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N.Y.C. says 3 percent of its coronavirus tests reveal infections. Why does the state disagree?

A 3 percent constructive price in coronavirus testing is a vital threshold for New York City. It is the level at which the mayor shut down public colleges final week. The governor says {that a} sustained 3 percent stage in the metropolis will lead to banning indoor eating, closing gyms and hair salons, and putting a 25-person cap on attendance at homes of worship whilst the holidays method.

But as vital as that 3 percent price is, it seems the city and the state can’t agree on whether it has been reached.

That battle has performed out over the previous week, with Mayor Bill de Blasio saying 3 percent has been breached, whereas Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo mentioned the constructive take a look at price was effectively under that. Each depends on his personal statistics, that are compiled and reported in numerous methods. And, it seems, the state and metropolis can also’t agree on which tests to incorporate in the calculation.

The discrepancy might be hanging: On Saturday, as an example, the metropolis mentioned its seven-day common was 3.11 percent. Mr. Cuomo’s workplace, nevertheless, put the metropolis’s price at greater than half some extent decrease, at 2.54 percent.

It is the newest discordant message between two rivals that has performed out over the whole pandemic, adding a level of dysfunction and confusion to the response.

The trigger of the discrepancy lies in each the tests which are included and the time-frame by which statistics are reported. The state treats a brand new case as arising on the day the take a look at consequence is available in. The metropolis dates every new case to when the pattern was offered.

So if an contaminated particular person is examined on Monday and the result’s reported to the well being authorities on Wednesday, the state would come with the constructive take a look at in Wednesday’s tally of new circumstances, whereas the metropolis would add it to Monday’s column.

Because the 3 percent threshold relies on a seven-day rolling common, it issues which day a brand new case is registered.

Another issue: antigen tests, whereas usually sooner, are less likely to detect an infection in people with a low viral load. New York State contains antigen take a look at leads to its official metrics. The metropolis does not. It depends solely on the extra delicate take a look at generally known as a polymerase chain response. That’s why the state — which is counting each antigen and P.C.R. tests — might have a better tally for total circumstances in New York City however a decrease proportion of positives.

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