Why is it important: The inclusion of antibody test results distorts data on the prevalence of coronavirus and may overestimate the ability to safely begin the reopening process.
- A positive COVID-19 test means that a person is currently carrying the coronavirus, while a positive antibody test suggests that the individual has been infected in the past.
What they say: Harvard Global Health Professor Ashish Jha told The Atlantic: “Because antibody tests are for use on the general population, not just symptomatic people, they will, in most cases , a positive percentage rate lower than that of viral tests. “
- Jha says the CDC combination of the two tests makes their results “uninterpretable” and that the distortion “will drop your positive rate very dramatically”.