BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — According to new data, Erie County was in a much better place this time last year, when it comes to COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
There were 225 new cases reported on Wednesday, compared to just 42 new cases on the same day last year. There are 111 people in an Erie County hospital being treated for COVID-19, compared to just 24 last year at the same time.
There is one significant factor as to why COVID-19 numbers are higher than they were this time last year, despite there being a vaccine. It’s the Delta Variant.
“It is twice as contagious as the other COVID-19 strains. We're back seeing rising numbers again despite warmer weather and despite people not being in school, so this is very, very dangerous,” said the head of the Erie County Department of Health, Dr. Gale Burstein.
Dr. Burstein is still for children heading back to school, as long as guidelines are followed. That includes everyone inside wearing masks. She points to a lack of school guidelines in the South as a reminder why masking works.
With colder months fast approaching, and infection rates rising, she believes we may see more people forced to go to the hospital for treatment.
“Consistent increase of the number of people hospitalized over the summer with COVID-19, where we should have been seeing it decrease. And so, we know that it's only going to get worse because the hospitalization numbers follow the COVID case numbers,” added Burstein.
Burstein says, vaccination, alongside masking and distancing, are the best ways to slow the spread of the Delta Variant of COVID-19.