According to New York State's COVID-19 numbers from August 17, 2021, which were released yesterday, August 18, 20 people have died from the deadly virus.  That's an increase of 16 people, since the beginning of the month. According to the COVID-19 data released by NY Governor Andrew Cuomo's office on Monday, August 1, there were 4 deaths from COVID-19, as reported on August 2.

On August 17, in Erie County, 131 people tested positive for COVID-19, out of a total of 4,737 for the entire state. On August 1, 37 people had tested positive for the virus in Erie County.

Here is a summary of the data for NY, released on August 18 by the Governor's Office, for August 17:

Test Results Reported - 72,514
Total Positive - 2,143
Percent Positive - 2.96%
7-Day Average Percent Positive - 2.53%
Patient Hospitalization - 788 (+50)
Patients Newly Admitted - 122
Patients in ICU - 162 (+10)
Patients in ICU with Intubation - 56 (+4)
Total Discharges - 186,983 (+88)
Deaths - 4

Looking at the data for the month of August alone, the number of deaths is increasing quickly and exponentially. Based on the numbers released yesterday, there have been 5 times the deaths from COVID-19 since the start of August.

Governor Cuomo is encouraging New Yorkers to get vaccinated,

"New Yorkers worked tirelessly to prevent the spread of the COVID virus in their communities and we cannot afford to take any steps backward. The vaccine has repeatedly been proven effective against the virus and with the ongoing spread of the Delta variant, it is crucial that you get vaccinated if you haven't already. It's free, it's available and it's effective."

If you haven't gotten vaccinated, call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX or visit vaccines.gov.

In Erie County, more people are getting vaccinated, according to Executive Mark Poloncarz,

Thank you to the 1,292 WNYers who received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from yesterday through 11 am today, and the 1,085 other residents who completed their vaccine regimen! By doing so, you are protecting yourself and your neighbors.

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

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

Friday, August 27, 2021
Freedom Friday event (MLK, Jr. Park near Fillmore and Parade, Buffalo, NY 14211) from 1:30 to 3:30 pm.

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

Saturday, September 4, 2021
Central Terminal (495 Paderewski Dr., Buffalo, NY 14212) from 10 am to 12:30 pm.  This vaccination pop-up is a part of the Second Annual Backpack Giveaway event hosted by Legislator Howard Johnson and Buffalo Councilmember Mitch Nowakowski.

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.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

Updated Mask Policies At Major Retailers and Grocery Stores

7 Things to Know About the Delta Variant of COVID-19