ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New York has its first real data of how many people may have been infected by and survived the coronavirus.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released the results of a preliminary antibody study.

“We have undertaken the largest, most comprehensive study of New York state to find out what is the infection rate,” Cuomo said Thursday.

The state took 3,000 tests throughout New York to get a so-called snapshot of the infection rate.

The number from New York City was startling: More than a fifth tested positive, having recovered or been asymptomatic.

As far as the breakdown by region:

  • Long Island, 16.7%
  • New York City, 21.2%
  • Westchester/Rockland, 11.7%
  • The rest of state 3.6%

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“This basically quantifies what we’ve been seeing anecdotally, and what we have known,” Cuomo said.

The surveys were collected at grocery stores and box stores, people who were out of the home and not at work.

“These are people who were out and about, shopping, they were not people who were in their home, they are not people who were isolated and 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. These are people who were outside. These are people who were not at work, so they’re probably not essential workers,” Cuomo said.


The survey showed in the state overall 13.9% of those had coronavirus antibodies, indicating they had previously been exposed but have overcome the disease. They are now recovered.

The state Health Department says it’s an important part of the reopening process.

“The test we are performing is for a marker of an immune cell in your body. But what we don’t know yet is whether or not that indicates that you’ll have complete immunity against future infection,” said New York state Department of Health Deputy Commissioner Brad Hutton.

Results show antibodies in 12% of women and 15.9% of men, but a disproportionate rate of antibodies in black and Latino New Yorkers. The governor says in part because many are essential workers.

“Also, you have more people in the New York City area. More people getting on subways, getting on buses, more people dealing with that density, and we know that’s where it communicates,” Cuomo said.

The Governor says he’s working with churches in those communities. Many have volunteered for testing sites.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday the coronavirus hospitalization and intubation rates have continued to decline in New York.

There were an additional 438 lives lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuomo said.

Cuomo said if the 13.9% statewide infection rate holds true, that would suggest a total amount of infections of around 2.7 million statewide, with a 0.5% death rate.

“And when we say there are 15,500 deaths. That number is going to go up. Those deaths are only hospitalization, or nursing home deaths. That does not have what are called ‘at home’ deaths, right? We still have to compile all that data,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo said the statewide total of 15,500 deaths “is not an accurate total number of deaths.”

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Dr. Waleed Javaid is the director of Infection Prevention at Mount Sinai.

“There are a few striking things in the data they shared with us,” he told CBS2’s Dick Brennan.

He says the results confirm earlier suspicions.

“I would say for everybody who is getting tested, there might be about five to ten people who are not. That’s kind of what the study is showing, but the sample size is small,” Javaid said.

There’s also new information about the timeline of the outbreak. It appears New York City may have already had 10,000 infected carriers of the coronavirus prior to its first confirmed case on March 1.

Comments (20)
  1. Nick says:

    Testing people recruited outside supermarkets and big box stores is NOT RANDOM. It’s sampling people who are out and about and therefore at higher risk of exposure and resultant disease. The more often you go to these stores, the greater the chance that you will be sampled (tested) and also the greater the chance that you were exposed and got the disease. Whoever designed this study flunked Statistics 101.

  2. Kevin Marriott says:

    The death rate would be 0.5% not 5%
    Do these guys not know how to do basic math?

  3. seth rich says:

    Cuomo couldn’t pass a 5th grade math test. Look at the disparity in numbers. What is the stardard deviation of the final figure, 13.9%+/- 5, 10, 20%????? The number is meaningless. This stupid idea of NYC is 21.2% and the rest of the state is 3.6% lets add the numbers together and divide by 2 and Bob’s your uncle! Sorry, NYC makes up what % of the state’s population? It has to be weighted accordingly. Why do you think far left loons keep getting elected..because there are too many people in NYC ruining it for the rest of NY.

  4. Chuck says:

    I’m not an expert, but I don’t think the death rates are a fair comparison. The real unknown is will everyone get it given its ability to spread is greater than the flu. If so, it could kill .05% of Americas which is around 1.6 million. That would result in 25 times more deaths than the worse flu season (17/18) which killed 60,000 Americans. I don’t think that will happen but so far, around 50,000 have died from Covid-19 in the US and more are dying every day. I am glad that NY did this type of testing because its a step in the right direction. If we only test sick people we won’t learn much. It would be nice if we had an actually national testing strategy but right now its whack-a-mole. And testing 330,000,000 Americans at a million day would take 11 months. We are nowhere near than happening any time soon. But if we can continue to survey sample populations we will have a better idea of what is really happening and have an informed plan to get every out of the house. I’d love nothing more!

