Statewide seven-day positivity rate reaches record low as experts say we’re entering “endemic phase”

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The statewide seven-day positivity rate is the lowest it’s been since the start of the pandemic.

According to infectious disease expert Dr. Thomas Russo, vaccines will continue to help keep the infection rate low even are more people go out. In fact, Russo says we’re now entering what’s called the “endemic phase.”

“Unfortunately SARS-CoV-2 is going to be with us, but it’s going to be controlled,” he said. “Cases will be minimal, and, really, the number of cases will be largely dictated by the proportion of individuals that are vaccinated.”

This comes as more events and gatherings are being held around Western New York, including some that were canceled last summer due to COVID. Patrick Kaler of Visit Buffalo Niagara says this is great news for area businesses that have been hard hit by the pandemic.

“We’re very encouraged by the special events that are going to be operating this summer, welcoming visitors and residents. We’re starting to see some really good numbers,” Kaler said.

He also tells News 4 it’s likely the area will see a big boost in tourism.

Dr. Russo said he expects the infection rate to continue to stay low, especially with many events during the next few months happening outdoors where COVID-19 doesn’t spread as easily.

“I think we’re going to continue to do well,” he said. “I think cases will continue to fall and I’m anticipating a great summer.”

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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