NEW YORK (AP) – New evidence emerges that many more New Yorkers have had the coronavirus than the number confirmed by laboratory tests, authorities said Thursday.
A state poll of about 3,000 people found that nearly 14% had antibodies, indicating they had been exposed to the virus, Governor Andrew Cuomo reported in his daily briefing.RELATED
In New York, the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, 21% of the people analyzed had antibodies.
Cuomo noted that the data was preliminary and that the sample of people analyzed was small. Participants were recruited hastily in shopping malls and supermarkets, which means they were healthy enough to leave their homes.
However, the governor said knowing how many people already had antibodies, and who might be immune to the virus, could help establish a policy on when to reopen parts of the state.
“We will have an increasingly large sample, but I want to have images of what happens with that rate. Does it go up, stay stable, go down? And it can really give us data to make decisions, ”said Cuomo.
Hours earlier, the New York City Commissioner of Health said as many as a million people would have been exposed to the coronavirus in New York City.
More than 263,000 people in the city have tested positive for the virus, “but that really, I think, is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Oxiris Barbot.
He stated that the city continues to ask those who believe they have the virus, but who are not seriously ill, to refrain from requesting tests, which is why the actual number of patients is unknown.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are probably a million New Yorkers exposed to COVID-19 right now,” he said.
Another 438 people died from the virus in the state on Wednesday, bringing the official death toll to above 15,700. That number does not include another 5,100 deaths in New York City that are believed to have been caused by the virus, but do not have confirmation from laboratory tests.
At the start of the pandemic, experts estimated that up to half of the city’s population would be infected with the coronavirus. Mayor Bill de Blasio reported that this remains a possibility, but cautioned that it is impossible to know given the lack of a comprehensive and comprehensive system of diagnostic tests.
“We remain in the midst of great uncertainty given the lack of evidence. We don’t even know for sure when the cases of the disease began to multiply in the city, because there was no evidence in February. We know that the disease arose sometime in February, but we don’t know how many people were sick then, ”de Blasio reported.
He added that “in an ideal world,” hundreds of thousands of people would be examined every day in the city. He stated that the city needs help from the federal government in this regard, but that it still plans to be able to carry out between 20,000 and 30,000 exams next month.