It's hard to believe that the COVID-19 pandemic started almost two years ago, and even though there have been positive signs over the course of the past 20-22 months, Erie County and the State of New York is dealing with a huge surge of the virus, thanks to the Omicron variant.

For Erie County, January 5th was by far the worst day for positive cases during the pandemic.

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Erie County recorded nearly 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 today. The positivity rate was a mind-blowing 26.8 percent, and that is far and away a record, per Nick Veronica of WIVB.

According to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, 10 people died on January 5th from COVID-19. 90 percent of all hospital beds were occupied, as hospitalizations increase.

There have been over 17,000 new cases over the past seven days in Erie County, as the Omicron variant spreads across the region.

There is still a mask requirement for all indoor public spaces in Erie County, along with New York State.

As of now, that mask mandate will go to February 1st, although there is no word on when or if that mandate will be extended further into the winter by Governor Kathy Hochul.

The Erie County Department of Health and Poloncarz are still urging everyone to use caution and wear masks to slow the spread of the virus.

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Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.

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