Coronavirus reside updates: Accuracy of antibody trying out wondered, Russia faces large problem

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. All times below are in Eastern time. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

  • Global cases: More than 2.5 million
  • Global deaths: At least 178,371
  • US cases: More than 825,300
  • US deaths: At least 45,075

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

7:48 am: Most antibody tests will ‘give a very high false positive rate’

Serology tests, which can detect the presence of coronavirus antibodies and identify whether someone has already been exposed to Covid-19, have a “very high false positive rate,” former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNBC. 

Earlier this week, University of Southern California professor Neeraj Sood, who led a large antibody study in Los Angeles county, claimed the tests he used were very accurate. However, Gottlieb was cautious about the antibody tests.

“They shouldn’t be using these tests to make individual decisions for individual patients,” Gottlieb said. “They’re good for population-level studies and they’re good maybe in certain professions where there’s a very high exposure to coronavirus, but for the general population an antibody test probably isn’t that helpful.” —Will Feuer

7:06 am: Sweden resisted a lockdown, and its capital is expected to reach ‘herd immunity’ in weeks

People enjoy themselves at an outdoor restaruant, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in central Stockholm, Sweden, on April 20, 2020.

ANDERS WIKLUND

Its neighbors closed borders, schools, bars and businesses as the coronavirus pandemic swept through Europe, but Sweden went against the grain by keeping public life as unrestricted as possible.

The strategy has been controversial. The country tried to slow the spread of the virus while allowing some exposure to it, aiming to build immunity among the general population while protecting high-risk groups like the elderly. Some health experts likened it to playing Russian roulette with public health.

But now, the country’s chief epidemiologist said the strategy appears to be working and that “herd immunity” could be reached in the capital Stockholm in a matter of weeks.

The major part of Sweden’s 15,322 confirmed cases are in Stockholm and its surrounding areas. The country has recorded 1,765 deaths, however, and that number is far higher than its neighbors that imposed far stricter lockdowns. —Holly Ellyatt

6:55 am: Pandemic will drive carbon emissions down 6%

The coronavirus pandemic is expected to drive carbon dioxide emissions down 6% this year, the head of the World Meteorological Organization said, in what would be the biggest yearly drop since World War II.

“This crisis has had an impact on the emissions of greenhouse gases,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas told a virtual briefing in Geneva. “We estimate that there is going to be a 6% drop in carbon emissions this year because of the lack of emissions from transportation and industrial energy production.” —Reuters

5:52 am: Cases exceed 10,000 in Poland

A mural paying tribute to the sacrifice of doctors, nurses and paramedics fighting with epidemic of the new coronavirus COVID-19, is seen in Warsaw Poland, on April 2, 2020.

Wojtek Radwanski | AFP | Getty Images

The number of confirmed infections has passed 10,000 in Poland. The somber milestone comes as the country prepares for a presidential election on May 10.  Poland was among the first countries in Europe to impose lockdown measures to try to contain the virus.

A deputy health minister said the rise of new infections “had been contained to a degree,” Reuters reported.

 “We are still seeing increases,” ministry spokesman Wojciech Andrusiewicz told reporters. “What we can achieve is to level them off. If it wasn’t for the restrictions, we could be seeing 30,000 to 40,000 people infected.” —Holly Ellyatt

5:15 am: Spain’s daily death rate remains stable

A nurse and a firefighter talking are seen in the Villalba General Hospital on April 05, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.

David Benito

Spain’s death toll from has risen to 21,717 from 21,282 the previous day, a rise of 435 deaths, the country’s health ministry said.

Spain reported 430 deaths on Tuesday, higher than the 399 deaths reported Monday. The total number of cases has reached 208,389, up 4,211 from the day before. —Holly Ellyatt

4:50 am: India halts antibody tests as reliability questioned

India has ordered a pause in testing for antibodies because of concerns over the accuracy of the results, health officials said Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Earlier in April, India’s health authorities approved blood tests for coronavirus antibodies as a faster way to bolster the screening effort, and they ordered more than a half-billion testing kits from China.

But the chief of epidemiology at the Indian Council of Medical Research said he has asked health authorities to temporarily stop the tests for antibodies because of conflicting results. India has almost 20,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19. —Holly Ellyatt

4:31 am: Virus is a ‘huge challenge’ for Russia and the world, Putin’s spokesman says

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin during a video conference meeting on the COVID-19 coronavirus situation in Russia, at Novo-Ogaryovo residence.

Alexei Druzhinin

Russia and its leader President Vladimir Putin are facing an unprecedented challenge as the coronavirus outbreak accelerates in the country, the Kremlin’s spokesman told CNBC.

“It’s a huge challenge and a huge danger for every nation in the world. It’s not only about Putin or about Russia, every country is facing this challenge and it’s quite unprecedented, we have never faced it before,” Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, told CNBC Tuesday.

He noted that it was the first major international pandemic situation that anyone — including Putin — had faced.

Russia confirmed 5,236 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the country’s official tally to 57,999. Nonetheless, the official death toll remains strikingly low — 513 people. —Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: India halts antibody tests; Poland’s total cases exceed 10,000

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