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Covid-19 Hits Buffalo, N.Y., Harder Than in Spring

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz faulted a minority of residents opposed to mask-wearing and other measures for contributing to high infection rates.

Public-health officials in Buffalo, New York’s second-most populous city, are fighting a surge in coronavirus cases with the normal calls for residents to avoid social gatherings and wear masks in public.

And yes, that includes going to a friend’s house to watch the Bills game, they say.

Hospitalizations for Covid-19 in the city and surrounding Erie County continue to rise, public-health officials said this week. They urged all residents to limit contact with anyone outside their households and to wear masks if they have to leave. If compliance falls short, a broader swath of nonessential businesses and activities might have to close.

Buffalo authorities’ advice mirrors that of state and federal public-health officials. But medical and political leaders have advanced different hypotheses about why Erie County’s numbers are trending above the state averages—hitting the third-highest seven-day average positivity rate in New York as of Thursday.

“Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, a Democrat, at a Wednesday news conference.



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