1 in 5 New Yorkers may have been infected with COVID-19, according to anti-body tests

NEW YORK — New findings on New York state, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., showed that about 14% percent of the 3,000 people screened for COVID-19 anti-bodies tested positive.

In a press briefing on Thursday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reported that these primary test results suggest that about 2.7 million people across the state may have already been infected with the novel coronavirus.

“What does that mean? It means these are people who were infected and who developed the antibodies to fight the infection. 13 percent of the population is about 2.7 million people who have been infected. If you look at what we have now is a death total of 15,500. That would be about a .5 percent death rate.”

In New York City, Cuomo said, data showed that 21.2 percent of the Big Apple’s residents tested positive for the antibodies – which means 1 in every 5 people may have been infected.

Experts addressed concerns of frontliners, whose biggest fear is that they would bring the virus home to their families – after treating COVID-positive patients in the hospitals.

Medical experts said this is a valid concern.

But for non-essential/non-medical workers stepping outside the homes — these experts said not to worry, but wash hands more frequently.

“If I’m wearing a raincoat, something like that, or a light jacket, you know then I can put that away in the closet, and after few days I won’t have to worry about that, I probably don’t have to worry about that at all if I’m careful, then I would go and wash my hands. Probably wash my face too, just as a precaution,” said Stephen Morse, a Columbia University Medical Center Epidemiology Professor.

“The only situation where you should change your clothes or where there’s a lot of virus around, and so I speak to a doctor regularly takes care of patients, and he goes home and changes clothes, he leaves his shoes outside the door, he comes in changes his clothes but that’s only because he’s carrying huge loads,” said Vincent Racaniello, a Columbia University Department Of Microbiology & Immunology Higgins Professor.

Medical experts said this is what people should keep this mind when it comes to the coronavirus.

“The virus is not gonna rise off, that’s the thing, once the virus is settled on object it’s staying there so, if you don’t touch it, if you have shoe laces, you’re gonna come in and wash your hands anyway, that’ll take care of that, the the next morning you put your shoes on, you go wherever you’re going, at some point wash your hands, just make sure you don’t touch your face, I think you need to Lysol your shoes,” said Racaniello.

When it comes to package deliveries and mails, here’s what medical experts said:

“We just open them, take out what’s inside, get rid pf the boxes, just wash your hands and I see very little risk in that, same thing with mail, we were spraying them for a while, I don’t think the risk is high enough to worry.”

“For groceries, I tend to be more careful of about the outer container and don’t wipe down the inner containers.”

At the end of the day, experts said there has been no scientific data to show that packages can be contaminated and become a major way of transmitting the virus.

They also reminded the public to be more careful when touching door handles, elevator buttons, credit cards, keypads or anything that gets a lot of traffic or touches, and to always keep in mind to disinfect, sanitize or better yet wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after touching possibly infected objects.

(Cover photo: A protective mask is seen on the face of the “Fearless Girl” sculpture in the financial district, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in New York City. Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

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