Jay Moran

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Buffalo.edu

As COVID-related restrictions are eased in New York State and across the country, health officials are watching the alarming numbers of young people infected by the virus. Dr. Nancy Nielsen, Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy at UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, reviewed the data during her weekly conversation with WBFO. At the start of the pandemic, children made up 3% of the cases; now, that number has risen to 22%.


SUNY.BuffaloState.edu

Combining interests in podcasts and transit systems, Buffalo State student Bennett Cook used his phone to create "Subway Symphony." The effort produced an entry worthy of being named a finalist in NPR's Student Podcast Challenge.


Buffalo.edu

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz calls it the "Shot and Chaser" program. In conjunction with some local breweries, clinics will be set up where patrons who receive COVID vaccinations will earn a free beer. Dr. Nancy Nielsen, Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy at UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, endorses the spirit behind the effort.


The distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine may be on pause, says Dr. Nancy Nielsen, but its benefits are still worth considering "Remember, we've had 7 million people that have already gotten it." The former President of the American Medical Association is applauding the decision to halt distribution, calling the move "government at its best." As health officials review the data, Nielsen offers some thoughts for those who have already received the vaccine.


Buffalo.edu

In the week ending April 1, nearly 64,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported among children. According to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, that accounted for 18 percent of the new cases in the United States.

Buffalo.edu

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, public health officials have been encouraging the wearing of masks to slow the spread of the virus. Now, many people who have been vaccinated are wondering if they can ditch their masks. "Absolutely not," said Dr. Nancy Nielsen, Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy at UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Horowitz Law

Fr. Norbert Orsolits, the priest who may have sparked the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Buffalo Catholic Diocese, has died.

Buffalo.edu

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Nancy Nielsen has been providing updates and analysis on a weekly basis to WBFO. Despite the increased distribution of COVID vaccines in the community, the Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy at UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is growing concerned. "There has been an uptick in the cases locally and the hospitalizations." In monitoring the local trends, Nielsen sees valuable lessons in what is happening in parts of Europe where the UK COVID variant may be accelerating the spread of the virus.


Buffalo.edu

In November, health officials in the United Kingdom identified a new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19, and it quickly became known as the "UK variant."  And it has quickly become a problem for Americans. According to Dr. Nancy Nielsen, Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy at UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the "UK variant" is likely to become the dominant variant in the United States by early April. "A paper published in the British Medical Journal just this past week proves this variant is associated with about a 64-percent higher risk of dying," Nielsen said in her weekly conversation with WBFO. Its spread in this country, Nielsen asserts, underscores the need to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible.

WNYHomeless.org

Saying it's time to open the door for new ideas, Dale Zuchlewski is retiring as Executive Director of the Homeless Alliance of Western New York. Crediting priorities established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Zuchlewski says he has seen improvements over his 11 years at his agency when it comes to the realities for those who are homeless. More needs to be done, Zuchlewski says, for a population of which 25 percent are children.


Buffalo.edu

According to a new survey, most doctors are feeling fatigue after a year of dealing with Covid-19 while nearly as many say the vaccine rollout is negatively affecting their mental health. The poll was conducted by the Canadian Medical Association, but Dr. Nancy Nielsen is finding a similar impact among local health care professionals.

Tucked away in the hills of Cattaraugus County, a the former Nuclear Fuel Services reprocessing facility is generally out-of-sight and out-of-mind for most Western New Yorkers. It's a different story for those who worked there. Opened in 1966, the facility handled over 630 tons of radioactive fuel during its short life. Phil Gambini of Investigative Post has taken a closer look at how workers have been impacted and how they could be helped.


Buffalo.edu

Federal health officials are expected to approve distribution of a new COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson. "This could be a game changer," said Dr. Nancy Nielsen, Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy at UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.


National Comedy Center

In its brief time in existence, the National Comedy Center in Jamestown has quickly earned a reputation for its many exhibits focused on famous comedians. Now, the center is entering a another realm with an exhibit about a comic puppet, or more specifically, a Muppet: Fozzie Bear.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning until 1 p.m. for  Western New York. Heavy snow is expected, with total accumulations of 7"-14" in the metro Buffalo area, Northtowns and Orleans and Genesee counties, 6"-10" across the Southern Tier. Sleet may mix in at times and winds will be gusting as high as 35 mph, producing drifts and poor visibility. The NWS said to expect dangerous travel.

Mutant strains of the coronavirus are challenging public health efforts around the world. Dr. Nancy Nielsen, Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy at UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, says one strain is creating problems in South Africa where the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine has been found to be only '"minimally protective."  Nielsen is confident vaccine makers will be able to develop booster shots to combat new virus strains but the development highlights the need to have people vaccinated.  "This is a race against time. Because the more people we get vaccinated with what we have now and what comes down the pike in a couple of weeks, the quicker we're going to stop this virus from mutating."


Associated Press

Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine, has died at the age of 78.  Through the decades, as Flynt found himself in court cases centering on the First Amendment, Buffalo attorney Paul Cambria was often by his side. In calling his former client "the real deal," Cambria pointed out how Flynt's' legal efforts not only benefited his business, but the public's right to know.


