New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that New York City now has a record-low .24% positivity rate for the coronavirus despite high levels of testing.
“Now we all know every day can vary. We all know there is no single perfect measure, but the fact that with expanded testing and more and more outreach all the time, you now see a number as low as 0.24 percent for the New York City infection rate, this is striking,” de Blasio said.
According to The Hill, New York City and New York state’s rates are among the lowest in the nation after New York City and a few other parts of the state had some of the highests rates of cases and deaths when the coronavirus outbreak first began in the U.S. in March.
The five boroughs of New York City have more than half of the state’s total cases of the virus with a total of 235,451 out of the state total of 457,180 so far. The city has also had more than half of the deaths in the state, with 20,447 out of the state’s 32,935.
De Blasio wants to keep NYC locked down
The World Health Organization has recommended a 5% or lower positivity rate for states to reopen safely, The Hill reported.
So deBlasio is ready to throw New York City wide open, right? I mean, that positivity rate is about 20 times lower than 5%.
Actually, de Blasio was not really bullish on a full reopening for the city. Instead, he called residents to “double down” on their efforts to stay shut down.
“This should be a … call for all of us to double down and go further because the more we can do to beat down this virus, the more we can bring back this city,” de Blasio said.
Does New York have herd immunity?
Antibody tests done in the city showed that some hard-hit neighborhoods like Jackson Heights in Queens and Borough Park in Brooklyn, 70% had antibodies that suggested previous infection. Other areas had lower antibody rates, but some scientists have said that the infection rate needed for herd immunity might be much lower than 70% and could be as low as 20%, a rate that nearly all of New York City has reached.
If New York City has reached herd immunity, it is unlikely to see a second spike of coronavirus in the fall. If there is a spike, it is likely to be much smaller than the first wave.
De Blasio has championed extreme lockdown measures for the city, such as not allowing indoor dining until next spring. Broadway is expected to remain closed until spring also.
These extreme measures may cause thousands of businesses to close permanently, and it may all be for nothing if New York is pretty much done with the virus after its huge first wave.