More than 127,700 Western New Yorkers have contracted Covid-19 since March 2020 and nearly 2,500 have died of it.
The five-county region – Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties – had reported declining case counts, hospitalizations and deaths since its second-wave peak in January, as vaccinations ramp up across the region and more people acquire immunity. Cases and hospitalizations rose in early spring and peaked in mid-April before sharply declining again in recent weeks.
As of June 8, more than 704,600 Western New Yorkers had one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and more than 607,500 were fully vaccinated.
Regional vaccine providers had administered an average of roughly 4,600 Covid-19 shots per day over the past week.
But disparities emerged early in the rollout. Rural areas have complained about what they describe as low vaccine allocations. White Western New Yorkers also make up a greater share of the vaccinated than they do of the overall population. Western New Yorkers of color have received vaccines at a disproportionately low rate, by comparison.
Public health experts and officials, both locally and at the federal level, say the effect of the vaccines can already be seen across a range of pandemic-tracking metrics. Western New York’s average “positive test rate” fell sharply, for instance, after hitting an all-time high of 8.8% on Jan. 5.
The positive rate dropped until mid-March, began a month-long climb and, in recent weeks, has plummeted. New infections have followed a similar pattern.
Hospitalizations also rose, though fewer Western New Yorkers are hospitalized with Covid-19 now than at the peak of the second wave and they also have fallen significantly in recent weeks. Many of the region's most at-risk people, such as nursing home residents, have since been vaccinated.
Case counts have fallen across the state since the beginning of April, but they still represent significant community spread in most areas.
Nearly 2.1 million New Yorkers have contracted Covid-19 and 42,824 have died in the past 15 months. Across the U.S., 33.4 million total cases — and 597,900 deaths — have now been reported.
This page will be updated daily with the latest statistics from the state and county departments of health, as well as new data from The New York Times' national Covid-19 tracking project. You can get the latest updates by bookmarking this page or subscribing to The Buffalo News' daily Covid-19 newsletter.