Study suggests 14% of New Yorkers have had COVID-19

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the results of the tests Thursday, in which 3,000 people at grocery stores and other shopping sites in 19 counties were checked for antibodies, CNBC reports.

If the actual infection rate among the entire population is similar to the early sample infection rate they found of 13.9%, it would change the death rate of the state, Cuomo said. What does that mean? NY is reporting 15,500 COVID-19 deaths, and if 2.7 million people were infected, that would mean the death rate would be 0.5%, Cuomo said. "They had the virus, they developed the antibodies and they are now "recovered".

Those numbers are way above the 263,460 declared cases across NY state, the epicentre of America's outbreak, where the virus has killed more than 15,500 people.

One in five residents of New York City may have already been infected with COVID-19, according to preliminary results from the first statewide antibody study. The estimates showed 3.6% testing positive in the rest of the state. There were early variations by race/ethnicity and age as well.

More than 263,000 statewide have tested positive for the virus.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement on Wednesday.

People line up at Gotham Health East New York, a Covid-19 testing centre, in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

People sampled in sections of the state outside of New York City, Westchester and Rockland counties, and Long Island had a 3.6 percent positive rate in the initial series of antibody tests.

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"We closed the front door with the China travel ban, which was right, but we left the back door open", he said, referring to President Trump's travel ban on Europe on March 12.

"They were not people who were in their home, they were not people isolated, they were 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", he said.

The study must be analyzed further to give a clearer picture, and it's possible that it didn't give a representative sample because it likely missed older people staying home as well as essential workers, Cuomo said.

Experts also say having antibodies is not necessarily proof someone is immune from the virus.

More than 16,000 people have died in the state from the outbreak. Hospitalizations declined to 15,021 people.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that's still plausible, though the lack of comprehensive, widespread testing makes it hard to say for sure.

There are also concerns that false positive results on antibody tests could make people believe they're protected from the virus when they're actually still susceptible.

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