Apr 24, 2020 - Health

New York offers new evidence of higher coronavirus caseloads

A Physician Assistant prepares to test a drive-through patient for COVID-19

Photo: Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

A new study found that 13.9% of 3,000 New Yorkers tested had signs of the coronavirus, suggesting that about 10 times the number of people who have officially tested positive have had the virus, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Studies like these will help us understand the virus and its true spread. So far, what we've been able to learn about it has been limited by inadequate testing, because that's resulted in only the sickest patients being tested.

  • It's unknown how many people have had the virus and been unable to get the test, never sought out a test, or were completely asymptomatic.

Details: In New York City, where the outbreak was more intense, 21.2% tested positive for an antibody showing that they'd had the virus.

The big picture: This is just one test, and we'll need more like it to get a clearer picture of the virus. But eventually, they'll tell us how contagious the virus is, how fatal it is, and how many people have already been infected and thus may have immunity.

Go deeper: How coronavirus antibody tests will help

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