Affirmation that New York continues to have the lowest COVID-19 transmission rate in the U.S. at 0.77% is encouraging at a time when 22 states in the South and West are hitting the pause button on reopening their economies.
As of Tuesday, Hawaii had the highest rate of transmission at 1.17%, with Montana and Arizona tied for second-highest at 1.14%. Alaska, Vermont and Arkansas reported similar infection rates this week. A random COVID-19 antibody test sample of 12,000 New Yorkers showed 13.4% of the state’s population has been infected or exposed to the coronavirus. The sample, taken from May 1 through June 13, is 1.1% higher than the state’s initial antibody results taken in April, which revealed a population infection rate of 12.3%.
The updated antibody test results show New Yorkers were successful in flattening the curve. More important, the low transmission rate illustrates that the state’s phased-in reopening strategy is working.
“They reopened quickly, they did not have the same [reopening] phases,” Cuomo said Tuesday of states experiencing new spikes in coronavirus cases. “They’re seeing the numbers of cases go up. That is a fact. Now we actually know what happened. Phased reopening is better.”
The state’s 10 designated economic regions had between 0.2% to 1.7% positive virus tests Monday of New York’s 50,000-plus diagnostic tests conducted each day. The state saw 25 virus-related deaths Monday, including 16 in hospitals and nine in nursing homes. The state’s daily death toll has continued a flattening decline for several weeks.
“We’re at a number that is so low it may even be statistically questionable,” Cuomo said.
If that is true, and we hope it is, New York state is in a very good place right now. Let’s step back and assess. We can now accept the fact that charging headlong into reopening without phases was the wrong thing to do. We can agree that staying the course — reopening the smart and responsible way — was right.