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Coronavirus Survey Reveals 13.9% In New York Have COVID-19 Antibodies, Cuomo Says

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New York has its first real data of how many people may have been infected by and survived the coronavirus.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released the results of a preliminary antibody study.

"We have undertaken the largest, most comprehensive study of New York state to find out what is the infection rate," Cuomo said Thursday.

The state took 3,000 tests throughout New York to get a so-called snapshot of the infection rate.

The number from New York City was startling: More than a fifth tested positive, having recovered or been asymptomatic.

As far as the breakdown by region:

  • Long Island, 16.7%
  • New York City, 21.2%
  • Westchester/Rockland, 11.7%
  • The rest of state 3.6%

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"This basically quantifies what we've been seeing anecdotally, and what we have known," Cuomo said.

The surveys were collected at grocery stores and box stores, people who were out of the home and not at work.

"These are people who were out and about, shopping, they were not people who were in their home, they are not people who were isolated and not people who were quarantined who you could argue, probably had a lower rate of infection because they wouldn't come out of the house. These are people who were outside. These are people who were not at work, so they're probably not essential workers," Cuomo said.


The survey showed in the state overall 13.9% of those had coronavirus antibodies, indicating they had previously been exposed but have overcome the disease. They are now recovered.

The state Health Department says it's an important part of the reopening process.

"The test we are performing is for a marker of an immune cell in your body. But what we don't know yet is whether or not that indicates that you'll have complete immunity against future infection," said New York state Department of Health Deputy Commissioner Brad Hutton.

Results show antibodies in 12% of women and 15.9% of men, but a disproportionate rate of antibodies in black and Latino New Yorkers. The governor says in part because many are essential workers.

"Also, you have more people in the New York City area. More people getting on subways, getting on buses, more people dealing with that density, and we know that's where it communicates," Cuomo said.

The Governor says he's working with churches in those communities. Many have volunteered for testing sites.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday the coronavirus hospitalization and intubation rates have continued to decline in New York.

There were an additional 438 lives lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuomo said.

Cuomo said if the 13.9% statewide infection rate holds true, that would suggest a total amount of infections of around 2.7 million statewide, with a 0.5% death rate.

"And when we say there are 15,500 deaths. That number is going to go up. Those deaths are only hospitalization, or nursing home deaths. That does not have what are called 'at home' deaths, right? We still have to compile all that data," Cuomo said.

Cuomo said the statewide total of 15,500 deaths "is not an accurate total number of deaths."

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Dr. Waleed Javaid is the director of Infection Prevention at Mount Sinai.

"There are a few striking things in the data they shared with us," he told CBS2's Dick Brennan.

He says the results confirm earlier suspicions.

"I would say for everybody who is getting tested, there might be about five to ten people who are not. That's kind of what the study is showing, but the sample size is small," Javaid said.

There's also new information about the timeline of the outbreak. It appears New York City may have already had 10,000 infected carriers of the coronavirus prior to its first confirmed case on March 1.

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