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(c) 2020 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

The Second Time Around: The Complexity of SARS-CoV-2 Reinfection

The complexity of SARS-CoV-2 claims was elevated to a new level by a report indicating that humans could suffer reinfection of the virus. The hope that long-standing or permanent immunity from SARS-CoV-2 was dissipated by a preprint of the Lancet study.

The report creates potential greater challenges in defending workers’ compensation COVID-19 Pandemic claims. The very contagious infection may cause repeated re-infections in workers and co-workers. The premise that some workers could safely be granted a “passport” to return to work following an initial infection have now been proven to be false. 

The authors state, “The degree of protective immunity conferred by infection with SARS-CoV-2 is currently unknown. As such, the possibility of reinfection with this virus is not well understood. Herein, we describe the data from an investigation of two instances of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the same individual. Through nucleic acid sequence analysis, the viruses associated with each instance of infection were found to possess a degree of genetic discordance that cannot be explained reasonably through short-term in vivo evolution. We conclude that it is possible for humans to become infected multiple times by SARS-CoV-2, but the generalizability of this finding is not known.” 

COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims continue to soar throughout the United States. Through regulation, statutory change and/or executive action, states have eased the burden of proof in establishing causal relationship between the virus and combensability. The public entities have reached the realization that workers, especially essential workers, require the assurance of medical coverage and financial incentive to continue the very demanding 24/7 pace to maintain essential services, establish preventive protocols (testing and tracing) and medical care for the victims. 

Guaranteeing compensation for ensuing work related disability ,and potential dependency benefits for surviving members of the victims family, is essential. The reinfection study demonstrating the potential for repeated illness supports the immediate need for Federal financial support of the workers’ compensation system. 

TILLETT, RICHARD and SEVINSKY, JOEL and HARTLEY, PAUL and KERWIN, HEATHER and CRAWFORD, NATALIE and GORZALSKI, ANDREW and LAVERDURE, CHRISTOPHER and VERMA, SUBHASH and ROSSETTO, CYPRIAN and FARRELL, MEGAN and JACKSON, DAVID and Pandori, Mark and VAN HOOSER, STEPHANIE, Genomic Evidence for a Case of Reinfection with SARS-CoV-2. THE LANCET ID-D-20-05376, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3681489

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Blog: Workers ' Compensation

Twitter: jongelman

LinkedIn: JonGelman

LinkedIn Group: Injured Workers Law & Advocacy Group

Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" West-Thomson-Reuters