Nearly 25% of NYC Tests Positive for Coronavirus Antibodies

Nearly 25% of NYC Tests Positive for Coronavirus Antibodies

In the context of the U.S., the coronavirus is the New York City virus. At one point the city was responsible for nearly half of the nation’s cases, though that has since fallen to just over a third as daily cases have begun declining there.

The city was particularly hit hard as NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio initially effectively encouraged his citizens to ignore the virus, and blew off suggestions from advisers to restrict activity (which is extremely important for a city with 67,000 people per square mile – as opposed to a state like Colorado that has only 55 people per square mile). According to the former head of the CDC, New York’s death toll would be 50-80% lower without de Blasio’s incompetence.

As hard as it is to find good news out of New York (and particularly NYC), antibody testing has been revealing that a large share of the population has already contracted the virus, and were asymptomatic, meaning that the future spread within the city won’t be as fatal as expected.

According to CBS New York:

 Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the number of statewide random antibody tests has expanded to 7,500, which reveals a better picture of the extent of coronavirus spread in New York.

Cuomo said 14.9% of those tested statewide tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, which is up from the initial 13.9% statewide when a previous sample of 3,000 people was done on April 22. Cuomo said the 1% increase is statistically in the margin of error.

Regionally, the results suggest:

  • 24.7% positive in New York City

  • 15.1% positive in Westchester/Rockland

  • 14.4% positive on Long Island

  • 3.2% positive in the rest of the state

Of course, none of this is to downplay the immense damage the virus has inflicted on the state and city so far.

Roughly 0.1% of the entire state of New York has died of the coronavirus, which would equal 330,000 deaths if extrapolated on a national basis (and that’s assuming the virus doesn’t kill any more New Yorkers after I finish writing this sentence, which is an impossible assumption). The 0.1% figure is likely an understatement too, as in NYC (where most of NY’s coronavirus deaths are concentrated) total excess mortalities are 4,000 higher than the number of excess mortalities attributable to coronavirus. If the popular claim that other causes of death were wrongly being counted as coronavirus deaths (to any significant degree) we would expect the opposite to be true.

On the other hand, the rest of the country has nowhere near the population density as NYC, so it’s hard to extrapolate out reliably, and current models project 74k deaths nationwide by early August.

What these antibody statistics do mean however is that there will be far less future pain than initially believed in the city hit worst by the virus. It’s too bad de Blasio let it get this bad in the first place.

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