Immunity check at sporting events could ensure safety of those attending: report

Immunity check at sporting events could ensure safety of those attending: report

When sports finally emerge from their slumber, one physician believes proof of coronavirus immunity can eventually be a way to ensure the safety of those who attend certain arenas.

Dr. Kumanan Wilson, a physician at a hospital in Ottawa, Canada, said that a digital immunization check would help promote gatherings at sporting events even with a deployable vaccine roughly a year or so away.

“We’re going to need some kind of test that is proof of immunity to get people back into society,” Wilson told CBC Sports. “Otherwise, it’s a roll of the dice trying to open up these stadiums and large gatherings of people.”

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Workers stand by after pausing the assembly of the arena for the Maple Leafs NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto in March. When sports finally emerge from their slumber following the coronavirus pandemic, one physician believes proof of immunity can eventually be a way to ensure the safety of those who attend certain arenas. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

Workers stand by after pausing the assembly of the arena for the Maple Leafs NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto in March. When sports finally emerge from their slumber following the coronavirus pandemic, one physician believes proof of immunity can eventually be a way to ensure the safety of those who attend certain arenas. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

Wilson, who has developed an app called CANImmunize that lets Canadians track their immunization history, predicted the use of that type of security method. He said fans at stadium gates could be checked as they present their tickets — before they would be permitted inside.

“It would be effectively barcode-enabled. Just like when you go to a sporting event [and] they scan your ticket, they are going to scan your barcode for proof of immunity,” Wilson said, according to the outlet.

He added that using a model that keeps a record of your history would be better than doing constant testing for the virus, which certain leagues in Canada are already proposing.

“Testing will clear you at that moment in time,” he told CBC Sports. “The best ongoing proof will be that you have antibodies in your blood.”

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Wilson added that up to three-quarters of the population would need to develop immunity from COVID-19 to stop it from spreading.

“Until then, we can’t have these mass gatherings. We can have smaller gatherings. We will allow society to go back to normal but in a muted way.”

The New York Times reported in March that the answer to whether people who survive the coronavirus can become immune is a “qualified yes, with some significant unknowns.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently advising against attending mass gatherings in the U.S.

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Almost every sporting event has been postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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