People are not immune to coronavirus in the three months following infection, clarifies CDC
Those who have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus should quarantine themselves, excluding people who have had Covid-19 within the past three months, says the recent advisory
A person is not immune to reinfection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, in the three months following infection, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has clarified.
On Monday, August 3, the agency updated its isolation guidance based on the latest science about coronavirus, which made an exception for people who have had Covid-19 in the last three months. It said that people who have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus should quarantine themselves, excluding people who have had Covid-19 within the past three months. “People who have tested positive for Covid-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of Covid-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms,” the advisory stated.
The guidance created confusion with some debating whether it means that people who are infected with the coronavirus are immune to reinfection in the following three months. Addressing this, the CDC has now issued a statement emphasizing that it was not saying those people have immunity against reinfection for three months. “On August 3, 2020, CDC updated its isolation guidance based on the latest science about Covid-19 showing that people can continue to test positive for up to 3 months after diagnosis and not be infectious to others. This science does not imply a person is immune to reinfection with SARS-CoV-2, in the 3 months following infection. The latest data simply suggests that retesting someone in the 3 months following initial infection is not necessary unless that person is exhibiting the symptoms of Covid-19 and the symptoms cannot be associated with another illness,” reads the statement.
The CDC explains that close contact with a patient implies if a person was within six feet of someone who has Covid-19 for 15 minutes or more, or a person provided care at home to someone sick with coronavirus, or if an individual had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them), shared eating or drinking utensils, or the patient sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on another person. The health experts have advised that people with coronavirus should be isolated for at least 10 days after symptom onset and until 24 hours after their fever subsides without the use of fever-reducing medications. “You should stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has Covid-19 since symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus,” the guidance stipulates.
According to the CDC, more than 15 international and US-based studies have been recently published that look at the length of infection, duration of the viral shed, asymptomatic spread and risk of spread among various patient groups. Researchers have found that the amount of live virus in the nose and throat drops significantly soon after Covid-19 symptoms develop, says the CDC. Besides, the studies also reveal that the duration of infectiousness in most people with Covid-19 is no longer than 10 days after symptoms begin and no longer than 20 days in people with severe illness or those who are severely immunocompromised. “CDC will continue to closely monitor the evolving science for information that would warrant reconsideration of these recommendations,” writes the agency.