Apr 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Cuomo says New York will begin "aggressive" antibody testing this week

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press conference on Thursday that the state will begin the "most aggressive" antibody testing in the country this week in an effort to determine the true number of people who have been infected by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Antibody tests can confirm whether a person may have had the coronavirus but was asymptomatic. They're considered one of the key tools necessary to be able to understand the scale of the outbreak and to potentially reopen the economy.

  • "This will be the first true snapshot of what we're really dealing with," Cuomo said on Sunday.
  • It's not yet clear whether people who have antibodies for the coronavirus are immune from catching it again, but if that were the case, it could allow some workers to return to their jobs.

The state of play: Cuomo said the FDA has approved New York's antibody test, and that the New York Department of Health will look to facilitate around 14,000 tests this week from a random sample of individuals.

  • "It's not like testing where somebody can ask to be tested," he stressed. "It has to be a random sample that is conducted throughout the state. Thousands of people get tested so we know this percentage of the population had the antibodies."

The big picture: Cuomo said that the data suggests New York is on the latter end of its coronavirus peak and is headed toward recovery — so long as residents continue to abide by stay-at-home orders and social distancing.

Go deeper: How coronavirus antibody tests will help

Go deeper