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Instant Insights / Coronavirus and New York's Legal Community

Since a New York lawyer became the second person diagnosed with COVID-19 in the state, law firms, schools and the courts have been taking action to protect attorneys, staff, students and visitors. Here is our coverage of the impact of the pandemic on the legal community in the state, made available for free.

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Doctor holding a test kit for viral disease COVID-19 2019-nCoV. Lab card kit test for viral novel coronavirus sars-cov-2 virus. Photo: danielmarin/Shutterstock.com Doctor holding a test kit for viral disease COVID-19 2019-nCoV. Lab card kit test for viral novel coronavirus sars-cov-2 virus. Photo: danielmarin/Shutterstock.com

Over the last few weeks public discussion has focused on how an antibody test for COVID-19 could provide a way to reopen the country while keeping the public safe. In addition to determining both the prevalence and lethality of COVID-19, antibody tests could potentially determine which employees are immune to the disease and therefore can safely return to the workplace. Employees without immunity to COVID-19 are not only at risk of becoming ill themselves but could act as vectors, furthering community spread. Chile has issued the world’s first “immunity passport”—or official certificate of immunity—and countries including Germany and Britain have discussed doing the same. New York state recently completed antibody tests determining that approximately 14% of people in New York state and 20% of people in NYC tested positive. However, uncertainty remains regarding the accuracy of many antibody tests and scientific experts argue that there are not enough tests to meet the volume required. Further, even once there are a sufficient number of reliable tests, many unknowns will remain regarding how effective immunity to COVID-19 is and how long it will last.

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