Experts agree. In order to open the economy for business and get people back to work, it will be necessary to know who had the COVID-19 and is now immune, versus who is still vulnerable to getting sick.
Officials in New York believe the data shows that the coronavirus has already passed its high point for infection, and now is the time to begin considering ways to re-open the state for business. A crucial part of the process of getting back to normal requires the state to conduct antibody tests on citizens. The program will begin with 2,000 antibody tests each day. Or 14,000 per week.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said the testing program is the “most aggressive statewide antibody testing survey in the nation,” yet it is still not nearly enough to properly screen the 9 million people workforce, let alone the 19 million people that live in New York state, which is a key feature of any strategy to reopen the economy.
“Any plan that is going to start to reopen the economy has to be based on data and that means it has to be based on testing,” he said at a news conference in Manhasset, Long Island. “You have all these scientists and all these experts who are basically trying to extrapolate from the data, but we don’t really know how many people were infected — how many people had coronavirus but self-resolved?”
“We don’t really know because we haven’t been able to do testing on that large a scale, but we’re going to start, and we’re going to start here in the state of New York with antibody testing.”
Cuomo added that data from the tests will be “the first true snapshot of what we’re really dealing with” as far as exposure to COVID-19 in New York is concerned.
As of Saturday, April 18, 617,000 New York residents were tested for COVID-19. As of that date, 242,786 people tested positive. Tragically, 14,000 New Yorkers died from the disease.