New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that preliminary data indicated that the percentage of New Yorkers who had been infected with the coronavirus far exceeded the officially reported numbers. Cuomo said during his daily briefing that 21 percent of roughly 1,300 people in New York City who were tested for coronavirus antibodies this week tested positive. Nearly 3,000 people across New York State were also randomly tested in supermarkets, of which 14 percent of results came back positive, the governor added. As of Thursday, New York state confirmed over 250,000 cases of the virus, which Cuomo said could actually be much higher if the actual prevalence of the disease reflected the rate of positive antibody test results.
The governor stressed that ramping up antibody testing among residents could help the state begin drafting a plan for reopening businesses. New York City’s Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said that the number of confirmed cases in the city “really is, I think, the tip of the iceberg,” adding, “It wouldn’t surprise me if, at this point in time, we have probably close to 1 million New Yorkers who have been exposed to COVID-19.”