Is It Safe to Be Around Someone Who Had Covid-19?
Here’s what the experts say
Questions remain regarding whether getting Covid-19 definitely means you have enough antibodies to be immune to getting the virus again. However, experts say that it’s likely there’s at least some immunity produced.
“There’s a good reason to believe that after one has been infected with this virus, that there is a degree of immunity that lasts for some period of time, possibly up to a year,” says Amesh A. Adalja, MD, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “So in general, I don’t think it’s very risky to hang around with somebody who has recovered from the infection.”
Even so, it’s important to keep in mind that unknowns about the virus remain, so physical distancing is still recommended.
“SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes Covid-19—can be shed for some time, so the first consideration would be to understand whether that person might still be contagious; this can be determined by their health care provider,” says Robin Patel, MD, the president of the American Society for Microbiology.
“If someone was infected in the remote past, this is a different situation,” she says. “Unfortunately, we do not know for sure whether there is protective immunity to [the virus], meaning that we don’t know with certainty whether an individual can become reinfected. For that reason, at this point, it would be best to consider that person as you’d consider someone who hadn’t already had Covid-19.” Meaning, stay six feet apart.