We definitely need to pay attention and be concerned as deaths attributed to COVID-19 have tripled in New York State over the past two weeks. According to the most recent COVID-19 data released by NY Governor Andrew Cuomo's office on Thursday, August 12, 2021, deaths caused by the virus have increased from five to 16 (as of August 11) over the course of 9 days. On Saturday, August 7, there were 11 deaths reported, double how many there were in the previous week.

Eleven days ago August 2, there were five COVID-19-related deaths in New York, according to data from the Governor's Office.

The total number of positive tests reported yesterday was 4,701 out of 153,925 tests conducted, a 3.05% positivity rate. On August 7, the number of positive tests was 3,467 out of 113,265 tests conducted, a 3.06%. To put it in perspective, just over a month ago on July 9, the state reported that there were 3 COVID-19 deaths (for the day before - July 8) and 817 tests were positive out of 86,906 tests conducted, a positivity rate of 0.94%. Positive tests are coming back at a rate of almost six times what they were a month ago.

Governor Cuomo warned that New Yorkers need to protect themselves to avoid backsliding,

New York has come so far in its fight against COVID and we need to ensure we are doing everything we can to prevent the state from slipping backward. The answer here is simple - get vaccinated. It's never been easier and I am urging those who have yet to receive their shots to go out and do so as soon as possible. The vaccine is safe, accessible and free - it is the best tool we have to keep ourselves and our communities safe.

COVID-19 Variant More Infectious Than Delta May Hit U.S. Soon

As if things haven't gotten worse already, some scientists are predicting a COVID-19 variant that is more infectious and possibly deadly than the Delta variant, could come to the United States soon.

Experts already are concerned about the severity of the Delta variant. Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, recently told Newsweek that the next variant could be even worse,

The next variant could be Delta on steroids.

Other authorities on contagious diseases agree that the worst may be yet to come. Dr. Larry Brilliant, an epidemiologist who was on a World Health Organization team that fought smallpox told CNBC,

I think we’re closer to the beginning than we are to the end [of the pandemic], and that’s not because the variant that we’re looking at right now is going to last that long. Unless we vaccinate everyone in 200 plus countries, there will still be new variants.

New Yorkers can access the vaccine by calling 1-833-NYS-4-VAX or visiting the http://vaccines.gov/ website.

If you are interested in getting vaccinated, the Erie County Department of Health has several pop-up vaccination events coming up:

Saturday, August 14, 2021
Northtown Community Center (1615 Amherst Manor Dr, Williamsville, NY 14221) from 8 am to 12 pm. At this pop-up event, only the Pfizer vaccine will be administered.

Saturday, August 21, 2021
New Hope Baptist Church (2090 Genesee St, Buffalo, NY 14211) from 12 pm to 7 pm.

Sunday, August 29, 2021
Canalside (44 Prime St, Buffalo, NY 14202) from 11 am to 3 pm.

You can also get a vaccine at home by calling (716)858-2929 or visiting http://erie.gov/vax, which is also where you can register for any of the pop-up events above.

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