A preliminary study conducted by the New York State Health Department indicates that up to 13 percent of state residents have coronavirus antibodies.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the results of the survey at a Thursday press briefing. Cuomo pointed out that according to the results, about one in five people in New York City alone (over 1.7 million residents) have coronavirus antibodies, indicating that the individuals had either come down sick with coronavirus and had not realized it, or had asymptomatic cases.
The survey was conducted at pop-up clinics outside supermarkets across the state, with 3,000 participants. This is the first statewide antibody test completed in New York, so it is not clear if the survey results present a full picture of the situation.
However, if the results are borne out by further studies, it would indicate that the prevalence of coronavirus is much more widespread than previously believed. As of Thursday there have been 260,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York State, with 147,000 in New York City.
In all, the survey indicates that the vast majority of the state’s cases are concentrated in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester and Rockland counties just north of the city. Upstate New York has relatively few cases.
“We had coronavirus circulating in the community much earlier than we had documented and much earlier than we had thought,” Dr. Sara Cody, public health officer for Santa Clara County, said at a press conference. “There had to be chains of transmission that go back much earlier.”