According to revised guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person who has recovered from COVID-19 would likely be free from reinfection for three months.
The information marks the first acceptance of a specified immunity duration for people recovering from COVID-19.
Past work has shown that antibodies can disappear over the span of a few months from healed patients, but federal scientists hadn’t previously known what that means for immunity.
Previously, the CDC advised that anyone recovering from infection with COVID-19 should not be tested again for three months as long as that person is asymptomatic, but made it clear that there was still no link with immunity.
The CDC did not announce the findings formally; rather, the details were published as part of the broader quarantine advice that was last updated earlier this month.
People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 need to quarantine for 14 days, except people who have had COVID-19 in the last 3 months, according to the agency.
“People who have tested COVID-19 positively do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not experience symptoms again. Patients who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first COVID-19 outbreak will need to be checked again if there is no other cause found for their symptoms,” the CDC said.
A CDC spokesman explained that while it is unlikely that anyone will get reinfected or infect others over the three-month span, “it’s important that these individuals continue to be socially distant, wear masks and practice good hand hygiene before scientists know more about long-term COVID immunity.”