Trust Index: Fact-checking DeSantis’ statement on getting COVID-19 twice

Gov. Ron DeSantis: ‘You are immune if you’ve recovered from COVID’

ORLANDO, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis claimed Wednesday people who had recovered from the coronavirus were immune to getting it again.

His comments came at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), described as a group of bipartisan legislators from around the country.

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He opened his presentation by pointing out some who were not wearing masks.

“Did you not get the CDC’s memo? I don’t see you guys complying,” he said laughing.

The governor then made the claim that people who have recovered from COVID-19 could not get it again.

“So, here we are now, and the CDC is saying every single person in a school needs to wear a mask all day, even if you’re vaccinated, even if you’ve recovered from COVID, which by the way — you are immune if you’ve recovered from COVID. The CDC doesn’t admit that, but it’s true,” he said.

News 6 investigated the science behind the statement.

According to the CDC: “Based on what we know from similar viruses, some reinfections are expected. We are still learning more about COVID-19. Ongoing COVID-19 studies will help us understand. Although persons with SARS-CoV-2 antibodies are largely protected, subsequent infection is possible for some persons due to lack of sterilizing immunity. Some re-infected individuals could have a similar capacity to transmit virus as those infected for the first time.”

“Your previous infection may prevent you from getting sick, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t become infected and then spread it to others,” Dr. Frank Esper with the Cleveland Clinic said.

News 6 asked the governor’s office for clarification on his comments in light of stories that highlighted people becoming re-infected, and in some cases, being hospitalized again.

“Governor DeSantis’ claim about the existence of natural immunity is supported by science,” Press Secretary Christina Pushaw said in a statement. “The instances of someone being infected twice, as you noted, are so rare that it makes the news.”

Given the medical research that shows people can get re-infected with COVID-19 combined with the press secretary’s comment that re-infections are rare, the governor’s comments in Utah score a “Be Careful” on the News 6 Trust Index.

Trust Index: Be Careful

About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013 and became an Investigator in 2020. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.