At his news conference yesterday, Governor Cuomo made public the result of the latest antibody testing story for all of New York State. The numbers don’t look good for the Mohawk Valley region (which includes Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, and Schoharie Counties) and the governor made a brief comment to that effect.

The antibody testing indicates that somebody’s had the disease. reports that the Mohawk Valley had the largest percentage gain of patients who took the test that turned up positive. Previous tests showed 2.7 percent positive; we now have 5.5 percent positive. This is a gain of 2.8 percent or more than twice the rate previously. This puts us in the top four regions in the state in terms of percentage positive.

Only New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley have higher numbers  We also have the second largest increase in percentage with a gain of 2.8 percent for a relative gain from our previous one of over 100 percent. Only the North Country had a higher relative percent increase and it started out at about half our rate.

Richard Sternberg, a retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, has agreed to provide his professional perspective while the coronavirus threat continues. Dr. Sternberg, who is also a village trustee, resides in Cooperstown.

Sternberg says, "To put that in perspective, New York City only had approximately a 20 percent gain from its numbers in the previous survey.  If these trends continue, we are going to be shut down again. The governor said if numbers continue to increase, we would go back to zero."

"I see plenty of people walking around Cooperstown without masks on or even on their bodies when they’re within 6 feet of someone else. I’m hearing stories of people going into eating places without their masks even before they get to their tables. I’ve seen people in stores who weren’t wearing masks and certainly coming in close contact with other people.

This is a message to the proprietors of businesses that have opened and to our local governments: If you don’t control the social distance rules, the increasing numbers will do it for us and we go back to PAUSE. The governor said on several occasions that if bars and restaurants don’t maintain order, they could lose their liquor license. Those things are probably more devastating to business long term than what we’ve already gone through.

Nobody wants to be considered a jerk, but those of us who feel seriously about this need to do something. I am not advocating directly confronting strangers. You never know where that would go. But businesses have to keep these people out. And government has to control this in public. If you see violations that upset you and you can’t get any local response call the state Department of Health hotline and they will get a response for you."

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