  5. Come on Cuomo 5% of State of NY is around 136,000 dead.
    Jeez can’t anyone do math anymore?

    Deaths/14% of State of New York population(19,453,561=2,723,498.54 infected)

    20,792/2,723,498 =.00763 or 0.763% which is NOT 5% ya maroon

  6. Steve says:

    They missed a decimal in the death rate cited in the article. 15500/2700000 is .005, in plain English, a one-half of one percent death rate, NOT .05, or five percent as stated. It would be nice if these errors were made on the good news side every now and then…

    God bless everyone affected in this terrible situation!

  7. Michael Henson says:

    I am over 50 and my wife has a compromised immune system so we simply stopped going outside of our home many weeks ago……. BUT, we are protecting our family because of underlying issues and that does NOT mean everyone else should have to do the same thing.

  8. John Johnson says:

    Really? No comments? I thought this was amazing news given that if you extrapolate the findings to the entire state of New York, you have 1.17 million that have theoretically had the virus already. Meaning, the death rate is around 1.7% to those infected. This actually falls in line with the article that the LA Times published earlier this week regarding the findings of USC and the LA Dept of Health.

    1. John Johnson says:

      Actually, that’s jusf for NYC. If you take the state at 20 million, you have 2.8 million potentially already infected leaving us with a death rate of only .7%!!!

      1. hail2skins says:

        I think you’re off by a zero or two. There are 262268 active cases on Worldometers as of now. 13.9 percent of 19.45 New Yorkers is 2703550. Add them together and you get 2965818. On Worldometers you now have 20792 deaths. If you do the percentage I get .007. And that’s on the Worldometers death number, not the LOWER death figure reported by New York state on their department of health fatality count which is 5K lower.

  9. craig eliot says:

    The Governor should get the economy going again. All old people over 50 should stay home; they should be in bed anyway. C’mon already, people are losing their livelihoods!

  10. The question is how many in NYC have the antibodies, why test in Palmyra test in hot spots

  11. Ronnii Raygun says:

    There are 19m in New York state with that number and current death while adding in the births and normal death rate that puts you’re chance of dying at less than POINT 1 %.

    Cuomo!! LET MY PEOPLE GO!

  12. Jenny says:

    They “randomly” took samples at grocery stores? What about the antibody testing for frontline workers first? Yeah, sounds like they are “hoarding” the tests in the hopes of being able to manipulate the data for their own purposes. I really think once the anitbody tests are available, we’ll see the number of those with antibodies soar far above 13-14%. This is just becoming more politicized the closer the elections gets. And if the Dems aren’t careful, they’ll hand the election to Trump again.

  13. Jake says:

    If this holds, the mortality rate then is looking to be about .1% – same as flu.

  14. That means nearly 3 MILLION people have been exposed. The fatality rate is .007

    1. Benjamin Mata says:

      but but but what if one of those .007 percent of deaths is your mom or dad–do you want to sentence them to death????

      1. Bob Nye says:

        What you obviously fail to realize is that rate is far lower than the common flu.

      2. artaxes says:

        A very flawed argument. Thousands of people die every year from car accidents. One of those killed could be your mom or dad. So, if you don’t endorse the banning of cars, are you sentencing them to death? What about your kids? Were you sending them to school before the corona outbreak? A certain number of kids die every year on their way to school. Were you sentencing your kids to death then? What about walking outside? While walking outside, you could slip and fall down right upon a baby that is playing, causing the death of the poor child. Are you sentencing babies to death? How about forcing people to stay at home? You know, people are killed in their homes for all kinds of reasons. They fall down ladders, die of fire and electrocution, drown in their baths, die because their houses are collapsing and because of all other weird things that could happen to you in your home. Are you sentencing your mom and dad to death if you force them to stay at home?
        Obviously, numbers matter and there is a big difference between a 20% chance of death and a 0.1% chance.
        Unfortunately, life is inherently dangerous and there is always a nonzero percent chance of death. There will never be life without any risks.
        All a society can do is to decide what kinds of risks are acceptable.

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