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Return to normal? First Covid-19 ‘pass’ introduced in US

“Similar to a mobile airline boarding pass, individuals will be able to either print out their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass Wallet app,” the press release announcing the ‘passports’ read. 

Businesses and venues will be able to scan a unique code for each passport and see the Covid-19 history of the person in front of them. The app will reportedly not show detailed medical history, but rather just a simple message that you are or are not vaccinated, or have or have not been recently tested. 

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“An individual’s data is kept secure and confidential at all times,” the news release promises. 

Madison Square Garden and the Times Union Center are already set to begin using the app in the coming days. On April 2, the app will then expand to smaller venues in the state. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is facing a number of personal and professional controversies at the moment, celebrated the Excelsior Pass as the first of its kind and called “the question of ‘public health or the economy’” a “false choice.”

“The question of ‘public health or the economy’ has always been a false choice — the answer must be both,” the governor said in a statement. “As more New Yorkers get vaccinated each day and as key public health metrics continue to regularly reach their lowest rates in months, the first-in-the-nation Excelsior Pass heralds the next step in our thoughtful, science-based reopening.”

Numerous officials have previously floated the idea of ‘vaccination passports’ or proof of vaccinations being required in order for people to travel or gather in larger venues. White House health adviser Anthony Fauci said “immunity cards” would be “possible” last year, saying requiring such paperwork was “being discussed.”

The idea has led to a wave of pushback, especially from Republicans. Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) announced this week that “vaccine passports” are a “terrible idea” and “totally off the table” for his state.

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