Things That Matter

Chile Is Testing Out Immunity Cards For People Who Have Been Cured Of The Virus

Chile is asking itself the same question that many of us are asking ourselves: when is “this” going to end, when will we be able to return to the life we knew before the pandemic, or at least how to begin to recover what used to be normal life.

For governments, the priority seems to be jump starting their economies amid a global pandemic. Some states in the U.S. are already reopening non-essential businesses (like gyms and beaches…really?!) while countries like Mexico are allowing most businesses to stay open so long as they practice social distancing measures.

Chile – which was in the throes of a nationwide lockdown – has decided to take a different approach. The government there plans to allow those in low risk groups and those who have already been infected with the virus and have recovered to return to near normal activities. But at what cost?

Chile plans to issue the world’s first Coronavirus immunity cards.

The country’s health officials confirmed plans to be the first country to issue coronavirus “immunity passports,” which would allow individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 to go back to work. Health Ministry Undersecretary Paula Daza said that 4,600 people have recovered from the deadly virus. According to officials, those citizens can “help the community enormously” by getting back to work. Chile has tested more people for the coronavirus than any other country in Latin America.

In principle, people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been symptom-free for 14 days or more will be eligible for antibody testing. Chile has a population over more than 19 million people, so the roughly 4,600 people who would receive these ‘immunity cards’ make up a very small segment of the population.

If the strategy works, the ID cards could – little by little – help Chile reopen its economy and get its population back to work. But the strategy isn’t without risks.

From a flourishing black market to several unknowns related to the Coronavirus – the government’s plan has many risks.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

If there is an ID card that would enable to you to take to the streets, get back to work, and return to a somewhat normal life – you would want it right? And so will many others – including those who have not yet developed any anti-bodies to the virus and are still at-risk. That’s what has many officials worried about Chile’s ID plan. It could create a black market for fake immunity cards.

Not only does this pose a threat of at-risk populations getting fake immunity cards – but since they’ll likely be available at a cost most Chileans can’t afford, this leaves only the privileged able to get them.

Chile says they will certify immunity, but does it even exist?

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The idea that a person who recovers from COVID-19 can be immune to the virus has its foundations in the way the human body reacts to thousands of other viruses that we live with in our daily lives.

Since there is no specific treatment for COVID-19 at this time, the goal is to keep the patient as stable as possible while his or her immune system copes with the virus. To this extent, it is understood that those who manage to recover have developed the necessary antibodies to do so. Some recovered patients are having their antibodies ‘harvested’ to inject into other patients still battling the disease.

However, the World Health Organization has explicitly discouraged the issuance of immunity cards because the presence of antibodies simply indicates that the body has reacted to the virus, not necessarily proof of immunity.

So far, Chile has had a well-planned response to the pandemic and has escaped much of the turmoil of other countries in South America.

Local governments have instituted rolling quarantine orders in different locations based upon number of new cases, access to medical care, and the percentage of elderly residents. They also instituted complete lockdowns, closed the borders to all travel, and instituted overnight curfews to limit people’s movements. The measures seem to be working.

Chile has seen roughly 12,000 confirmed cases of the virus but less than 200 deaths. The country has also initiated widespread testing, which is why the government is so confident in its plan to issue these immunity cards.

“We are doing well, so far, but it’s too soon to declare victory,” said Paula Bedregal, a public health expert and professor at the medical school of Universidad Catolica de Chile. “We aren’t in winter yet, when things can get more complicated, and the virus is starting to appear more among more vulnerable groups.”

Bedregal added that real information is lacking in some of the poorest areas, making it harder to know if the system in place will continue to succeed.

MLS Players Test Positive As Teams Travel To Florida To Start Tournament

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MLS Players Test Positive As Teams Travel To Florida To Start Tournament

Patrick Smith / Getty Images

The numbers are startling. The number of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. is skyrocketing and breaking records for the number of infections almost daily. One of the hardest-hit states in Florida and the MLS is determined to bring their season back using Florida as their meeting ground.

MLS athletes and staff members are testing positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Florida.

Major League Soccer is one of the first sports to attempt to restart its season. Fans were excited about the decision to restart the sport and MLS officials set their sights on the Walt Disney World Resort. Teams were flown down to Orlando to create a bubble to restart the sport as safely as possible.

