An initial survey of New York state residents found that nearly 14% of those tested had antibodies against the novel coronavirus, suggesting that around 2.7 million may already have been infected, Governor Andrew Cuomo stated Thursday.
While noting the small sample size of 3,000 people and other limitations of the survey, Cuomo stated the implied fatality rate of 0.5% of those infected was lower than some consultants feared.
The implied fatality rate of 0.5% was calculated by dividing the official statewide death count to date of about 15,500 by the estimated number of cases – 14% of New York’s 19 million residents (2.7 million people).
As of Thursday, New York had 263,460 confirmed infections and a death toll of 15,740, according to the state’s official count, or almost 6% of those who tested positive for COVID-19.
Among other limitations, Cuomo stated the official death tally was undoubtedly an undercount as a result of it only included individuals who had died in hospitals or nursing homes and not those who expired at home without a diagnosis of COVID-19, the respiratory illness brought on by the virus.
The survey targeted individuals who had been out shopping but not working, that means they were probably not essential workers like grocery clerks or bus drivers.
Thosehese surveyed had been more likely to test positive for antibodies than someone staying at home, Cuomo stated.
Even after discounting those factors, Cuomo said the initial data added to his understanding of the coronavirus and would inform his plans to resume activities in the state, with social distancing measures possibly eased quickly in less infected areas.