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First death in Erie County as Covid-19 infections in NY are doubling every 3 days

We must "act like it's a war," Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared Tuesday as he announced unnerving news in New York's battle against Covid-19: The rate of new infections was doubling every three days.

And in Erie County, the first person died from the novel coronavirus: a woman in her 80s. County officials said no more information about her case would be released.

In Erie County, the total number of confirmed cases passed 100, while across the state already more than 25,000 people have tested positive. County Executive Mark Poloncarz implored citizens to continue to keep their distance from each other. "Don't be a Covidiot!" he scolded.

The pandemic's economic toll continued to be felt in Western New York. The Peace Bridge, once one of the busiest crossings between the U.S. and Canada, has recorded a more than 90% drop in traffic since the two countries agreed to ban nonessential travel. With no one traveling, hotel after hotel has shut down operations.

Yet some businesses are in dire of need of more workers and are hiring – grocery stores like Tops, Wegmans and Dash's, and of course Amazon.

Pillars of democracy, like elections and the justice system, were being tested, raising complex questions about what is right and what is safe. What is to become of the special election for former Rep. Chris Collins' seat? What should be done with inmates locked behind bars in jails?

And more momentous moments were delayed, perhaps canceled. Both the University at Buffalo and SUNY Buffalo State announced their commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020 were being postponed. The Summer Olympics in Tokyo were, too.

Amid the disappointments and prolonged isolation, Western New Yorkers found small ways to persevere.

A family in Snyder put up a craft paper rainbow in their front window, inspired by social media posts from cooped up families in Italy and Spain. “It’s not all sunshine and rainbows," Amy Mahoney said. "But if we can make someone smile, that’s what we’re here for.”

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