STAGGERING NUMBERS: Health Official Says ONE MILLION In NYC Possible Exposed To COVID-19

A medical worker directs a patient to enter a COVID-19 testing site at Elmhurst Hospital Center, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo sounded his most dire warning yet about the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday, saying the infection rate in New York is accelerating and the state could be as close as two weeks away from a crisis that sees 40,000 people in intensive care. Such a surge would overwhelm hospitals, which now have just 3,000 intensive care unit beds statewide. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

As many as 1 million people in New York City may have been exposed to the coronavirus, the city’s health commissioner said Thursday.

More than 142,000 people in the city have tested positive for the virus, “but that really is, I think, the tip of the iceberg,” Dr. Oxiris Barbot said.

She noted the city is still telling people who suspect they have the virus but aren’t seriously ill that they don’t need to seek a test, so the true number of sick people is unknown.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if, at this point in time, we have probably close to 1 million New Yorkers who have been exposed to COVID-19,” she said.

Early on in the pandemic, health officials estimated that as many as half of all people in the city would get the virus. Mayor Bill de Blasio said that’s still plausible, though the lack of comprehensive, widespread testing makes it difficult to say for sure.

“We are still dealing with the great unknown in the absence of testing. We don’t even 100 percent know when the first cases emerged in this city, because we didn’t have testing in February. We know it was February, but we don’t know how many people got it back then.”

De Blasio said that “in a perfect world” hundreds of thousands of people a day would be tested for the coronavirus in the city.

He said the city needs help from the federal government to reach that level of testing but is building testing capacity and should reach 20,000 to 30,000 tests a day by next month.



  1. The study on the West Coast suggest the number of people infected in perhaps 50 times the number of people who get ill enough to be tested. It appears that the vast majority of people with Covid 19 do not get sick enough to worry, with no symptoms or symptoms no worse than a bad cold. This means that the death rate, as percentage of those infected, is radically lower. It also suggests the once they can routinely test and discover that a high percentage of the population is already immune (they had the disease but didn’t realize it), they can largely reopen everything, limiting special precautions to the sick and elderly (which perhaps it what should have done all along).