Can you get coronavirus more than once? Dr. Jen Ashton shares what we know so far

ABC's Chief Medical Correspondent helped ABC7 tackle some frequently asked questions surrounding the coronavirus.
There are a lot of questions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, including who should be tested, can you get coronavirus more than once, and what it might take to ease up on restrictions in place.

ABC's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton helped us tackle these questions.

What happens when you're exposed to someone who's been infected with COVID-19, but you don't have any symptoms?

We heard a firsthand account from ABC'S George Stephanopoulos, whose wife Ali Wentworth was infected.

Stephanopoulous said, "I've never had a fever. Never had chills. Never had a headache. Never had a cough, never had shortness of breath. I'm feeling great."

Ashton said studies show 25-50% of COVID-19 positive people may be asymptomatic. These folks could be the silent spreaders.

"They're not showing any symptoms," Ashton said. "But they are still infected and able to spread that virus to others. And that's a significant issue and we need better numbers on that."

On the flip side, will all these people exposed to this coronavirus become immune to getting it again?

"What we think we know based on other coronaviruses is that someone who has been infected does mount an immune response," Ashton continued. "And that can give them some degree of protection for a certain period of time in the future. Other coronaviruses suggest that it could be a year or two, but we don't know with this virus."

Dr. Ashton said collecting data on immunity is going to be key in figuring out how we re-enter society and get to back to work. But to move from surge to suppression will require testing on a massive scale.

"And not just those of people who are symptomatic or sick, but those who are well and then we need to be able to do contact tracing and isolation of people who test positive," she said. "And ideally stagger their return to the workplace based on testing results."

Dr. Ashton said what we need most is data because in science, data drives decisions. Right now, this virus is not even four months old and so the data is limited.
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