Virginia Should Issue Immunity Certificates

Yesterday I argued that Virginia should allocate a chunk of its COVID-19 helicopter dollars from the federal government to conduct widespread testing for the presence of coronavirus antibodies. If the antibodies are present, the person presumably is immune to the sickness and should be free to re-enter society and the workforce.

Turns out, the Germans are planning to do just that. The Telegraph reports that Germany plans to introduce coronavirus “immunity certificates.” Researchers plan to test 100,000 members of the public at a time and issue documentation to those who have overcome the virus.

Explains Gerard Krause, the epidemiologist leading the project: “Those who are immune can then be given a vaccination certificate that would, for example, allow them to be exempt from any (lockdown-related) restrictions on their work.”

After saving lives, the No. 1 priority of the Northam administration must be to expedite a return to economic normalcy. Public health authorities in Virginia should bend every effort to make immunity certificates a reality.

— JAB

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14 responses to “Virginia Should Issue Immunity Certificates

  1. “Researchers plan to test 100,000 members of the public at a time and issue documentation to those who have overcome the virus.”

    By the numbers you posted we tested fewer people yesterday (in Virginia) for COVID-19 than we tested the day before.

    Maybe today is the day Ralph “The Mime” Northam will discuss testing during his press conference. Maybe today is the day Virginia’s ass kissing “professional” journalists will demand answers from The Mime about testing. Maybe pigs will start flying.

    Things done by competent governments cannot be assumed possible in Virginia.

  2. Germany is doing this – post-lockdown to get people back to work without re-starting the contagion and it relies on testing – more testing than any other European country. Testing in Germany is centralized, top-down – same tests, same protocol, national level certificates.

    I don’t know what they are doing about their borders with other countries or how a state-by-state approach would work in the US without closing the borders and each state issuing it’s own certificates.

    The cruel reality of pandemics is that they do not respect borders and if people can cross borders easily – it undermines what the state is doing. This is why many places in the US are telling folks trying to come to those states/localities to stay away.

    I think it probably has to be a Nationally-led initiative.

    • Nationally led? What a bad idea. Nationally mandated? Maybe. Funded by the federal and state government? Probably. But executed by either the federal or state government? Oh no. Based on the floundering incompetence of our state government to date the best thing would be for The Imperial Clown Show in Richmond to send the money to Virginia’s localities and get the hell out of the way.

      • National is the way it worked in South Korea and Germany is not mistaken.

        it’s the easiest way to enforce uniform standards.

        It works that way for many other things from interstates to Medicare to EPA rules… etc.. even works that way in Virginia for things like laws, roads, Medicaid, etc.

        What’s been lacking on this all along is a national function – which is
        a direct result of the top leadership…

        Even Cuomo who is a top-down type guy – says at the level above him, it’s loony.

        • The state of Montana is bigger than Germany. South Korea is the size of Indiana. The entire country of South Korea has a population density of 1,302 per sq mi. Virginia’s population density is approximately 1/6th that.

          The best place to bring people for mass testing would probably public elementary schools – owned and operated by localities. The only organizations big enough to conduct the tests at scale would probably be trained police, firemen and school employees – all part of the locality.

          New York City has 38,422 sworn police officers. That’s more than the total number of employees nationwide in the FBI.

          Only in backward thinking places like Virginia do people think that bureaucratic centralized government is more effective than local government.

  3. I don’t believe that scientists have confirmed that recovering from the virus confers long-term immunity.

    I read that people in China were released from hospitals after recovering from the virus and testing negative. Some were tested again a few days later and tested positive again.

    This could be due to failures in the tests (false positive or false negative results).

    Until we have indisputable results that people do get immunity after exposure it would be dangerous to release people into the general population.

    This information would be crucial to how we are approaching producing possible vaccines.

    • That’s what I have heard also – still not sure about immunity nor about whether one could be a carrier… and even then not sure how restaurants
      would “work” , i.e. have to present a certificate at the door?

  4. Don, talking about leading the nation, if I read UVA Today correctly, it took a million dollar gift from a private individual to get any lift out of UVA’s virus testing program. Did UVA President James Ryan’s home renovation job ($10 million+++) run UVA’s coffers dry?

  5. The Germans have experience in that sort of thing.

    So, just a quick question, how can you spot a forgery? Of course, why forge? Given the number of persons caught on suspended driver’s licenses driving, why bother.

  6. It would be nice if your website had an easy way to share articles to social media outlets such as Twitter (something like the ShareThis app).

    Thanks for the great articles –

    John

  7. Playing devil’s advocate for a moment – and I’m all for getting people back to work as quickly as possible – wouldn’t immunity certificates punish those who stayed at home with longer quarantines? I know some people were infected and didn’t know it, but there have to be large numbers of folks with no immunity who religiously followed the CDC guidelines. Do you think this would lead to people trying to get infected, so they could recover – as almost everyone does – and get back to work?

    • Good question. Human behavior is often perverse. Government initiatives often have unintended consequences. I suppose your scenario is possible.

      Let’s play with your idea. Let’s suppose healthy young people did go out and get infected, and then recovered. Would that be a bad thing — as long as (a) they didn’t infect others, and (b) they didn’t wind up in the hospital?

  8. I think one could characterize this idea as a “germ” of an idea coming from the bottom up no pun intended so virtually no formal organization govt or NGO has proposed it as far as I know and not even Trump, right?

    All kinds of questions as to how it would work including whether or not those who chose to become infected having priority access to hospitals if their infection turned bad.

    And would doing that – overload hospitals even worse so that tough choices would have to be made between young people infected and needing care and older folks infected who needed care?

    Where would all the “infected” go to and how would we know that they were indeed infected and then later they were indeed over the infection?

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