ALBANY, N.Y. (WCB S880) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the latest New York State random testing has established that one in four New York City residents have COVID-19 antibodies.
Asked whether it's safe to extrapolate that 2 million New York City residents have been exposed to the virus and recovered the governor said, "Yes, by this survey 25 percent of the New York City population had the virus and now has the antibodies."
The governor noted experts have differing opinions on whether that population is now protected by the antibodies from reinfection.
Preliminary results from the statewide antibody survey, which tested 7,500 people, suggest that 14.9% of the state is positive for the COVID-19 antibody.
Cuomo said the state will start checking frontline workers for antibodies as well.
"We're going to be doing a survey of New York City Fire Department and New York City Police Department this week, — 1,000 and 1,000 respectively," Cuomo said.
The state will also be testing 1,000 transit workers and 3,000 health care personnel.
The governor said some of the emergency hospital facilities built by the Army Corps of Engineers will be left in place just in case.
Meanwhile, the governor said the reopening of New York's economy could begin for some parts of the upstate region on May 15th, "if we're smart about it."
"We have to use this moment to reimagine and be smart and grow, this is one of those moments if you look back in history, sometimes it takes a crisis to wake people up," Cuomo said. "Reimagine New York means don't replace what was, build it back better."
Cuomo said life will be different after the pandemic is over, but adds, "Different in this case can mean better if we're smart about it."
He noted Sunday the state in could reopen in phases, with two weeks—about the maximum incubation period of the virus—between the implementation of each phase to monitor the effects. Phase I will include construction and manufacturing with a low risk of spreading the virus. Phase II will include a “matrix” of more essential, lower-risk businesses.
Cuomo did not outline plans for reopening downstate, saying that will be a longer process with coordination from New Jersey and Connecticut.
The governor also announced the state is committing $25 million for emergency funding for food banks. Demand on food banks and pantries is up 100% in New York City, 40% on Long Island, and 200% in Westchester.
Cuomo on Monday reported that 337 people died from the coronavirus in New York in the past 24 hours, bringing the statewide death toll over 17,000. It was the state's lowest single-day toll since March 30.
Hospitalizations remain flat.