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Western New York's COVID-19 forecast: When will the pandemic end?

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Posted at 5:53 PM, Jan 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-25 18:16:41-05

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WKBW) — November 18th, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared parts of Erie County an orange zone. Western New York had a 5.1% 7-day rolling average positive rate with specific areas nearing 10%.

"Western New York never felt the full pain of COVID's wrath," Governor Cuomo said in his press briefing, saying Western New York's numbers were dramatically higher than anywhere else.

December 25th, Western New York's COVID 7-day rolling average positive rate climbed to 6.2%. Exactly two weeks after Christmas, on January 8th, Western New York's 7-day rolling average positive rate jumped to 8.4%.

"We had a bump related to the religious holidays and New Years. It was a bit of a bad run that began a number of days after Christmas and really continued into the first week of January, maybe the first week and a half. But over the last 10 to 14 days, we've really done a lot better," Dr. Thomas Russo, Chief of Infectious Disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, said.

By January 23rd, Western New York's 7-day average positive rate dropped to 5.9%. That's right on par with the state's most recent 7-day average positive rate at 6%.

"Recently we've been doing better than the state overall," Dr. Russo said.

Dr. Russo said Western New York's positive rate will continue to drop contingent on three factors.

"One of which will be if we're rigorous with public health measures and continue to avoid risky activities such as gatherings indoors without masks. Secondly, as we're able to vaccinate more and more individuals, and then lastly, as weather improves, we're able to shift gatherings from indoors to outdoors," Dr. Russo said.

Dr. Russo believes if all goes well, New York's amount of new cases will be nearing zero by summer.

"All pandemics will end and so will this one," Dr. Russo said.