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Widespread antibody testing may help expedite return to normalcy, Cuomo says

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo provides a coronavirus update during a press conference in the Red Room at the State Capitol. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

While the numbers of new COVID-19 hospitalizations are still promising on a three trend of improvement, New York has seen the highest number of deaths in a single overnight period.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, however, wants to start sending people back to work and restart life with new testing efforts.

Since the beginning of the crisis, Cuomo has pushed for testing, testing, testing in order to isolate confirmed cases and said the state will look toward making antibody blood testing the new normal with help from the federal government. This will determine who is immune and who can go back to work, Cuomo said.

“[State] Department of Health developed an antibody testing regiment that [DOH] has approved for use in New York State. That has to be brought to scale and DOH is going to be working with the FDA to do just that,” Cuomo said. “You have 19 million people in the state of New York, just think of how many people you would need to be able to test and test quickly.”

With 5,489 deaths total, over 700 of those happened since yesterday, Cuomo said in his Tuesday morning briefing. This is out of 138,836 cases statewide. Hospitalization rates have gone from 1,294 on April 2 to 529 on April 6; Total, over 17,400 people are in hospitals. Daily ICU admissions went from 395 on April 3 to 89 on April 6.

As per a pact with New Jersey and Connecticut, the Cuomo administration’s goal is to deploy not only the antibody testing but 15-minute testing across the region.

As for getting into a hurry about kickstarting life as it was before the pandemic, Cuomo had some perspective from history.

“It’s only been 37 days,” Cuomo said. “The 1918 pandemic that we talk about peaked in New York for six months. It came through in three waves and peaked for six months. Thirty-thousand people died in New York during that pandemic. Why? They didn’t react the way we have.”

Capacity on the USNS Comfort went from 1,000 to 500, however. Cuomo told New Yorkers this is because it was originally for non-COVID-19 care. After a conversation with President Donald Trump in which Cuomo said capacity is only needed for coronavirus, it has been adjusted to only treat the virus.

The drop in bed capacity aboard the ship is due to social distancing measures that now must be observed.

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