Cuomo Suggests 66 Million Americans Have Had COVID-19 and Don't Know It
The New York governor revealed some stunning numbers in his daily coronavirus press conference.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's daily press briefings on the coronavirus outbreak have become must-watch television for people looking for calm, dispassionate, and reassuring data during this global pandemic. On Tuesday, in a conversation about the viability of nationwide testing in the context of "opening up" the U.S. economy, Gov. Cuomo and New York State Commissioner of Health, Howard Zucker, MD, suggested that 10 to 20 percent of Americans have "had the coronavirus," which translates to anywhere from 33 to 66 million U.S. citizens.
If true, that statistic has rather enormous implications on the survival rates of those who have COVID-19, the deadly contagion that's killed more than 23,000 Americans and more than 120,000 people worldwide, as of the time of publication.
Cuomo's comment came after Zucker spoke about the perils of universal testing as a necessary step to end the lockdown that is currently crushing both the New York state and U.S. economies. Identifying those who have had COVID-19 and effectively recovered—what's called the antibody population—is key to ending stay-at-home orders.
"Antibody population, people who have the illness and recovered, that's important to know and we are aggressive on antibody testing," Cuomo offered, before turning to Zucker and asking, "What percent of the population at this point do you think had the coronavirus? What could the number be?" Zucker replied "10 to 20 percent."
"OK, you want to find that 10 percent or 20 percent," Cuomo said. But, he added, "it is not enough to restart and get back to normalcy. That diagnostic test is going to be key." The diagnostic test identifies those currently positive for COVID-19, which informs elected and public health officials as to how best to return to "normal" and end the lockdown.
Now it could be that Cuomo was speaking hypothetically or hyperbolically. But he's earned consistent praise for the precise nature of his language during this public health crisis. (Best Life has reached out to the governor's office for clarification, but has not yet heard back.)
There is thinking that the number of individuals who have had the COVID-19 contagion is positive news, as it greatly lessens the mortality rate of those infected.
And for more facts you need to know about coronavirus, check out 13 Actual Facts That Debunk Common Coronavirus Myths.