Antibody Test Estimates 1.7 Million NYC Residents Have Had Coronavirus

A COVID-19 blood test is administered in Franklin Square, New York. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

At his daily coronavirus press conference on Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the early results from statewide antibody tests that New York recently conducted. The results, if anywhere close to accurate, point to a massive official undercount of coronavirus cases. According to the tests, roughly 13.9 percent of New Yorkers have the antibodies for COVID-19, with the number going all the way up to 21.2 percent for New York City residents.

The tests were conducted on 3,000 people at 40 locations in 19 counties across the state, Cuomo said. They were performed at grocery stores and big-box stores, meaning those tested were not people who have hunkered down at home — which could skew results one way or another.

If the 13.9 percent statewide infection rate is accurate, Cuomo said, about 2.7 million New Yorkers have been infected. With roughly 15,500 deaths in the state, that would make the death rate approximately 0.5 percent. But Cuomo cautioned that there are caveats; for one thing, the number of confirmed deaths to this point will rise, since it does not yet include those who died at home.

The results of the antibody test square with remarks Thursday from New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “It wouldn’t surprise me if, at this point in time, we have probably close to 1 million New Yorkers who have been exposed to COVID-19,” she said.

In fact, the 21.2 percent who tested positive for antibodies in the five boroughs translates to roughly 1.7 million New York City residents having contracted the virus. Currently, New York City has just over 138,000 confirmed positive cases.

Antibody Test: 1.7 Million NYC Residents Have Had COVID-19