Coronavirus Updates: 1.7 million New York City residents estimated to have had COVID-19

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NEW YORK (WABC) — Using plasma samples from urgent care centers and a general patient population, researchers from Mount Sinai found that COVID-19 may have been present in New York City as early as mid-February and that nearly 20% of the population had been infected by the virus by April 19, representing approximately 1.7 million residents.

A team of researchers from the Mount Sinai Health System conducted antibody tests to look for evidence of past infection using over 10,000 plasma samples from two sets of patients seen in their hospital system. The first “sentinel” set of patients were seen in Mount Sinai’s urgent care centers or admitted to the hospital, while the second “screening” set of patients were seen other departments in the health system and were meant to represent the general population.

Based on their antibody testing, the authors found that plasma samples from as early as mid-February showed evidence of COVID-19, suggesting that the virus may have been present in New York City earlier than had previously been determined.

Nearly 60% of “sentinel” group patients’ samples demonstrated evidence of prior infection by mid-April and appeared to plateau thereafter. Additionally, the researchers report that 19.2% of samples from the “screening” group tested positive for infection at the study’s last timepoint, April 19.

By extrapolating this finding to New York City’s larger population, the team predicts that 1.7 million of New York City’s residents had been infected by the virus by April 19, with an estimated case-fatality rate of about 1% – 10 times higher than that of the common flu.

What to know about coronavirus:
How coronavirus changed the New York region
Do you have coronavirus symptoms?
NYC COVID-19 positivity rate tracker

Here are more of today’s headlines:

CDC says infected people can vote
The CDC says people with coronavirus can still vote in person. That includes anyone isolating with the virus or in quarantine because they may have been exposed. The agency says that once they arrive at a polling location, they should let a poll worker know their situation. Poll workers assisting voters with symptoms should be wearing PPE. The CDC also recommends alternative voting options for those who are sick, including a designated polling site or curbside voting.

Cases still over threshold in NYC
Mayor Bill de Blasio said that daily cases were dramatically lower and called it an abhorrent result. He suggested that there were not enough test results returned to get an accurate result. Daily positivity showed up at 0.38%. The 7-day average was 1.59%. However, the number of positive cases was above the threshold of 550 at 605 cases. “We’re not going to back down from a challenge, we’re going to push these numbers back down again,” Mayor de Blasio said.

COVID-19 cases in NY have doubled in one month
Just under 50,000 New Yorkers tested positive for COVID-19 in October, roughly double the number who got the virus in September, according to state statistics. The increase mirrored one that has happened across the U.S. and in other nations this autumn, as people have relaxed their guard against the disease and returned to schools, shops, restaurants and other indoor activities. Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted that the rise in New York has been slower than in some other states. But he cautioned that there are “danger signs all around us.”

Friendly’s files for bankruptcy protection
Friendly’s Restaurants, the 85-year-old East Coast dining chain known for its Fribble milkshakes and ice cream sundaes, is filing for bankruptcy protection. It joins a growing list of well-established restaurant chains that are failing due to an unchecked pandemic in the United States.

2 Staten Island schools close due to COVID-19 cases
Both Susan Wagner High School and PS 48 were forced to shut down after two or more people in each institution tested positive for coronavirus. PS 48 is closed for an “initial 48 hours” and Susan Wagner HS is already set to re-open this upcoming Wednesday.

Red zone merchants plead for leniency as COVID cases rise
After nearly one month in the COVID-19 Red Zone, merchants and shopkeepers in Brooklyn say they’ve had enough. While life goes on in the rest of the city with limited restrictions, Borough Park and Midwood remain in a virtual lockdown because infection rates have not fallen as fast. The overall infection rate in New York is rising. The reasons are not entirely clear. Schools in the Brooklyn Red Zones will be allowed to reopen after all students and staff are tested, and tested again, once each month, thereafter. Strict travel protocols will take effect.

Cuomo responds to Feds request of ID numbers for vaccine distribution
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the federal government wants personal information from state residents as part of its vaccine distribution program.

Connecticut rolling some businesses back to Phase 2 capacities
Connecticut is rolling some business back to Phase 2 capacities, starting Friday. Gov. Ned Lamont is calling them “modified Phase 2 goals.” Restaurants will be rolling back to the Phase 2 50% capacity — they had been operating at 75% capacity since Oct. 8. Restaurants will also have to close at 9:30 p.m. Personal services, like hair salons, can remain at 75% capacity.

Know your NYC COVID Zone
You can find your COVID zone at NYC.gov/covidzone.

MORE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 COVERAGE


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