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A recent statewide study conducted in New York, collected 3,000 antibody samples from 40 locations and 19 counties to determine the rate of infection. The results discovered that New York City had an infection rate of 21.2%, making it the highest in the state and showing that 1 out of 5 residents may have already encountered the coronavirus.
The New York Times reports, 13.9% of participants for New York tested positive for having antibodies after samples collected from people in grocery stores and other big box stores. But amid the results, Governor Andrew Cuomo wants people to understand that supermarket customers do not constitute a random sample of the population. He notes a critical factor in understanding the results is that it tested people who were out and about shopping. It did not study people who were in their homes, isolating or quarantining; individuals that arguably could have a lower infection rate because they are not involved with going outside. The testing did provide helpful insight on next step strategies.
The state department of health released the following statement to ABC News: “Grocery stores provided a venue where adults could be found during this pandemic in sufficient numbers to reach an adequate sample that is representative of the adult population. Store locations were selected to maximize the chances that a racially/ethnically diverse population reached. Where possible, we worked with chains such as Wegmans and Price Chopper to simplify the store recruitment process. The objective was to recruit between 100-200 patrons per store. The sampling procedure selected chosen to greatly expedite the survey, which is believed to be the largest conducted to date. Additional research is needed to confirm the seroprevalence estimates.”
If the patterns hold, it suggests that 2.7 million New Yorkers have encountered and survived the virus, which could mean that the death rate was lower than what they thought. As of April 23, over 15,000 NY residents have died, with the 2.7 million factored in; it would reduce the rate to 0.5%. However, the number doesn’t account for those that died at hospitals, nursing homes, or in their own homes. Nor does it account for people that never received testing for #COVID-19.
New York researchers have worked to get their antibody tests federally approved. Although the reliability of early antibody tests was doubted, accurate antibody testing, when done correctly, is a vital means in helping the economy and workforce open back up. The advantage is clear; testing can help officials plan to reopen populations that have lower infection rates and determine which communities aren’t ready to do so.
Additional testing is in works to measure the findings from phase 1 and if the results will hold for a larger subset of the population. The trial seems to be a breakthrough discovery that can be a start to resuming life. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
However, there are still lingering questions on immunity.