Administration says New York has soaring coronavirus 'attack rate'

The “attack rate” of the coronavirus in the New York metro area is five times higher than in other areas of the country, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, said Monday evening.

About 1 in 1,000 people have the coronavirus in the region, she added. 

Of those who have been tested for the virus in the New York area, 28 percent were positive, compared to 8 percent in the rest of the country. 

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“To all of my friends and colleagues in New York, this is the group that needs to absolutely social distance and self-isolate at this time,” Birx said during a White House briefing. 

“Clearly the virus had been circulating there for a number of weeks to have this level of penetrance into the general community.”

New York is the new center of the epidemic in the U.S., with more than 20,000 cases as of Monday, making up 5 percent of the infections worldwide.

Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoOcasio-Cortez posts experience getting antibody tested for COVID-19 NY one-day coronavirus death toll falls below 100 for the first time in weeks New York eases restrictions, allowing gatherings of up to 10 people MORE (D) has put drastic measures in place to slow the spread of the virus and prevent overwhelming the state’s hospitals. All nonessential businesses are closed, and on Monday Cuomo ordered all hospitals in the state to increase their capacities by 50 percent. 

“This is going to get much worse before it gets better. We are still in the relative calm before the storm,” Cuomo said. 

“You’ll see more people coming into the health system than we can handle. And that is, to me, the number one priority for government, for society.”