Almost 14 per cent of New Yorkers have had COVID-19

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.

He also noted that the results could be skewed as they were not people who were in their home or isolated, who may have a lower rate of infection.

Dr. Anthony Facui, the nation's leading infectious disease expert and member of US President Donald Trump's coronavirus task forces, cautioned earlier this week that health officials have yet to determine whether if someone who has antibodies would be protected against re-infection, or how long protection might last if it does exist.

But Cuomo said knowing how many people have antibodies could potentially help set policy on when to reopen parts of the state.

The governor announced early conclusions of the test of antibodies from a random sampling of healthy volunteers statewide.

Cuomo responded to new research that suggests the virus was likely in NY long before the state confirmed its first case in March and admitted that officials could have acted faster. The program will be developed in partnership with researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the home of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and be coordinated with the states of New Jersey and CT.

"I said to my colleagues in Washington, I would have insisted that state and local funding was in this current bill", added Cuomo.

Cuomo was more blunt in his assessment, warning: "People will die if we get cocky about reopening".

Georgia to reopen dining rooms next week
The governor's order allowed retail businesses to return work Monday afternoon under social distancing guidelines. Universities and schools will stay closed through the remainder of the academic year.

The governor said that moving forward "that has to be the operating mentality". We don't even 100 per cent know when the first cases emerged in this city, because we didn't have testing in February.

A person waits to be screened for Covid-19.

Women made up 52 percent of those tested, and 12 percent of females tested were positive.

There are also questions about the accuracy of the blood tests being used.

He said the city needs help from the U.S. federal government to reach that level of testing but is building testing capacity and should reach 20,000 to 30,000 tests a day by next month.

A handful of lesser-hit USA states this week began reopening businesses, but NY has extended its shutdown until mid-May. In total, the country has seen more than 47,000 deaths. The state is likely past its apex, though 15,021 are still in the hospital.

If the results translate to the true incidence of the new coronavirus, it would mean 2.7 million people have been infected in the state of NY.

  • Sonia Alvarado