Understanding how immunity works post COVID-19 infection is an important consideration when making decisions about relaxing physical distancing guidelines. Dr. Lipsitch highlights the challenges of developing conceptual models with limited data amidst a constantly changing environment. “Getting a handle on this fast is extremely important: not only to estimate the extent of herd immunity, but also to figure out whether some people can re-enter society safely, without becoming infected again or serving as a vector, and spreading the virus to others. Central to this effort will be figuring out how long protection lasts.”
Dr. Lipsitch and co-authors Stephen M. Kissler, Christine Tedijanto, Edward Goldstein and Yonatan H. Grad also published a related paper in Science: Projecting the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 through the postpandemic period.