Special Report

COVID-19: How Cases in the Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY Metro Area Compare to Other Major Metros

The U.S. reported over 665,000 new cases of coronavirus over the seven days ending June 26, bringing the total count to more than 85.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 1,005,000 COVID-19-related deaths — the highest death toll of any country.

New cases continue to rise, albeit at a slowing rate. In the past week, there were an average of 26.4 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — a decrease from the week prior, when there were an average of 32.0 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

While new data shows that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is high in almost every part of the country, cities continue to be the sites of major outbreaks and superspreader events. Experts agree that the virus is more likely to spread in group settings where large numbers of people routinely have close contact with one another, such as colleges, nursing homes, bars, and restaurants. Metropolitan areas with a high degree of connectivity between different neighborhoods and a large population may be particularly at-risk.

In the 50 largest metro areas, the incidence of COVID-19 grew at an average rate of 29.3 new cases a day per 100,000 residents in the past week — 14.3% greater than the case growth in all counties outside of metro areas.

The Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY metro area consists of Erie County and Niagara County. As of June 26, there were 25,638.8 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 Buffalo residents, roughly in line with the national rate. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 26,532.2 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

The incidence of coronavirus cases depends on a variety of factors and can vary even between neighboring counties. Within the Buffalo-Cheektowaga metro area, Erie County has the highest incidence of COVID-19 cases. As of June 26, there were 25,743.6 cases per 100,000 residents in Erie County, the most of any county in Buffalo-Cheektowaga, yet not too far from the county with the lowest incidence. In Niagara County, there were 25,181.7 cases per 100,000 residents — the least of any county in Buffalo-Cheektowaga.

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, city and county governments have ordered the closure of thousands of consumer-facing businesses. These measures have led to widespread job loss and record unemployment. In the Buffalo-Cheektowaga metro area, unemployment peaked at 19.5% in April 2020. As of November 2021, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 5.1%.

To determine how the incidence of COVID-19 in the Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY metro area compares to the rest of the country, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed data from state and local health departments. We ranked metro areas based on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.To estimate the incidence of COVID-19 at the metropolitan level, we aggregated data from the county level using boundary definitions from the U.S. Census Bureau. Population data used to adjust case and death totals came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Unemployment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is seasonally adjusted.

These are all the counties in New York where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).

FIPS MSA Population Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of June 26 Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of June 26 per 100,000 residents Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of June 26 Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of June 26 per 100,000 residents
35620 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 19,294,236 5,775,194 29,932.2 79,000 409.4
39100 Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY 673,839 192,148 28,515.4 1,837 272.6
21300 Elmira, NY 84,895 23,347 27,501.0 238 280.3
13780 Binghamton, NY 241,874 63,002 26,047.4 617 255.1
45060 Syracuse, NY 652,416 169,218 25,937.1 1,416 217.0
46540 Utica-Rome, NY 292,016 75,608 25,891.7 1,012 346.6
15380 Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY 1,130,175 289,763 25,638.8 3,289 291.0
24020 Glens Falls, NY 125,892 29,261 23,242.9 249 197.8
10580 Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY 880,736 198,748 22,566.1 1,512 171.7
40380 Rochester, NY 1,072,877 236,754 22,067.2 2,288 213.3
27060 Ithaca, NY 102,642 22,496 21,917.0 87 84.8
28740 Kingston, NY 178,665 35,706 19,984.9 373 208.8
48060 Watertown-Fort Drum, NY 112,842 22,389 19,841.0 141 125.0

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