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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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Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.