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As restrictions ease, public reminded 'this is not a virus to be trifled with'

As the number of hospitalizations from COVID-19 continues to decline, more of public life will reopen. While it's a positive development, Dr. Nancy Nielsen, Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy at UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, offers the stern reminder that "this is not a virus to be trifled with." Nielsen answers questions related to COVID-19 every Thursday morning on WBFO.

During this morning's conversation, Nielsen, a former President of the American Medical Association, compared flu season with the outbreak of the coronavirus.

"This is a completely different situation. In normal influenza season, first of all we have a vaccine," said Nielsen while acknowledging such vaccines are "not perfect," but they do "lessen the impact."

Influenza does claim lives each season, but Nielsen ends the comparison there.

"This is a very different virus and it affects many other organs other than the respiratory system. It causes strokes in young people. You've seen amputation of the leg of a Broadway star who got a clot," Nielsen said.

"It has major neurologic effects and certainly affects the heart and the kidneys. That's really different than influenza so this is not a virus to be trifled with."


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