Amy Coney Barrett Had COVID-19 This Summer—What Are Her Reinfection Risks?

As President Donald Trump and members of his administration join the list of 1 million cases reported worldwide of the coronavirus, questions have arisen over the possibility of reinfection for those who have since convalesced.

The issue became particularly pertinent when it was reported by the Washington Post on Friday that Amy Coney Barrett, Trump's U.S Supreme Court nominee, had contracted COVID-19 this summer.

The event held after Trump officially nominated Barrett for the position left vacant by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been linked to several new positive diagnoses within the White House, with Trump staff members and journalists among the reported cases.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that it has "limited information" on which to assess what the potential of reinfection.

The data that the CDC has collected to date shows that a person who has had and recovered from COVID-19 may have low levels of virus in their bodies for up to 3 months after diagnosis, according to the federal agency.

"This means that if the person who has recovered from COVID-19 is retested within 3 months of initial infection, they may continue to have a positive test result, even though they are not spreading COVID-19," according to the CDC's website on precautions for adults with the virus.

According to the center, there have been no confirmed reports to date of a person being reinfected with COVID-19 within three months of initial infection. The CDC notes additional research is ongoing.

"Therefore, if a person who has recovered from COVID-19 has new symptoms of COVID-19, the person may need an evaluation for reinfection, especially if the person has had close contact with someone infected with COVID-19," the CDC says. "The person should isolate and contact a healthcare provider to be evaluated for other causes of their symptoms, and possibly retested."

Along with Kellyanne Conway, those who were at the event and have since tested positive for the virus are Utah Senator Mike Lee, North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis and the president of the University of Notre Dame, Father John Jenkins, and a journalist.

Additionally, there have been members of the Trump administration who accompanied him on the presidential debate who have tested positive for COVID-19: White House advisor Hope Hicks and the Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien.

On the issue of reinfection, Dr. Bill Moss, professor and executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said: "I would say that most people testing positive within three months of a prior infection – that's probably a remnant of viral RNA and not a reinfection, but it's important to distinguish between the two."

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett tested negative on her most recent Covid-19 test on Friday, alongside others who had been in close contact with the president, including Vice President Mike Pence, Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner.

Amy Coney Barrett
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) meets with Seventh U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, on Capitol Hill on October 1, in Washington, D.C. Erin Scott/Getty Images