When will the COVID-19 pandemic end? Public health directors weigh in

Posted at 5:00 AM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 06:52:25-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Public health directors from across Western New York said an exact date to the pandemic’s end is difficult to predict, but getting everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible will help us stop the spread of COVID-19 and bring us closer to the end.

Watch the entire Health Commissioner Roundtable here, and on 7PLUS this Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 p.m.

"The COVID-19 vaccine is our key out of this pandemic. We've seen examples from other parts of the world, specifically Israel where they've been really aggressive with their vaccine campaign. Right now, over 40% of their population has been fully vaccinated," Dr. Gale Burstein, the Erie County Health Commissioner, said.

Right now in New York, the governor's office said about half of adults 18 or older has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"We're not quite there yet, so the more people who agree and make the choice to take the vaccine, the better place we'll be in just in terms of seeing our COVID numbers decrease and being able to return to our new normal. Whatever that is," Dr. Burstein said.

"However, because to the varius mutant strands out there, we are very concerned about the future of this particular virus. As soon as we can get more individuals vaccinated throughout the world, not just the U.S., I think we could have a better hold on mediating the spread of this virus," Dr. Kevin Watkins, the public health director for Cattaraugus County, said.

While the future is full of questions, these public health directors are hopeful.

"There's no crystal ball to when we'll get there, but I think as we continue to push towards increased vaccinations and getting more people protected, ultimately we can get back to some of our normal while emphasizing some of our mediation strategies we have been over the past year now," Paul Pettit, the public health director of Orleans and Genesee Counties, said.