CDC Suggests Recovered COVID-19 Patients Have Protection for 3 Months

The update lines up with previous guidance that people who have recovered don't need to be retested for 90 days

Ambulances pull up to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on April 20, 2020.
Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

People who have recovered from COVID-19 can safely interact with others for three months, according to a recent update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — suggesting that immunity to the virus may last at least that long.

The recent change is part of the agency's guidance on quarantining. It states that people should quarantine if they've been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, "excluding people who have had COVID-19 within the past 3 months." People who have tested positive for the virus don't need to be tested again for up to three months, as long as they don't develop symptoms again.

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The CDC previously acknowledged that people who have recovered from COVID-19 can test positive for the virus for up to three months, though these positive results don't mean that a person is still sick. Instead, the test may be picking up fragments of the virus's genetic code. Dr. Brett Giroir, the undersecretary of health who leads coronavirus testing for the White House, has advised people against being tested again after they recover.

However, the update goes one step further, suggesting that people who have recovered are protected from getting sick again for at least three months.

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