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As Omicron Spreads, Three World Leaders Have Been Reinfected

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his counterparts in Poland and Pakistan tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus for the second time despite having completed their vaccination regimes, which could be at least partially attributed to the global spread of the Omicron variant of the virus.


Andrés Manuel López Obrador

López Obrador, now 68, announced on the afternoon of Monday 10 that he had COVID-19 through his Twitter account. “Although the symptoms are mild, I will remain in isolation and will only do office work,” he specified.

On the morning of the same day, López Obrador had participated in the traditional press conference without a mask and with dysphonia, although he said he believed it was the flu. On January 24 last year, the president confirmed through social media through social media that he had COVID-19 with mild symptoms

Last April, June and December, López Obrador received the three doses of the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

The contagion comes nearly a year after the president’s first COVID-19 case, at a time when new confirmed cases in the country nearly tripled in a week, with an increased presence of Omicron in the country’s major cities, including Mexico City and Monterrey, although hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 remain at a low level.

“Today the president of Mexico reported that he has COVID-19. It shows the high contagiousness of the Omicron variant, as he had already been infected and had already been vaccinated. The message should be the same: use of masks, distance, avoid crowds, ventilate enclosed spaces,” tweeted Dr. Alejandro Macías Hernández, infectologist and professor, head of the Area of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases of the Department of Medicine and Nutrition at the University of Guanajuato, in Mexico.

He is not the only leader in this situation.


Andrzej Duda

Last Wednesday 5, official sources in Poland confirmed that the country’s president, Andrzej Duda, now 48, had contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus with no associated symptoms. Duda had already had COVID-19 in October 2020 and received three doses of vaccines since then, the last one last month.

“The president is feeling well, is not seriously ill and is under permanent medical monitoring,” tweeted his cabinet head, Pawel Szrot, as reported by Reuters.

At the time of transmission, Poland had a declining trend of newly reported cases (partly attributable to less testing over the holidays and vacations), although this week Omicron isolates have already risen to 7%-8% of sequenced samples from 1-2% in previous weeks, and the first two deaths from that variant have been reported, Notes from Poland reported.


Arif Alvi

On Thursday 6, meanwhile, Pakistan’s president, 72-year-old dentist Arif Alvi, announced via Twitter that he had COVID-19 again: “My test has been positive for COVID-19 again. I had a sore throat for the last 4-5 days and was getting better. I felt mildly feverish for a few hours two nights ago. No other symptoms. So folks, please resume precautions and follow preventive standard operating measures,” he wrote.

Alvi had already been diagnosed with COVID-19 in March 2021 and completed his primary immunization regime in May of that year. The announcement came on the same day that Pakistan reported more than 1,000 new infections in 24 hours for the first time in three months and as authorities warned of the onset of a fifth wave fueled by Omicron.

Although there is no confirmation that any of the three presidents have been infected with the Omicron variant, studies in South Africa and the United Kingdom suggest that the potential for reinfection with this new variant is three to eight times higher than with delta.

Since the start of the pandemic, more than a dozen world leaders contracted COVID-19, including Donald Trump (United States), Emmanuel Macron (France), Jair Bolsonaro (Brazil), Alberto Fernández (Argentina), Miloš Zeman (Czech Republic), ), Boris Johnson (United Kingdom), Alejandro Giammattei (Guatemala), Juan Orlando Hernández (Honduras), Jeanine Añez (Bolivia), Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa) and, during the first week of 2022, Filipe Nyusi (Mozambique) and Mokgweetsi Masisi (Botswana).

So far, there are 311,193,617 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and nearly 5.5 million deaths, according to updated data from the Johns Hopkins University Resource Center.

This article originally appeared on Medscape Spanish Edition.

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