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

May 28, 2020

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.

Dr. Nancy Nielsen is the Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy at UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
Credit Buffalo.edu

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."