Many residents of the Hudson Valley argue that COVID-19 isn't killing people. It is.

During the past seven days, there were three more COVID-19 related deaths reported in Dutchess County, bringing the total up to nine since the beginning of May. What makes these deaths even more tragic is that they most likely could have been prevented.

The delta variant has caused a steep rise in infections and hospitalizations throughout the Hudson Valley. Many who still refuse to get vaccinated, or follow guidelines of wearing masks if they did not get the shot, argue that the disease is just a "flu" that isn't killing anyone. Sadly, that couldn't be further from the truth.

Since May there have been enough people in the Hudson Valley killed by COVID to completely fill a bus. Orange County has seen 20 deaths from COVID-19 since May, Ulster has had eight, bringing the total to just under 40. These numbers are expected to rise as hospitalizations and infections climb throughout the Mid-Hudson Region.

If there is a silver lining in any of this, vaccination rates are now also on the rise. While some who have not been vaccinated may never make the decision to do so, many others are realizing how effective and safe the shot is. Dutchess saw 400 more people get their first shot this week. While that's great progress, we can all do more.

If there was a tragic bus accident that killed all 37 passengers, the entire Hudson Valley would be rallying together. There would be funds collected for the families and calls to increase safety measures to make sure it never happened again.

Well, that bus has crashed and real people have died. In fact, since the beginning of COVID, 36 busses have crashed in the Mid-Hudson Region with 1,436 now dead. We know that getting a proven vaccine or simply covering your face in public can help prevent it from happening again, so let's all get together and do our best to keep each other safe.

Hudson Valley COVID Infection Rates Compared to Last Year By County

Statistics show the delta variant of COVID-19 is infecting more Hudson Valley residents, despite people now being vaccinated.