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Summertime COVID respite provides vaccine opportunity

Office of the Governor

Summertime may offer a respite from the rapid spread of COVID-19, according to local experts watching the virus.

Western New York epidemiologists see this summer as an easing of the COVID threat because people spend so much time outside and because it gives them a chance to finally get their shots.

"The good weather and the outdoor activities that we, for the most part, indulge in during the great summer months that we have here will somewhat protect us. We know that the virus doesn't spread as well outdoors as it does indoors and, for the most part, our weather is pleasant for us to engage in outdoor activities," said Dr. John Sellick, a University at Buffalo professor of medicine and the chief on infectious diseases at The Buffalo Veteran's Administration Medical Center.

As we hang around outside, hopefully under a warm sun, we're staying away from the COVID virus which doesn't transmit well outside. So, as virus numbers mostly drop as vaccination figures crawl upward, it's going to be a more relaxing summer than last year in the depths of the pandemic lockdown.

Summer is also good time to get your shots if you haven't yet -- and it's time for parents to get their kids 12 and up vaccinated as they prepare to go to school in the fall.

Dr. Thomas Russo is professor and chair of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UB and he pushes back against sources of information that say otherwise: Those who haven't been vaccinated must stop listening to wrong and inaccurate information and listen to accurate info on why to get the shots.

"Everybody talks the garbage that they read on these various conspiracy web sites, etc., the vaccines that we have available in the United States are highly effective, especially the mRNA vaccines. They do not integrate into your own DNA. They do not cause sterility. They do not cause birth defects," he said.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.