Cumulative incidence and diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection in New York


Importance: New York State (NYS) is an epicenter of the United States' COVID-19 epidemic. Reliable estimates of cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the population are critical to tracking the extent of transmission and informing policies, but US data are lacking, in part because societal closure complicates study conduct. Objective: To estimate the cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and percent of infections diagnosed in New York State, overall and by region, age, sex, and race and ethnicity. Design: Statewide cross-sectional seroprevalence study, conducted April 19-28, 2020. Setting: Grocery stores (n=99) located in 26 counties throughout NYS, which were essential businesses that remained open during a period of societal closure and attract a heterogenous clientele. Participants: Convenience sample of patrons >=18 years and residing in New York State, recruited consecutively upon entering stores and via an in-store flyer. Exposures: Region (New York City, Westchester/Rockland, Long Island, Rest of New York State), age, sex, race and ethnicity. Main Outcomes: Primary outcome: cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, based on dry-blood spot (DBS) SARS-CoV-2 antibody reactivity; secondary outcome: percent of infections diagnosed. Results: Among 15,101 adults with suitable DBS specimens, 1,887 (12.5%) were reactive using a validated SARS-CoV-2 IgG microsphere immunoassay (sensitivity 87.9%, specificity 99.75%). Following post-stratification weighting on region, sex, age, and race and ethnicity and adjustment for assay characteristics, estimated cumulative incidence through March 29 was 14.0% (95% CI: 13.3-14.7%), corresponding to 2,139,300 (95% CI: 2,035,800-2,242,800) infection-experienced adults. Cumulative incidence was higher among Hispanic/Latino (29.2%, 95% CI: 27.2-31.2%), non-Hispanic black/African American (20.2% 95% CI, 18.1-22.3%), and non-Hispanic Asian (12.4%, 95% CI: 9.4-15.4%) adults than non-Hispanic white adults (8.1%, 95% CI: 7.4-8.7%, p<.0001). Cumulative incidence was highest in New York City (NYC) 22.7% (95% CI: 21.5%-24.0). Dividing diagnoses reported to NYS by estimated infection-experienced adults, an estimated 8.9% (95% CI: 8.4-9.3%) of infections were diagnosed, with those [&ge;]55 years most likely to be diagnosed (11.3%, 95% CI: 10.4-12.2%). Conclusions and Relevance: Over 2 million adults were infected through late March 2020, with substantial variations by subpopulations. As this remains below herd immunity thresholds, monitoring, testing, and contact tracing remain essential public health strategies.