Florida is experiencing one of the most severe spikes in cases in the country and the MLS is not immune to the spread.

Florida recently reported more than 10,000 cases July 1, a record for the state, and within 1,000 infections from the nation’s record set in New York. Orange County, which is home to Orlando and Walt Disney World Resort, is facing one of the most devastating outbreaks in the state.

There is a lot of chatter about whether or not is possible for this bubble idea to work.

“So far, most guys have been sticking to their rooms, playing video games, FIFA and 2K. We’ve had the opportunity share meals together, which was nice because I haven’t eaten in a group in a long time,” San Jose defender Tommy Thompson told Tampa Bay Times. “It felt great to be back on the field. When we all got on that bus together and started to train with contact, it felt really good.”

Fans are questioning if this idea is going to work.

Some players have told the press that they do feel safe in the bubble as the teams practice and prepare for the MLS is Back Tournament.

“Everyone is wearing masks, some guys are wearing gloves, and I feel safe 100 percent,” Dallas midfielder Tanner Tessmann told Tampa Bay Times. “They separated us on the buses and on the plane. We are staying one to a room in the hotel. So, I feel really safe. They have good procedures in place, so everything should go smoothly.”

The MLS is Back Tournament is set to begin July 8, considering everything goes according to plan. The rest of the teams are expected to arrive this week with the first game between Inter Miami and Orlando City.

READ: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Is Calling For A Repeal Of Its Kneeling Policy During The National Anthem

Man Posts Plea For People To Social Distance After Falling Ill Of COVID-19 And Died The Next Day

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Man Posts Plea For People To Social Distance After Falling Ill Of COVID-19 And Died The Next Day

Tommy Macias / Facebook

The world is still in the midst of a deadly viral pandemic. COVID-19 is not going away on its own and there are things that people can do to slow the spread. One of the most effective tools is wearing a mask followed up by social distancing. One man thought he could ease up and contracted the virus. Here is his warning.

A man known as Tommy Macias died one day after warning people about the dangers of COVID-19.

Credit: Tommy Macias / Facebook

Macias died the next day after posting this message on Facebook warning his friends and family about the dangers of COVID-19. According to the man’s post, he attended a party and contracted the virus there. Health experts have warned against gathering with friends and family right now. Parties have become some of the most infectious sites leading to the current outbreaks across the country.

Macias’s Facebook post touches on a point that drives home the importance of wearing face masks. After being exposed, he then exposed his entire family because he ignored health regulations.

The man’s death from COVID-19 has created a fear among his friends.

“Don’t take advantage of the unknown, don’t expect things to be fine. Take this shit seriously,” @flawlessbikerzcordova wrote on Instagram. “I had been diligent about wearing my mask but from time to time loosen up around the crew and friends. Not anymore!”

The U.S. is seeing a spike in cases across several states and cases are increasing in 35 states. The U.S. has seen record infection numbers in recent days and that trend is mirrored in Calfornia where the sudden reopening of the economy led to a runaway outbreak in the state.

Macias is now one of the more than 127,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19.

According to NBC News, the Riverside County Office of Vital Records confirmed that Macias did die from COVID-19. According to Macias’s brother-in-law, Macias was diligent about wearing his mask and following health regulations. However, when California Governor Gavin Newsom signaled rapid reopening within weeks in June, Macias felt safe letting down his guard.

“He was quarantining because he was overweight and had diabetes,” Lopez told NBC News in explaining how careful Macias has been.

Macias’s death is a warning to Americans.

As the quarantining drags on due to reopening reversals, fatigue is setting in with Americans about self-isolation. With a holiday weekend underway, Macias’s message is a warning call to Americans as social distancing is forgotten and people argue over masks.

Health experts continue to stress the importance of wearing face masks when out in public and to stay away from indoor gatherings with friends, like parties. It might be uncomfortable and you might not like it but it is what we need to do to get back this virus.

Please stay safe, smart, and follow health guidelines this 4th of July weekend.

READ: #TheWorldReopenedAnd Is Highlighting All The Ways We Are Failing In Our Response To COVID-19