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A testing lab wear in Leonardtown, Maryland. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The World Health Organization said in a scientific brief there's "no evidence” that people who recover from the novel coronavirus and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.

Why it matters: Several countries, including the U.S., are weighing allowing people who have recovered from COVID-19 to carry "immunity passports" or "risk-free certificates," enabling them to travel or return to work assuming that they are protected against re-infection. "The use of such certificates may ... increase the risks of continued transmission," the WHO said in the brief.

What they're saying: "At this point in the pandemic, there is not enough evidence about the effectiveness of antibody-mediated immunity to guarantee the accuracy of an 'immunity passport' or 'risk-free certificate,'" the WHO said.

  • The agency said it's continuing to review the evidence on antibody responses to the virus, which has infected almost 2.9 million people and killed over 200,000 worldwide — with more than 938,000 cases and over 53,700 deaths reported in the U.S., per Johns Hopkins.

The big picture: Chile has announced plans to issue "immunity passports." The United Kingdom, Germany and Italy have been looking into the move. Anthony Fauci told CNN this month that U.S. officials were discussing the subject. "I think it might actually have some merit," the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director added.

  • Onfido, a San Francisco-based identity verification company, is working with at least one European government to develop phone-based immunity passports for people who've recovered from COVID-19 and tested positive for antibodies, per Axios' Dan Primack.
  • The firm "has not yet spoken with U.S. officials, but CEO Husayn Kassai tells Axios that there have been indirect discussions at both the federal and state levels via partners," Primack notes.

Go deeper: How coronavirus antibody tests will help 

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Fauci: Schools can reopen with safeguards, but those in virus hot spots shouldn't

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at Capitol Hill in July. Photo Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Monday schools and colleges should be able to reopen for in-person classes, but they must take precautions to ensure the safety of students and teachers during the pandemic, per CNN.

Of note: Students benefit psychologically from being in a classroom, Fauci said. The American Academy of Pediatrics has advocated for in-person classes resuming, noting in a statement the mental health benefits of doing so. "[T]here is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020."

Trump: Coronavirus is "under control"

President Trump said in an interview with “Axios on HBO” that he thinks the coronavirus is as well-controlled in the U.S. as it can be, despite dramatic surges in new infections over the course of the summer and more than 150,000 American deaths.

  • “They are dying, that's true. And you have — it is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague,” he told Axios' Jonathan Swan.