President Joe Biden has announced that the country has officially totaled 1 million deaths from COVID-19.

“I just think it’s tragic,” said Jose Gonzales, Erie resident.

Flags are set to half staff throughout Erie to acknowledge the individuals that have lost their lives to the virus.

Emily Shears, Vice President of Quality for Northern PA and New York at UPMC Hamot, shared what doctors have seen over the last few months for local COVID cases.

“Right now, we’ve had lower case counts in the past few months, thankfully. That’s also come with less mortalities as well,” said Emily Shears, Vice President of Quality for Northern PA and New York at UPMC Hamot.

Shears shared where Erie County currently stands with COVID-19 cases and how it has affected the community in the past.

“We have a slight uptick of hospitalized patients. Thankfully, this so far has been mild illness. We don’t have currently anyone in our critical care units. As the community numbers increase, historically that has resulted in hospitalizations,” Shears said.

Erie residents shared their thoughts on the devastating nationwide news and what they feel could have been done to prevent one million people losing their lives.

“I’m very sorry for all the COVID deaths. I wish we could have prevented it,” said Maryann Haeseker, Erie resident.

“Should’ve done more in the very beginning. They were a little too slow to react to it,” said John Piechocki, Erie resident.

Although vaccination rates are falling, health experts said getting the shot is the best way to combat COVID-19.

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“Vaccinations have not been as frequent as when they first came out. We still encourage anyone that needs a vaccine or booster to seek out,” Shears said.