Updated: Aug 3
We have learned a lot about COVID-19 throughout the last several months, but one question that everyone wants to know is, “Will I be immune after having the virus?” While we continue to hope that some immunity will exist for most people, we now know that reinfections can occur.
Dr. Ramesh Peramsetty, chief physician and owner of Crimson Care and First Care in Tuscaloosa, explains more about what he has seen at his practices and what’s happening with the virus in this blog post.
Dr. Peramsetty Says COVID-19 is Changing
“The virus has changed. It is different compared to three or four months ago because mutations are occurring,” says Dr. Peramsetty. “In my practice, we have seen an increase in asymptomatic cases, mortality has decreased, and hospitalizations in Tuscaloosa are stable.”
This is good news, and Dr. Peramsetty says Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama have done a great job of mitigating the disease’s spread.
However, studies have shown that people affected in the earliest stages of the pandemic are not immune to the strain of the virus that is now prevalent in around 70% of Europe and North America. Because of this, it is possible that people can be reinfected with COVID-19.
“I have seen around five patients with reinfection in the last few weeks,” Dr. Peramsetty says. “Viruses are always changing, and this change is inevitable, just like with the common flu virus.”
Continuing to Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19
As cases are beginning to rise throughout many areas of the world, including the United States, Dr. Peramsetty says everyone must be diligent about continuing to do what we can to mitigate the spread. He says there have been incidents in Tuscaloosa of students congregating in large numbers, not social distancing, and not wearing masks.
“We are pretty stable right now, but if we don’t change some behavior, we will be right back where we were in the summer or worse,” Dr. Peramsetty says. “We all worked so hard as a community, and that needs to continue.” He says there are so many necessary steps in the classroom and on UA campus to mitigate the spread, which is helping.
“We have to wear masks, social distance, and be responsible. This is the new normal of life right now. We must get used to it to beat the virus until we have more safe and effective treatments and a proven vaccine.”
Providing Care Even As the Virus Changes
Dr. Peramsetty says that as the virus changes, Crimson Care will change as necessary to provide the service and care patients need, such as being among the first providers in the Tuscaloosa area to begin administering the COVID Abbott Molecular Rapid test. This test has a 90% accuracy rate, and patients get results in just 15 minutes.
“If you come in with COVID-like symptoms such as a noticeable fever or loss of taste and/or smell, we’re going to give you a rapid test. The goal is to get you quickly quarantined and provide you with some relief from some of your symptoms,” he says.