Dr. Manoj Mammen is a pulmonary critical care physician at Buffalo General, he’s seen first hand the local surge in covid-19 cases.

“Nearly all the cases, actually every case of covid-19 that ends up in the ICU is in a person who didn’t get any vaccine, or only got one shot of a two dose vaccine,” said Mammen.

Mammen says, it’s preventable by getting more shots in arms and making sure everyone is still wearing face masks — even it you’re fully vaccinated.

The CDC recommends that people who are fully vaccinated wear face masks in certain situations like in public, and when around non-vaccinated people who are at increased risk of severe illness.

“While the vaccine protects us against severe disease, having the clinical symptoms of the infection, there’s a 5 percent chance that you may have an infection, that you might not have symptoms for,” said Mammen. “One of the reasons why we want people to wear masks, is we don’t want to spread the infection around when you don’t have symptoms, even if you’re fully vaccinated.”

Coronavirus variants are another reason why vaccinated people should still wear face masks. UB infectious disease expert Dr. Timothy Murphy says the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective against the current variants. But, vaccine effectiveness could become a concern as new variants pop up.

“Particularly, with the high level of circulating virus right now, the new variants are going to be forming and so we don’t know what new variants are coming, and it’s possible that new less susceptible to prevention by the vaccines,” said Murphy. “So, that’s another reason why it’s important to wear masks until we get the level of virus to a low level in the community.”