UB modeling shows more hospitalizations if fewer masks

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) – State and health officials continue to urge people to wear a mask in public despite a continued decrease of coronavirus hospitalizations across New York State.

A model from the University at Buffalo displayed on Monday at its Jacobs School of Medicine showed a substantial increase of hospitalizations should fewer than 50 percent of the population decline to wear the protective masks in public.

“Believe me, we feel strong pressure from the business community to reopen. We get it,” Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. “We also know that at the end of the day, our number one priority is protecting the health of New Yorkers.”

Hochul said she wants other states to follow New York’s guidelines on coronavirus, specifically in regards to masks.

At its worst in late-April, there were more than 260 hospitalizations in Western New York hospitals. As of Sunday, there were 33. Health officials stress that masks are vital in the fight against coronavirus because it will prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed with coronavirus patients.

“We don’t want to wind up in a situation that’s happening now in Houston and elsewhere,” Dr. Peter Winklestein of the University at Buffalo said. “Hospitals are overwhelmed. Their ICU’s are full.”

Health officials like Dr. John Sellick of the Jacobs School of Medicine anticipate society wearing masks for the foreseeable future.

“This is probably going to become the new norm for at least the immediate future,” Sellick said.