President Donald Trump listens as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
The federal government is weighing giving out certificates to people who have recovered from coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday.
The immunity cards could help the government keep track of who’s already been infected as it attempts to restart the economy.
Fauci said that a “large number” of antibody tests, which show whether someone has recovered from coronavirus, will become available in the coming week.
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People who recover from coronavirus could be given government-issued immunity cards in the future, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci said Friday.
Fauci told CNN’s New Day that the Trump administration is considering giving out certificates showing a person has previously had coronavirus and recovered, which could help reduce transmission as people return to work in the coming months.
“I mean, it’s one of those things that we talk about when we want to make sure that we know who the vulnerable people are and not,” he said. “This is something that’s being discussed. I think it might actually have some merit, under certain circumstances.”
Fauci added that the federal government is preparing to deploy a “large number” of antibody tests in the coming week, which the Food and Drug Administration is currently validating.
While existing coronavirus tests tell people whether they have the virus or not, an antibody test shows if someone has previously had the virus and recovered, which could mean they’re immune. Deploying them would be a part of the next phase of the government’s plan to reopen the economy.
“Within a period of a week or so, we’re going to have a rather large number of tests that are available,” Fauci said Friday.
The government is also exploring partnering with private sector companies to monitor the spread of the virus. Apple and Google are currently partnering for a contact-tracing program that will use Bluetooth data from people’s smartphones to gauge whether they’ve come in contact with someone exposed to coronavirus.
CDC Director Robert Redfield told NPR on Thursday that “very aggressive” measures including contact tracing will be necessary for the US to return to normal.
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