While municipal leaders in Grand Island, West Seneca, Marilla and Williamsville have objected to the mandate, they cannot decide which public health mandates the county can apply, he said.
“Because we don’t tell the city of Grand Island or Marilla how to collect their waste because that’s their responsibility, it’s the Erie County Department of Health’s responsibility to ensure health care,” he said.
Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein and Dr. Thomas Russo, an infectious disease specialist at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, expressed concern that the province’s mask mandate is being mocked and opposed by some.
“What really kills people and causes major transmission of Covid-19 is misinformation,” Burstein said. “And ‘masks don’t work’ is one of the biggest pieces of misinformation in this pandemic. Masks work. There’s scientific data, anecdotal data. Just because someone says masks don’t work doesn’t mean it’s true.”
Burstein and Russo also said masks are just one element of a multifaceted strategy to contain the spread of Covid-19 and the highly contagious Delta variant.
Russo said evolving scientific evidence shows that the immunity afforded by the first vaccines administered in the spring is weakening. As time goes by, more people become prone to Covid-19 infection. That’s why booster shots are important.