Some have used this as evidence that one cannot become immune. A more likely explanation is that a part of the population never becomes fully immune to some viruses.
Trump has been measured to have an immune response to the illness. Therefore, he probably is resistant to the disease and cannot spread it to other people. The only uncertainty is for how long the effect will last. Will he be immune for the rest of his life, or maybe only a few months? We don’t know yet.