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Why antibody tests have become key

What blood tests can tell us

Different from the nasal swab tests that confirm whether someone is currently infected with the coronavirus, the blood tests are designed to determine whether individuals had previously been infected and conquered the disease.

People who have weathered the virus may be immune from new infection and can become a vanguard for resuming social and economic activity.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo plans to test the blood of 3,000 people across the state to determine the percent of the population that has recovered from the virus.

The test, known as a “serosurvey,” will draw participants from supermarkets around the state, including one in Nassau. The World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health are rolling out serosurveys on the global and national levels as well.

These tests are important for additional reasons.

Experts: Opening economy requires testing thousands

Plans to reopen the economy and resume even a semblance of socializing will require subjecting hundreds of thousands of seemingly healthy people — and perhaps millions — every day to diagnostic testing, according to experts.

Nasal swab testing for the presence of the virus, now chiefly taking place in hospital parking lots and emergency rooms, would have to increase in both numbers and in locations — to primary care doctor’s offices, diagnostic testing centers and even workplaces.

Right now, the overwhelming majority of tests are administered to people who are experiencing severe symptoms and are used largely to confirm whether sufferers have contracted the virus, rather than to reduce contagion.

Expanded testing would identify — and help isolate — people who are infected but who show either no symptoms or minimal ones.

Cuomo said he's headed to Washington to take the message of needed cooperation between the state and federal government directly to President Donald Trump to increase capacity for testing.

The above chart shows the number of tests conducted in Nassau and Suffolk in recent days. See more charts and maps tracking hospitalizations, testing, deaths, cases by community and other statistics for Long Island. 

The numbers as of 3 p.m.: 31,079 confirmed cases in Nassau, 28,154 in Suffolk, 139,325 in New York City and 251,690 statewide.

Former Newsday reporter dies of COVID-19

Robert Fresco, a reporter who worked on many of Newsday’s investigations, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning story about Baby Jane Doe, died on his 78th birthday of complications of COVID-19, his daughter Sarah Fresco said.

A longtime resident of Huntington, he had been in declining health since a 2008 diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. He died Sunday at Hospice Inn in Melville after a brief hospitalization.

Fresco was remembered as a committed journalist whose talent for gathering and analyzing data helped inform projects ranging from disparities in property tax assessments to traffic fatalities on Long Island, and stories on race, education and the environment.

Read more stories of Long Islanders who died of COVID-19 here. And if you've lost a loved one to the virus, help us memorialize them.

A lifeline for LI's Latinos

The Oprah Winfrey of Suffolk's sprawling Latino community is on a roll. 

By phone from her home in Port Jefferson Station, Ana Maria Caraballo, the veteran host and program director for Ronkonkoma-based WBON/98.5 "La Fiesta," recalls a recent dash to a nearby store in pursuit of the holy grail of panic shopping — toilet paper — only to discover later that she'd returned home with a month's supply of paper towels instead. 

She laughs because who hasn't done that, and besides, it's just more material for her daily Spanish-language morning radio show and Facebook Live programs.

Caraballo has been fielding a hundred or so calls a day from listeners since the pandemic began. They are desperate pleas for information: Where can I get free testing? Where can I find a food pantry? Or a variation of "Qué le pasa a mi familia si me inferno?" (What happens to my family if I get sick?) 

She says, "I'm just a little drained but if I don't do it, who will?" 

Community leaders say Caraballo has emerged as the single most important source of information about the virus to Latinos on Long Island.

More to know

Nassau University Medical Center could run out of money in 11 months, said the chairman of the public benefit corporation that runs the East Meadow hospital.

Some fire departments are asking older volunteers or those with underlying health conditions to stay home, but the precautions to protect the vulnerable members could lessen some retirement benefits for those going on fewer calls.

Sen. Chuck Schumer said Tuesday agreement has been reached on major elements of a nearly $500 billion coronavirus aid package for small businesses, including additional help for hospitals and virus testing.

A member of the Bloods street gang who had been released from jail because she was at risk of catching the virus was sent back for violating the conditions of home release, court papers say.

Trials with juries could be different when court operations fully resume and concerns about infections linger, experts say.

Oyster Bay town employees would receive additional compensation for working during the initial weeks of the outbreak under a resolution to be considered today by the town board.

The sports simulation game company Strat-O-Matic, based in Glen Head, expects by far the highest annual sales revenue of any in its 59-year history, but its president says “we absolutely would rather it not be under these circumstances.”

News for you

Bar trivia nights are back. While you still can't hang out at your favorite bar, several local businesses are now offering new virtual trivia and bingo nights featuring everything from bar food packages to celebrity guests, drag queen performers and bingo cards that carry a tune.

Help with home repairs. With nonemergency construction declared a nonessential service, you might be wondering how to deal with leaky faucets, broken toilets or other problems of maintaining a house. You could Ask Ken, an app developed by a Long Islander that lets you video chat with home repair experts.

LI in the spotlight. "Bad Education," the much-anticipated film starring Hugh Jackman about the Roslyn school scandal, is coming to HBO this week. Read our critic's review to see if it's worth adding to your stuck-at-home watch list.

Free webinar for businesses. Join us Wednesday morning for Newsday's latest webinar in partnership with the Long Island Association to help local businesses survive the crisis. This session will feature a conversation with the executive vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, who will detail its response actions.

A creative takeout menu. Craving something different for dinner tonight? Almost overnight, the chef at one local Italian restaurant reconfigured his entire menu to shift to takeout. Our food critic says the creative new dishes balance comfort and imagination.

Bedtime stories. If getting your kids to bed has become even more challenging these days, maybe these Long Islanders can help. A group of local teachers and parents are hosting free nightly story times using live video.

Plus: Whether you're looking to help your neighbors or need a helping hand, use our online community board to connect with fellow Long Islanders.

Get real-time updates about the virus' impact on the Island by visiting our live blog, and watch the latest daily wrap-up video.

Commentary

When your season is cut short. Baseball might be missing right now, but some Long Islanders are doing what they can to keep it alive.

In the latest episode of Newsday Opinion's podcast, "Life Under Coronavirus," Rob Weissheier, first baseman and senior at Hofstra, talks about how he’s staying in shape, what his dreams are for the MLB draft and why his neighbor wasn’t angry about a baseball through a window.

The Valley Stream native says, “Just do whatever you can to be ready to go when the season comes back around.” 

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