Intensive care admissions are increasing at a slower rate, due to improved care, although 40 people have already died from the virus in November, bringing the total number of coronavirus deaths in the county to 788 people.
Encouragingly, Erie County’s infection rate has stabilized at around 7% over the past few days, indicating that some restrictions are having an effect. As the message has spread, there are now lines to do coronavirus testing, and masking in public places is generally good, residents said, although there has been some setback. regarding current viral restrictions.
“I believe the vast majority of people in my community take this seriously, whether they live in the city of Buffalo or in a rural community,” Mr. Poloncarz, a Democrat, said in an interview. “But there are people who are not. And unfortunately, these people are endangering the entire community for further closures. “
How western New York got here is unclear. Epidemiologists and local officials say no large-scale epidemic triggered this second wave. Multigenerational households in Buffalo’s poorest neighborhoods, which suffered disproportionately in early spring – when more than 500 people died in the county – weren’t hit the hardest this time around.
On the contrary, Mr Poloncarz said, it appears the November wave started in wealthier, more conservative suburbs, where people did not appear to be taking enough precautions at private gatherings, bars or restaurants. The spike also started in the days following Halloween, leading some epidemiologists to believe the holidays played a role.
But at this point, transmission is so prevalent in the county that irresponsible behavior is not necessary to get sick, said Dr Thomas A. Russo, chief of infectious diseases at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in the University of Buffalo. In what he calls the “innocent bystander effect,” many infections are now spreading among family members in private homes, caused by asymptomatic people.
Coupled with the small but sizable minority who resist masking and other restrictions, the virus is finding enough hosts to fuel ongoing community transmission, he said. Even 20% of people who do not comply are enough, he added.