21% of New York City residents likely had coronavirus, antibody testing shows

About 21 percent, or 1 in 5 New York City residents, tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, preliminary test results show, The New York Times reports.

At a media briefing April 23, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo described the preliminary results of antibody tests conducted in the state, which sampled about 3,000 people over two days.

The initial results show that about14 percent of New York State residents tested positive for antibodies indicating novel coronavirus infection. About 21 percent of those in New York City, 16.7 percent in Long Island and 11.7 percent in Westchester and Rockland counties tested positive.

The governor said that these figures suggest the COVID-19 death rate in New York could be about 0.5 percent of those infected, which would make the death rate much lower than previously estimated.

However, a top NYC health official warned not to put too much stock in the usefulness of the test results with regard to decisions on reopening society and especially identifying immunity, the Times reports.

Demetre C. Daskalakis, MD, New York City's top official for disease control, said in an email alert, which contains public health information for medical providers who subscribe, that the tests "may produce false negative or false positive results."

There is also no evidence to support the notion that presence of coronavirus antibodies indicates "durable immunity" from the virus, Dr. Daskalakis wrote.


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