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Buffalo, NY | Local News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WGRZ.com

Cuomo: Private household gatherings driving spread of COVID-19

New data from New York State reveals that household social gatherings make up 73.84 percent of the new cases.

NEW YORK — During a Friday news briefing, Gov. Andrew Cuomo shared new statewide contact tracing data, revealing nearly 74 percent of the new COVID-19 cases are coming from household gatherings.

"We know that the highest risk scenario is when people are indoors, and not wearing masks, and in close proximity, and if you think about what is the place that people do that the greatest amount of time, it's within our own households," said Dr. Thomas Russo, the chief of infectious diseases at the University at Buffalo.

"Health care delivery" was second on the governor's list, at 7.81 percent.

"Higher education student" was third at 2.02 percent. 

Much further down the list came hair and personal care at 0.14 percent and gyms at 0.06 percent. Those industries originally were forced to close in the orange zone.

"The data supports that there's a low level of spread and that we can safely continue with those activities as long as we follow the plans that are in place," Dr. Russo said.

The governor announced those businesses can reopen if they follow new guidelines from the state.

For more information on the governor's announcement, click here

On a Zoom call with Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, 2 on Your Side asked if she thinks the state made a mistake in deciding what would initially be closed in the orange zone.

"Oh absolutely not," she said. "This is based on the Center for Disease Control out of Washington and global experts who tell us what the high-risk activities are, and they were high-risk activities. This is exactly where the virus was spreading early on, in restaurants and in gyms and in places where people were coming in close contact with each other.

"But only because we started instituting mask-wearing and social distancing and limiting capacity were we able to drive the numbers down and also have now the time to analyze the data." 

Hochul said the situation is evolving and because of the state's collection of data, they're micro-targeting rather than doing a mass shutdown.

Still, state and local leaders continue to urge people to do their part to limit the spread.

Hochul said, "We can change this around and I'm counting on Western New Yorkers to do just that."