Varney: Coronavirus antibody tests will determine if economic shutdown was 'worth it'

'The results... may change the way we figure out the health risks of the coronavirus'

FOX Business’ Stuart Varney, in his latest “My Take,” argues that coronavirus antibody testing is key to getting America back up on running, as studies in California show telling numbers.

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“The results they are showing may change the way we figure out the health risks of the coronavirus,” Varney said.

Stanford and The University of Southern California have been running antibody testing to determine how many people have been infected. But Varney said rates are much higher than reported. The USC study found that at least 220,000 Los Angeles County residents had the virus, where only 8,000 cases have been reported.

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“In other words, it is prevalent, whether we know it or not,” he said. “If the actual infection rate is very high, deaths remain at a limited number, then the fatality rate comes way down. On a mass scale, it comes down to the level of a nasty case of flu.”

A woman's blood is collected for testing of coronavirus antibodies at a drive-through testing site in Hempstead, N.Y., Tuesday, April 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Varney said, of course, reliability of these studies and tests become a concern and the important questions beg to be asked.

“Who was tested? Was it a representative sample? Were there any biases inherent in the study? Is the test itself reliable?” he asked. “Dr. John Ioannidis, the author of the Stanford study, says, ‘it’s not perfect but it’s the best science can do.’”

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More studies across the nation will continue to surface, Varney said, offering a “much larger sample” and statistically-reliable data. But the more information uncovered may have Americans questioning whether or not the mass shutdown was worth it, he said.

“Six months from now, we may look back on the virus shutdown and say, ‘Was it worth it?’” he said. “Did we shut down the whole economy and go into massive unpayable debt because of an epidemic with a fatality rate similar to the flu? We won’t know the answer until more antibody tests are taken. Get those studies done!"

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