Nearly 25% of New York City has contracted coronavirus as death toll dips to 337, Gov. Cuomo says

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NEW YORK — Expanded testing suggests that nearly 1 in 4 New York City residents has contracted coronavirus since the pandemic tore into the city last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

Some 24.7% of people tested at random in the five boroughs had coronavirus antibodies, meaning they have had the deadly disease and recovered. That’s up from 21% in a previous round of testing last week.

The figures mean about 2 million New York City residents have had the virus.

Cuomo vowed to roll out more antibody testing to 1,000 NYPD officers, along with a similar number of transit workers and firefighters and 3,000 health care workers.

“We want to know exactly (how) those front line workers are,” he said. “If they have been infected, we want to make sure people are getting help and we want to know exactly what happened.”

The positive rate in the antibody tests are much lower upstate, and the statewide average is just below 15%.

Cuomo announced that 337 New Yorkers died of coronavirus in the past day.

“The number is down from the past few days,” he said. “But that’s no solace for 337 families who are suffering today.”

Hospitalization rates are steady or dropping a bit as the state continues to emerge from the worst days of the pandemic.

Cuomo announced that the state would immediately allocate $25 million to food banks. As the economic devastation spreads, the number of people who are seeking food handouts has doubled in the five boroughs and tripled in suburban Westchester.

The governor pleaded with wealthy philanthropists to lend a helping hand.

“This is the number one thing they can do to help,” Cuomo said.

The governor said he had a productive conversation with President Donald Trump and they discussed whether to keep open the federal emergency hospitals in case there is a second wave of the pandemic.

Cuomo did resume his feud with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who branded aid to hard-hit states as “blue state bailouts.”

He also sniped at Democratic leaders who have repeatedly assured him that New York will get aid in a future federal stimulus package.

“When they say ‘don’t worry,’ I get worried,” Cuomo said.

The governor showed a flash of impatience when a reporter sought to grill him about complaints that a hard-hit Brooklyn nursing home was denied permission to transfer ailing patients to the Navy hospital ship Comfort.

Cuomo suggested that some nursing homes may have resisted handing over patients to state authorities because they didn’t want to lose patient revenue.

“If they get transferred to a hospital, then the nursing home doesn’t get paid for (the patient),” he said.


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