Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted Friday that the idea of Americans being given "certificates of immunity" to the deadly COVID-19 virus is being considered and might even "have some merit."
Fauci spoke with CNN about the coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 20,000 Americans and infected more than half a million. The death toll worldwide is now north of 100,000.
"That's possible. 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," Fauci said when CNN's Alisyn Camerota asked him whether Americans would be given the documents if they are infected with the virus and then recover. Antibody tests being developed would indicate who has had the virus.
"This is something that's being discussed, I think it might actually have some merit under certain circumstances," added Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Fauci added that a "large number" of the antibody tests will be available for use "within a period of a week or so."
"These antibody tests are tests that we do on other diseases. But they need to be validated. You need to make sure that they're consistent and that they're accurate," he said.
Still a question mark: the degree and length of any coronavirus immunity. And the U.S. has not yet begun any widespread antibody testing, in contrast with nations including China, Finland and Germany, said Yahoo News.
Still, certificates tied to such testing would, in theory, be a step toward reopening normal life. Again, in theory, people with certificates of immunity might be exempted from some social distancing protocols and could return to work or other activities without risk of infecting others, reported Yahoo News. Germany is said to be discussing the concept as well, Yahoo reported.
President Donald Trump said Friday evening that he is working on a plan to reopen the country and get people back to work. He will consult with the task force team along with another group being assembled on when to order that things start getting back to normal.
More than 1.6 million people worldwide have fallen ill with the virus and more than 100,000 have died.
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