BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — This Sunday will be the second Easter we’re celebrating in this coronavirus pandemic — and as more people are getting vaccinated, some are starting to feel more comfortable again.
But as COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the region, health officials are warning “Not so fast.”
We spoke with many people who say they are staying cautious, but others told News 4 they don’t want to chance more time without their loved ones.
This as local doctors are urging people to keep their guards up, especially as some variants show up around Western New York.
David and Cathy Zeigler were both recently fully vaccinated and milled around the Broadway Market Friday.
“This was kind of a brave adventure. for us to come here today, to be honest. Usually, you’re shoulder to shoulder with people here. That isn’t the case right now. It’s kind of safe, it feels safe, so.”
Still, the Zeiglers say they’re keeping their Easter Sunday to six people.
Family plans are well underway for Sunday’s holiday, but are they safe?
Dr. Mark Hicar says safety is relative.
“In the last month, the CDC said now fully vaccinated grandparents can hug their grandchildren, which is good. However, the CDC has not said now fully vaccinated people can just go back to normal. They did not say that,” Dr. Hicar said.
We spoke with one granddaughter who says she took safe steps to visit from Philadelphia.
Jasmine Neely told us she, “Drove by myself. I only stopped once and got out and put my mask on,” and her grandmother is keeping things to just a few.
But David Battista bought a table to seat 15, “I think what you do and living in the now is more important. One thing we’ve learned from the pandemic is tomorrow is not promised. We lost his grandfather Christmas Eve to it, so I think the time you spend now with no regrets cooking and eating us worth it in the long run to me.”
Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein warns some of the new COVID variants are more transmissible.
“We have to really step up our preventative behavior,” said Dr. Burstein. “We’re really excited that there are so many people vaccinated and who have appointments for vaccine, however we’re not anywhere near the level we need to be to be able to consider herd immunity.”
Erica Brecher is an anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of her work here.