New York, Apr 23 (efe-epa).- Some 13.9 percent of New York state residents – or 2.7 million people – have been infected with the coronavirus, according to preliminary data from a study announced Thursday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that emphasized the Hispanic and black communities have been the most heavily affected.
Cuomo said that taking this study into account along with the state’s death toll from Covid-19 so far, which stands at some 15,500, the mortality index from the virus has been around 0.5 percent.
The governor acknowledged that the statistics do not include people who died in their homes most probably from Covid-19, although the cause of death has not yet been confirmed.
According to The Johns Hopkins University, taking into account these home deaths, the overall fatality toll in New York state currently stands at 19,453.
The figures, which were prepared from antibody tests performed at random over two days in grocery stores and other businesses in 40 New York towns and 19 counties, 15.9 percent of the men tested had coronavirus antibodies in their bloodstreams and thus had been infected with the virus at some point in the past, compared with 12 percent of the women.
By regions, New York City had the highest number of infected residents, 21.2 percent of the people tested. Besides New York City, testing on Long Island found that 16.7 percent of the residents have been infected, and in the counties of Westchester and Rockland, north of New York City, 11.7 percent of the public tested positive. These regions suffered one of the first big outbreaks of the disease in the state.
In the rest of New York state, however, just 3.6 percent of the population has been infected, according to the study.
Cuomo’s announcement came shortly after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at his daily press conference that “The coronavirus is alive and well and living in New York City,” adding that 2,519 new virus cases and 320 deaths had been tallied in the last 24 hours in the city, although there has been a slight decline in the number of hospitalizations.
De Blasio said that it is possible that “half” of all New York City residents may have been infected with the coronavirus at some point, while the city’s top health official, Oxiris Barbot, said that it would not surprise him if at this point in the pandemic more than a million New Yorkers might have been exposed to the virus.
By communities, the study confirms that Latin Americans have been the most heavily affected (22.5 percent), followed by African Americans (22.1 percent) and Asians (11.7 percent). Whites, at 9.1 percent so far, constitute the population segment that has suffered least from the disease, at least in New York.
At his daily coronavirus press conference, Cuomo said that several factors are at work in the fact that Hispanics and blacks are suffering in greater percentages from Covid-19, including health disparities, comorbidities, underlying illnesses, diabetes and the like. He also said that the higher percentage of Hispanics and blacks among essential workers contributes to the higher percentages of the disease among those groups.
The governor said that authorities will continue testing those communities, including working with churches to transform them into testing centers.
Along those lines, Cuomo emphasized that while many other people have the chance to isolate themselves, essential workers have to come in contact with other people to be able to provide the essential services that allow the majority of the public to remain at home.
The New York governor also said that the Covid-19 death toll in the state over the past 24 hours was 438, the lowest figure in the past seven days, and the number of new hospitalizations was 1,359, the lowest in the past month.
He emphasized the progressive reduction in deaths, hospitalizations and the admittance of patients into intensive care units, but he admitted that those numbers are not declining “as quickly as we would like.”