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As cases of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) fill our hospital wards, the chance of catching COVID-19 is still a threat.

With coronavirus sub-variants multiplying and infection rates still on the rise, studies show catching the virus for a second or even third time could be worse for you than first thought.

Epidemiologist Professor Nancy Baxter said “each time you catch it, you have additional risks”.

Epidemiologist, Professor Nancy Baxter said you don’t want to get COVID-19 a second or third time. (Today)

“It is not a one and done scenario. If you have COVID-19 once, you don’t want to get it again,” Baxter told Today.

“Each time you get COVID-19, you have some risk of getting quite ill from it and you have risk of getting long-term symptoms, as well as long COVID.”

Baxter said while catching COVID-19 does give you some protection and immunity, “it is not something that you want to get repeatedly”.

Couple cold flu sick man woman looking after partner influenza temperature man flu
Symptoms could be worse for you if you get COVID-19 a second or third time. (iStock)

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With COVID-19 restrictions now almost completely gone across Australia, Baxter warned that “acting like COVID-19 doesn’t exist” is a big driver in people getting sick a second and third time.

“We have these new sub-variants, BA-4 and BA5 are the newest kids on the block and they are starting to really take off in Australia,” she said.

“They are able to get around immunity from BA1 and from that Christmas Omicron better than previous sub-variants, so it is a triple whammy and then we are all indoors.”

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