Covid-19 “Recovered Certified” Could Drive Economic Recovery


ROpening a nightclub in New York seems crazy at this point, because that’s exactly the kind of setting in which Covid-19 can spread like wildfire. But it wouldn’t be crazy if all the workers and customers had already had Covid-19 and recovered from it.

One day, millions of people in the United States will have recovered from Covid-19. The best evidence suggests that they cannot be infected again soon and that they will not infect others by eliminating the virus.

This suggests a way to manage essential services more securely and to reopen sectors of the economy more quickly than would otherwise be possible. New York, Washington, California and other busy states should rush to put in place credible, verifiable and voluntary programs to identify individuals as “certified recovered” from Covid-19. German researchers recently proposed a similar program there.


Federal policymakers are currently pulled in two directions. One is to shut down much of the economy and house people to limit the spread of the virus that causes Covid-19. But we are all shrinking from the economic and human devastation it creates, so Congress adopted a $ 2 trillion stimulus package aimed primarily at keeping the economy open and stimulating demand. However, demand is difficult to stimulate when so many things are closed, and it is dangerous to stimulate in a way that increases social contact and spreads the virus.


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