New York, April 24 (IANS) New York, the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in the US, has seen 13.9 per cent positive results in the state’s antibody tests, which means around 2.7 million people could be infected with the COVID-19, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Launched by the state’s health department earlier this week, the testing collected samples of 3,000 supermarket shoppers from 40 locations in 19 counties in the state, Xinhua news agency quoted Cuomo as saying on Thursday.

The preliminary results suggest the real number of total infected in the state’s 19.45 million people could be ten times higher than the official data, which stood at 263,754 on Thursday, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

People who have tested positive in the antibody testing are those who were infected with coronavirus and then recovered.

The testing offers a snapshot of the infection rate statewide and is considered a major step in determining when and how to restart the economy.

New York City has shown a 21.2 per cent positivity rate in the testing, higher than anywhere else in the state.

Long Island had a 16.7 per cent positivity rate, while 11.7 per cent in Westchester county and Rockland county tested positive. The rest of the state registered 3.6 per cent.

The racial breakdown shows the positivity rates of Asians, Blacks, Latinos and Whites in the state are 11.7, 22.1, 22.5 and 9.1 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, 12 per cent of females tested positive and 15.9 per cent of males tested positive.

The results also indicated that the real mortality rate could be around 0.5 per cent in the state, much lower than the 7 per cent calculated from official numbers.

However, it’s not sure how telling the results are.

“These are people who were out and about shopping. They were not people who were in their homes, they were not people who were isolated, they were not people who were quarantined,” said Cuomo.

Oxiris Barbot, New York City’s Commissioner of Health, said on Thursday that the 138,000- plus confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city is just “the tip of the iceberg” as diagnostic testing was very limited at the beginning of the outbreak.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if at this point in time we have probably close to a million New Yorkers who have been exposed to COVID-19,” she said at the mayor’s daily briefing.

New York state egistered over 19,500 COVID-19 fatalities by Thursday, with over 15,000 in New York City, according the the Johns Hopkins’ tally.

–IANS

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