The lack of some antibodies will mean that you do not have an “immunity passport” and are therefore not allowed to go out in public. Those who have them will be issued certificates for roaming and restarting the economies – so that the vulnerable stay at home.
They listed the reasons why they considered this unfeasible and unfair:
So many unknowns: For starters, they wrote, it is unclear whether people develop any kind of lasting immunity after a coronavirus infection. The World Health Organization has warned governments not to issue immune passports, saying there is no evidence that people who have recovered from Covid-1
Not enough survivors: If only coronavirus survivors are allowed to contribute to the economy, there will not be enough manpower to hum. “The low prevalence of the disease, combined with limited testing capacity, not to mention highly unreliable tests, means that only a small fraction of each population will be certified as free to work,” they wrote.
Privacy is an issue: There is also the issue of confidentiality. Ethically, they argued, watching their personal lives erode.
So is marginalization: Observing people to see what immunity is would affect already marginalized groups. We already saw this during this pandemic, when more blacks and Spaniards were arrested for violating the laws of physical distancing in New York. “Increased monitoring comes with increased policing, and with it the higher risks of profiling and potential harm to racial, sexual, religious or other minority groups,” they wrote.
And labeling too: This will create even more divisions. “Labeling people based on their Covid-19 status would create a new measure to separate ‘having’ and ‘not having,'” they added.
Volitional infections: Finally, immune passports could encourage people to become infected on purpose. “If access to certain social and economic freedoms is given only to people who have recovered from Covid-19, then immunity passports could encourage healthy, non-immune individuals to deliberately seek infection – exposing themselves and others.” , they wrote.
Better approaches include the old-fashioned identification and tracing of infected people and their contacts and the development of a vaccine, Kofler and Baylis argued.
Vasco Cotovio, Sarah Dean, Susan Gargiulo, David Culver and Nectar Gan contributed to this report.