A person who has recovered from COVID-19 will likely be safe from reinfection for three months, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The information marks the first acknowledgement of a defined immunity period for people who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection.
Prior research has shown antibodies from recovered patients will fade over the course of a few months, but federal scientists had not previously said what that means for immunity.
The CDC previously recommended that someone recovered from a COVID-19 infection doesn't need to be tested again for three months so long as that person is asymptomatic, but made clear that any correlation to immunity was still unknown.
The CDC did not make a formal announcement of the findings; rather, the information was included as part of broader guidance about quarantining that was last updated earlier this month.
According to the agency, 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 within the past 3 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 CDC said.
A CDC spokesman clarified that while it is unlikely someone will get reinfected or infect others during the three-month period, "it's important these individuals continue to social distance, wear masks, and practice good hand hygiene until scientists know more about long term immunity against COVID."