The real question here is this: Suppose a person has been tested positive for covid-19. Then they have gone through the symptoms, recovered, and been tested again (actually twice, 24 hours apart, just to be sure), and found to be truly recovered and clear. Is there any good reason that person needs to hunker down and wear a mask and gloves and go through all the social distancing everyone else still needs to do?
There was a study done which I read a couple weeks ago, very preliminary, not even peer reviewed yet (as made available on the net they were quite clear about these details), but results seemed quite clear that the proteins of the virus were positively identified in the mucous and sputum of the person, but nothing of any of it could be made to breed or grow, I.e., the virus is killed. Their antibodies kill it. Unfortunately I have been utterly unable to find any follow up, no further experiments of this kind, not even that promised peer review, nothing. Apparently, no other scientists, research grants, or whatever, seem the least bit concerned with that truly great and most relevant question. As of three weeks ago today (March 12), 6,839 persons had tested positive for this disease all around the world. Since the disease normally runs its course in two weeks, only three at the extreme outside, allowing for that fraction (~1%?) who have died, and what roughly similarly sized fraction may still be suffering from it (or far more likely by now, not so much from the disease itself but rather from complications that followed from it), and most people recover in about two weeks (March 19) by which 30,462 persons worldwide had tested positive, that means that somewhere between 6,000 and 30,000 persons (to say nothing of how many further cases were never officially diagnosed but did, though they remain to be verified) are already both safe and harmless; they cannot get it, and they are not contagious. Such results would be of great significance most directly to that small but ever-growing group of those who have recovered and are therefore truly fully immune. These results are also of interest to the rest of us, as we see in them the beginning of our much desired return to normalcy. These folks really can and should return to their jobs (or better, serve as volunteers to help), and as their numbers increase (exponentially, at least until about two to three weeks after the spread of the disease stops increasing exponentially), they are the living symbols of what will be, once we are all safely inoculated with some vaccine for this.
We have good reason to believe that this will be the case, though of course more testing is needed, both of individuals so as to know for certain that they are truly immune, and further verifications of that one preliminary study, before we could unconditionally recommend such visitations, but hopefully someone will begin to lean on our scientific community to answer that question. And then the yet bigger question: once so immune and safe, how long will our bodies continue to make the necessary antibodies? six months? a year? several years? the rest of our lives? Our earliest complete recoveries will be the best early indicators of the answer to that question.