SEOUL – A total of 141 people who had apparently recovered from coronavirus have tested positive again, South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced last week. KCDC Deputy Director Kwon Joon-wook said the agency did not know what caused the people to retest positive and was investigating, CNN reported.
Most experts think it’s unlikely that somebody will be re-infected for the coronavirus soon after recovering. It’s possible that issues with testing – or varying amounts of viral RNA in the body, which the tests look for – could explain why people tested positive after testing negative.
Kwon also stated that the government of South Korea is studying cultivated samples from the patients to determine whether the cases could be contagious, noting that the study will take about two weeks from today.
“Our KCDC workers are working day and night to collect samples and conduct studies,” Kwon added.
The coronavirus has infected at least 10,600 people in South Korea alone, with 229 deaths, but the government has won praise for its handling of the crisis, and already more than 7,700 people in the country have recovered.
This isn’t the first time that coronavirus countermeasures fail. Last week, the United States Navy removed more than 100 sailors from a hospital ship docked in Los Angeles to aid the city’s fight against COVID-19 after seven crew members contracted the lethal virus – but exactly how remains a mystery.
The 116 medical staff members have been pulled off the USNS ‘Mercy’ last Tuesday and brought to a nearby base where they entered quarantine, Lieutenant Rochelle Rieger of the 3rd Fleet told the Associated Press at the time, adding that none have been hospitalized so far.
More puzzling, however, is how – and where – the seven infected sailors could have picked up the virus, given that the ship’s entire crew of more than 1,000 were tested and cleared before it set off for Los Angeles in late March. Since then, none of the sailors have been allowed to leave the vessel.