Expert: Despite increasing COVID cases, low hospitalization rate shows vaccine working


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County has now reached the CDC’S “substantial risk” of transmission category, in which officials recommend mask wearing in indoor settings.

Although private businesses are not yet required to follow that guidance, on Friday Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced anyone – vaccinated or not – must wear a mask while inside a County-run building, including any DMV office.

“We were hopeful that we would be able to crush COVID by getting so many people vaccinated that we’d have herd immunity,” Poloncarz said. “We don’t have herd immunity in this community.”

But, local infectious disease expert Dr. John Sellick said even with the rising infection rate, it’s still clear the vaccine is doing its job.

” Even though we’re seeing a return in cases, our hospitalizations have only gone up a little bit, and they’re staying fairly stable. Our death rate has stayed low and stable, so I think the level of vaccination in the community is going to help,” he told News 4.

Dr. Sellick said although we have also seen breakthrough cases where those who are fully vaccinated still tested positive for COVID, that shouldn’t sway people from getting the shot.

“These vaccines will keep you out of the hospital, out of the ICU and out of the morgue,” Dr. Sellick said. “That’s the main point of the vaccine.”

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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