See which NYC neighborhoods have the highest rates of COVID antibodies

August 19, 2020

Courtesy of NYC Health Department

The city on Tuesday released the results for roughly 1.5 million coronavirus antibody tests conducted since mid-April. The new data confirms earlier reports that the virus has hit people of color and low-income communities harder than more well-off neighborhoods in New York City. At 33 percent, the Bronx saw the highest rate of people who tested positive for COVID-19; in Manhattan, 19 percent of antibody tests were positive. A new map and table released by the city’s health department break down antibody testing rates by ZIP code, age, borough, sex, and neighborhood poverty.

The new data showed Queens had the second-highest percent positive of antibodies at 28.2 percent, followed by Brooklyn at 27.9 percent, Staten Island at 20.1 percent, and Manhattan at 19 percent. Overall, more than 27 percent of those tested citywide had coronavirus antibodies.

In the ZIP code 11368, which encompasses the Queens neighborhood of Corona, 51.6 percent of over 25,500 antibody tests conducted came back positive, the highest rate in the city. The neighborhood has lost over 400 people from the virus.

The New York Times reported that this particular area in Queens is not only home to many essential workers, but has a high rate of “household crowding,” which leads to a faster spread of the virus.

Other hard-hit neighborhoods include Borough Park, at 46.8 percent positive, East Elmhurst at 45.7 percent, and 39.3 percent in Highbridge in the Bronx. The neighborhood with the lowest rate of positive antibody tests was a sliver of Long Island City, which saw a positive rate of 12.4 percent, out of just over 1,500 tests conducted.

The lowest rates in Manhattan, which had the lowest overall rate of positive antibodies, were found on the Upper East Side and Upper West, both at 12.6 percent positive. No neighborhoods south of Harlem saw rates higher than 20 percent. In the ZIP code 10036, which includes Midtown West, 19.6 percent of those tested had antibodies.

Some researchers say those with COVID antibodies are likely protected from getting the virus again or as severely, possibly offering some relief to those neighborhoods hardest hit early on in the crisis. But there are still too many unknowns, and the city wants everyone, antibodies or not, to consider themselves at risk for infection.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday announced that a citywide positive infection rate of 0.24 percent, the lowest level recorded since the start of the pandemic. “This would have been unimaginable just a few months ago, and we still have work to do, but we’re beating this pandemic back because of YOU,” the mayor said in a tweet.


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