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Public antibody testing ramps up as US coronavirus cases approach 1 million
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Public antibody testing ramps up as US coronavirus cases approach 1 million

This week will mark several new milestones in the coronavirus pandemic as US cases approach 1 million, more businesses reopen and some local health workers start testing the public for antibodies, according to a CNN report.
As of Monday, more than 980,000 people have been infected in the US, and more than 55,637 have died.
A University of Washington model frequently cited by the White House coronavirus task force suggests no state should open their economies before Friday -- and many should wait much longer.
But some parts of the country are already doing so -- even if some cities and states are at odds with each other.
On Monday, City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez announced a road map to reopen the city in phases. While he did not announce the rollout date of this phased plan, he said that Miami-Dade county will reopen parks, waterways and golf courses before the city is ready for phase one.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he's not putting a date on when the state will reopen, even though its stay-at-home orders are set to expire Thursday.
"We are going to do everything in a smart way," DeSantis said. "I am less concerned about the date and more concerned about getting it right."
Other states have already started reopening, including Georgia, Texas, Michigan, Hawaii and Alaska.
And Friday, most counties in Iowa will be allowed to reopen restaurants, retail stores and gyms at 50% capacity, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Monday. Reynolds said she's also lifting a ban on religious gatherings of more than 10 people.
But New York state won't be lifting restrictions this week, despite declines in the rates of hospitalization, intubation and deaths, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.
The earliest the state will begin its first phase of reopening is May 15, but only in places that have seen a 14-day decline in hospitalizations, Cuomo said.
He said the state's multiphase reopening will start with construction and manufacturing at "businesses that have a low risk."
In Boston, Mayor Martin Walsh said 1,000 asymptomatic residents will undergo diagnostic and antibody testing to evaluate exposure to the virus in the city. The testing is expected to be done by Friday.
And beginning Tuesday, Georgia public health workers will start visiting randomly selected homes in Fulton and Dekalb counties to conduct antibody testing and ask for blood samples.
"This investigation will help us estimate the percentage of people in the community who have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19," the Georgia health department said.
"All members of the households selected will be asked to participate, including children. Participation is voluntary, and you can ask investigation teams any questions you have before agreeing to participate."
But health officials stress it's not clear whether having antibodies means someone can't get reinfected.
The virus is too new, and "four months into this pandemic, we're not able to say that an antibody response means that someone is immune," said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for the World Health Organization's coronavirus response.
"This is a very active area of research."
Van Kerkhove said that those infected with Covid-19 will likely have some level of protection.
"What we don't know right now is how strong that protection is, and if that's seen in everybody that is infected, and for how long that lasts."
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