WNED.org

The names Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are well known for their roles in the battle that earned women the right to vote. Others, of course, contributed to that effort and four of those women will be featured prominently tonight at 9 when WNED PBS airs "Discovering New York Suffrage Stories."

Buffalo.edu

Mutant virus strains are adding to the concerns for health officials as they contend with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. One strain that started in the United Kingdom is making its way across the globe. "That's now found in the U.S. in over half our states," said Dr. Nancy Nielsen during her weekly conversation with WBFO. "Now there's some evidence that it seems to be more lethal."


Buffalo.edu

President Biden has declared that his administration will work to improve the distribution of COVID vaccine. Dr. Nancy Nielsen sees "a lot of things that can  be done better."  The Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy at UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is very familiar with the allocation chain involving private companies, federal and state governments. She also wants to give credit where credit is due. "I think very valiant efforts were made so I don't want to disparage those folks that set up the current system under the last administration," said Nielsen, the former President of the American Medical Association. "I think we need to remember we should be enormously grateful for Operation Warp Speed and for the scientists that developed these vaccines. Let's just try to improve things. "


Between Wednesday's Presidential Inauguration and the siege on the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., has been under heightened scrutiny recently. Jerry Zremski, Washington Bureau Chief for the Buffalo News, has been close to the activity. He was among a handful of reporters nearby as President Biden recited the oath of office.  "A lot of people who were there thought it was a very exhilarating experience," said Zremski, who was also in the Capitol as a mob stormed into the building on January 6.


A Lake Effect Snow Warning will remain in place today for much of the region--including the city of Buffalo--however, the majority of the accumulation is likely to be seen in Southern Erie and Northern Chautauqua counties. "That snow band is going to remain nearly stationary through the morning commute and into the early afternoon before heading south toward the Southern Tier," said meteorologist Heather Kenyon at the Buffalo office of the National Weather Service. Snow totals this season have been below average to this point, but Kenyon expects that to change in the coming days.


The Buffalo Bills are just one win away from playing in the Super Bowl. It's a reality, as analyst Matt Sabuda points out, that "seemed incomprehensible in recent years, and decades, really."  The defending champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, are the next challenge. This Bills team, Sabuda believes, has the potential to return to the Super Bowl for the first time in 27 years and he's encouraging fans to "enjoy the ride."

A Lake Effect Snow Warning will remain in place today for much of the region--including the city of Buffalo--however, the majority of the accumulation is likely to be seen in Southern Erie and Northern Chautauqua counties. "That snow band is going to remain nearly stationary through the morning commute and into the early afternoon before heading south toward the Southern Tier," said meteorologist Heather Kenyon at the Buffalo office of the National Weather Service. Snow totals this season have been below average to this point, but Kenyon expects that to change in the coming days.


WBFO file photo

Western New York Congressman Brian Higgins is part of the growing call to have President Donald Trump removed from office after a mob last week pressed its ways into the halls of Congress, forcing Representatives to halt activities and seek safety. In a conversation this morning with WBFO, Higgins was unsparing in his assessment. "The President incited an insurrection of death and destruction against the United States Capitol." Beyond this tumultuous time, Higgins believes President-elect Joe Biden can bring healing to the Nation. Biden, Higgins says, "has demonstrated throughout his career an ability to work with both Democrats and Republicans."


With their 27-24 win Saturday over the Indianapolis Colts, the Buffalo Bills have advanced to the AFC Divisional round and will host the Baltimore Ravens Saturday night. The game features an intriguing matchup, says analyst Matt Sabuda. While Ravens' quarterback Lamar Jackson is the reigning league MVP, Bills' quarterback Josh Allen has earned consideration as MVP this season. As Sabuda points out, both quarterbacks were taken in the  2018 NFL Draft which featured five quarterbacks selected in the first round.


NYS Military Museum

Award-winning WNED documentarian and Buffalo Broadcast Hall of Fame "Distinguished Broadcaster" Ron Arnold has died of complications from COVID-19. He passed away Christmas Eve at the age of 87.

Buffalo.edu

President-elect Joe Biden has set the ambitious goal of  distributing 100 million  COVID-19 vaccinations  in the first 100 days of his Presidency. While that seems unlikely based on the early pace of distribution, local health officials remain focused on the job at hand. "The distribution of vaccine, right now, is to try to take care of those frontline healthcare workers," Dr. Nancy Nielsen said during her weekly conversation with WBFO. " That's why hospitals are the distribution site."


Amazon.com

In describing his memoir, "The Five People You'll Meet in Prison," author Brandon Stickney offers a hard look at New York's prison system and himself. The book is "more of a psychological journey," according to Stickney who says he is bipolar and suffers from depression. He wants to depict "what it's really like to be inside a prison with mental illness." Stickney recalls how pain medications prescribed following surgery started him on the road to opiate addiction, a path that would lead to time in jail.



 


It's been over a year since fans have been allowed inside Bills Stadium to watch their team. That changes next weekend when 6,772 people will be allowed to attend the team's first home playoff game in 25 years. During a special edition of Beyond the Playbook, analyst Matt Sabuda offers perspective on what the development means for a community that enjoys a unique connection with its NFL team.


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