New testing suggests 1 in 5 New Yorkers already had Covid-19

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However, even in the city, where 21.2 percent tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies (1.77 million people) during this trial, a casualty count of 15,000 deaths points to a fatality rate of 0.8 percent.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement at his Thursday press briefing after the state collected its initial 3,000 antibody samples.

The samples were taken at box stores and supermarkets, including the Wegmans store in Johnson City. "An outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere", Cuomo said, pointing to research that shows flights from Europe may have infected more than 10,000 New Yorkers with the coronavirus in February alone.

Cuomo responded to new research that suggests the virus was likely in NY long before the state confirmed its first case in March and admitted that officials could have acted faster. The rate for Westchester and Rockland was 11.7 percent and the rate for Long Island was 16.7 percent.

Tracking the state's infection rate through testing and tracing infected people's contacts has been one of the governor's key goals as the state plans its reopening strategy, which the governor now wants to do on a regional basis.

Cuomo said the farmer's "beautiful" generosity was an example for the entire country.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

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Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence welcomed the lawsuit. China is already facing similar lawsuits filed in USA courts on behalf of U.S. business owners.

"It means these are people who were infected and who developed the antibodies", Mr Cuomo explained on Thursday. He saved his greatest ire for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has referred to federal assistance to states struggling financially under the coronavirus as "blue state bailouts" and suggested they ought to declare bankruptcy.

Those numbers are way above the 263,460 declared cases across NY state, the epicentre of America's outbreak, where the virus has killed more than 15,500 people.

"These are people who were out and about shopping", Cuomo said. He sends one mask to NY for a doctor or nurse, keeps four masks.

Cuomo said the state will continue testing to understand if these preliminary results remain true for a larger subset of the population.

"They were not people who were in their home, they were not people isolated, they were 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", he said.

However, there are questions about the accuracy of some antibody tests, and experts say there's still a lot we don't know about immunity to COVID-19.

"That number is not coming down as fast as we would like to see that number come down", stated the governor.

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