SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests point to continued spread in NYC minority communities

May 23, 2020

During his daily briefing on Wednesday, May 20, Governor Andrew Cuomo noted that recent antibody tests conducted in New York City revealed that minority and low-income communities are still struggling with the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Faith-based groups that helped officials with acquiring samples found that 27 percent of approximately 8,000 tested people had been previously exposed to the virus.

“What we’re seeing in New York City is going to be true across the state,” said Cuomo. Officials believe that several variables have impacted the results: close contact is of cultural significance and many people of color refuse to go doctors and emergency rooms because of fears related to diagnosis and treatment costs and systemic racism.

Officials believe that it is possible to bring down infection numbers in minority and low-income communities. They’re working to implement a variety of strategies: they plan to increase social distancing and virus awareness campaigns and antibody testing through faith-based organizations that are trusted by community members. They’re also going to distribute hand sanitizer and personal protective equipment in ways similar to what has already been occurring in Monroe County with free mask distribution. Lastly, they’re encouraging leaders at religious institutions and other major event venues to offer drive-up and parking lot services for events like birthday, graduation, and wedding ceremonies.