Sellick, who also oversees infectious disease control at Kaleida Health, notes that no one health ranking can adequately pinpoint a particular health factor resulting in Covid-19 deaths.
“These are not really meant to be sliced and diced to a very granular level,” he said.
For instance, it is common and reasonable to compare Erie and Monroe counties, home to Buffalo and Rochester. They are closer in population size and makeup than other counties closer to Erie. But Monroe County is also wealthier and slightly younger than Erie County is. Those contribute to better health numbers.
When it comes to health factors that people can control, however, vaccination with boosters come up again and again.
In a social media post Friday, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz pointed out that since Nov. 1, of the 471 Erie County residents who have died from Covid-19, only eight were fully vaccinated and boosted and under the age of 70.
Aside from lack of vaccination, the obesity rate in Western New York is a major driver of deaths among the young, local health experts said.
“Under 65, obesity seemed to be the big driver of critical illness,” said Dr. Cloud, regarding his experience with ECMC patients.