Dr. Anthony Fauci Says Coronavirus Immunity Cards 'Being Discussed' as Efforts to End US Lockdown Continue

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said early Friday the Trump Administration is considering issuing cards Americans can use to prove they are immune to or do not have the coronavirus. Fauci said the idea is something that was "discussed" and has "some merit." The idea is being floated as President Donald Trump announced a new economic task force to look into reopening the U.S. by May 1.

Fauci, the leading infectious disease expert in the U.S., was asked about the immunity cards idea on CNN's New Day and said it was "possible." "It's one of those things that we talk about when we want to make sure who the vulnerable people are and not," he added, reports The Hill. "This is something that's being discussed, I think it might actually have some merit."

Within "a week or so" there will be new antibody tests, which could help doctors learn who might be uniquely immune to the coronavirus. "As soon as they get validated, they'll be out there for people to use," he said. "It's very likely that there are a large number of people out there that have been infected, have been asymptomatic and did not know."

The new test would be different from what is currently available. While they tell doctors if a patient currently has the coronavirus, the new one would tell doctors if a patient already had the coronavirus without knowing it. This could let them go back to work. "As we look forward, as we get to the point of at least considering opening up the country, as it were, it's very important to appreciate and to understand how much that virus has penetrated the society," Fauci explained, reports Politico.

Sources told The Washington Post Friday morning Trump and his administration is planning to put together a new coronavirus task force to focus on the economic impact of the virus and how to reopen the country. Trump said Friday the group would likely be announced on Tuesday and will go "beyond economic" concerns. Sources told ABC News the group would include Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, economic adviser Larry Kudlow, other administration officials and representatives from the private sector.

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"This is beyond economic," Trump said Friday, reports USA Today. "I call it the 'opening our country task force' or 'opening our country council,' so we don't get it confused with" the main White House task force on the coronavirus. "I don't know that I've had a bigger decision," he said of re-opening the country. "I'm going to have to make a decision... and I only hope to God it's the right decision."

There are more than 1.6 million coronavirus cases around the world, reports Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has the most cases of any country, with more than 492,000 cases as of Friday afternoon. More than 18,350 deaths have been reported, with 28,664 recovered patients reported.