Dr. Oxiris Barbot attends Mayor bill de Blasio briefing on first registered community transfer covid-19 patient in New York at City Hall.
Lev Radin | Pacific Press | Getty Images
Confirmed coronavirus cases in New York City are just “the tip of the iceberg,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said Thursday, adding that “close to a million” residents have probably been exposed to Covid-19.
More than 147,000 people in New York City have so far tested positive for Covid-19, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
“That really I think is the tip of iceberg for a number of different reasons,” Barbot said at a news briefing. “New Yorkers have been heeding to our advice that if they have mild symptoms, at this point in time, when you’ve got community-wide transmission, having a test result isn’t going to change what we’re going to tell you to do.”
New York City is still struggling to ramp up its capacity to test broadly for Covid-19, which means increasing laboratory capacity and acquiring necessary supplies such as test kits, swabs and reagents, which are chemicals needed to process the tests, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Barbot added that the city still has to prioritize who gets tested.
“We want to reserve testing for those individuals who are really sick enough to be in the hospital,” she said. “With that being said, it wouldn’t surprise me if at this point in time, we have probably close to a million New Yorkers who have been exposed to Covid-19.”
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