NY releases figures estimating 14 percent in state, 20 percent in NYC have had COVID-19

Preliminary data shows about 13.9 percent of the population of New York state — about 2.7 million people — have at some point been infected with the coronavirus.

About 3,000 people were randomly tested at grocery stores and other public locations to allow officials to get a broader sense of how widely the virus has spread in New York and how many people might now have immunity.

In New York City, 21 percent of residents had antibodies for coronavirus, compared with 3.6 percent in upstate New York, 16.7 percent in Long Island and 11.7 percent in the Westchester and Rockland area.

“They were infected three weeks ago, four weeks ago, five weeks ago, six weeks ago. But they had the virus, they developed the antibodies and they are now recovered,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Thursday.

The data indicates the COVID-19 death rate in New York is about 0.5 percent. The tests were conducted over a two-day period in 19 counties and 40 localities.

Cuomo stressed that more data will need to be collected and the infection rate could be higher because it didn’t include people who aren’t leaving their homes.

Antibody tests reveal whether a person’s immune system has responded to the virus, differing from diagnostic tests that can only tell if a person is currently infected.

Through diagnostic testing, New York has confirmed more than 269,000 cases. 

Officials have said widespread antibody testing is a key component of reopening the country safely, as experts believe that people who have had COVID-19 are now likely immune to it. But it’s not yet known how long that immunity might last. Questions have also risen about the accuracy of some antibody tests.

COVID-19 deaths appear to be leveling off in the state, though they are still too high, Cuomo said Thursday. He added that 438 more people have died, bringing the state’s death toll to 15,740.

About 1,350 COVID-19 patients are entering New York hospitals every day, down from 2,000 a day last week.

Updated at 2:06 p.m.

Tags Andrew Cuomo antibodies Coronavirus Coronavirus testing COVID-19 New York New York City Pandemic
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