New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that about 1 in 5 New York City residents may have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the New York Times reports.
State researchers collected blood samples from about 3,000 people who were out and about at grocery or big-box stores, it says, and tested those samples for viral antibodies. The Times adds that state researchers have been developing their own antibody test with approval from federal regulators. According to the antibody survey, 21 percent of people in New York City tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, while 17 percent on Long Island and about 12 percent in Rockland and Westchester counties did. Upstate, about 4 percent tested positive for antibodies, the Times reports.
These results suggest that infections may be more widespread than has been thought and that 2.7 million New Yorkers may have been infected, it adds.
Cuomo (D-NY) noted that the data was preliminary and could be artificially high, as the people who were tested were out shopping, CNBC says. The Times further notes there have been concerns regarding the reliability of antibody tests as well as how long any antibody-conferred immunity may last.
Other antibody surveys conducted in California have also uncovered higher-than-expected levels of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies among individuals in Santa Clara and Los Angeles Counties, though those levels at between 2.5 and 4.1 percent were lower than the New York City-region findings. Critics, however, noted issues with those surveys' methods.