Sunrise Smart Start: Tuesday, September 21

Sunrise Smart Start

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Tuesday, September 21, 2021.


‘We’re in a hurry’: Local pediatricians on Pfizer vaccine findings in kids ages 5 to 11

Local health experts are weighing in on Pfizer Pharmaceutical announcing that it’s COVID-19 vaccine works in kids ages 5 to 11.

This comes after Pfizer has spent several months studying the vaccine in more than 2,200 kids across the United States. 

“We’re in a hurry here because the kids are in school, more children are catching the coronavirus, it’s up almost 300%, the pediatric hospitals are filling to capacity,” said Dr. Michael Pichichero, a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist at Rochester Regional Health. 

The vaccine given to children during Pfizer’s study is similar to the vaccine given to those over the age of 12. However, it’s a third of the dose. 

“This is the same vaccine that has already been given to over 400 million adults, it’s a lower dose, but it’s the same vaccine. Children are not little adults, we had to lower the dose in order for it to be appropriate for the average weight of a 5-11 year old, otherwise this is the same vaccine,” Dr. Pichichero said.

The data showed after the 2nd dose, children had developed enough antibody levels to fight the coronavirus and it’s been just as strong as in teenagers and adults. 

“As expected, children have terrific immune systems. They ended up producing very high levels of immunity,” Dr. Pichichero said.

While data has shown COVID cases among kids tend to be mild, close to 460 kids in the U.S. have died from the virus and doctors say it’s not worth the risk. 


Hundreds gather at Strong to push back against vaccine mandate

As COVID-19 mandates continue to grow, some area residents showed their disapproval for pending mandatory inoculations for healthcare workers.

A large number gathered out in front of Strong Memorial Hospital Monday afternoon. Registered Nurse Mearle McDonald says this is about options.

“All we want is a choice. A choice to either have the vaccine or not have it. That’s fine with us. But we thought we should have the choice not to. But that’s really our bottom line,” she says.

City Councilman Jose Peo says they’re also fighting against the mandate for healthcare workers to get the shot. By next week he says some essential healthcare workers across the state could be out of a job. 

“We have freedoms to be able to choose what goes in or out of our body– here we are where we’re not allowing that,” says Peo. “It’s not right to have them go a year and half of fighting for us … but here we are now trying to fire them for not taking the vaccine themselves they went 18 months without it,” he adds.

When it comes to the vaccine, Dr. Michael Pichichero with Rochester Regional Health, says at some hospitals, beds are filling up, in particular, the pediatric wing. The vaccine– a deterrent– to prevent the worst possible outcome.

“But what if it’s your child who has the really bad infection, who ends up on a ventilator, who ends up in the hospital, or who dies… for me… that is too big of a risk,” he says.

Dr. Jennifer Nayak with URMC says trials for the vaccine focused above all on the safety of the shot. 

“No evidence in any of the studies for adults, teens, or younger kids of long-lasting negative effects from this vaccination,” says Nayak.

But those like McDonald are still skeptical. She says if the mandate goes through, she and up to 30% of fellow workers in area hospitals might not be employed next week. 

“They’re canceling surgeries because they’re not going to have the people to take care of (patients),” says McDonald.

Demonstrators say they’ll be back again next week to protest the mandates.


RBTL makes long-awaited return with ‘CATS’

The Rochester Broadway Theatre League makes its long-anticipated return to the Auditorium Theatre with “CATS” September 21-26.

“CATS” will mark the first appearance of a touring off-Broadway production at the Auditorium Theatre for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020.

Cast member Christopher Salvaggio discussed the return to performing — including the first performances on Broadway in New York City — Thursday during News 8 at Noon.

“It’s so exciting,” he said of the return to Broadway. “A lot of my friends are there watching the shows and it just really is good to be back. It’s such a piece of New York City and its culture. Something’s been missing and now it’s back and everything feels right.”

For Salvaggio, “CATS” will mark his first performance since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020. 

Salvaggio lives in New York City but is Rochester born and raised. He graduated from Greece Arcadia High School. “It’s a dream! This is my first touring production and to get to kick it off here where my entire family and friends can come to see me means the world, it’s overwhelming.”


Suspect arrested after student fights off would-be rapist near University of Rochester

A suspect was taken into custody Saturday after an attempted rape near the University of Rochester campus. Police say the victim fought him off.

It happened near Genesee Valley Park around 12:35 a.m. Saturday. According to investigators, Courtney Barber, 31, approached a U of R student from behind. The woman fought with Barber, who police say took her cell phone and ran away.

The woman was able to alert University of Rochester Public Safety officers, who found Barber still in the area. Rochester police took him to a hospital for evaluation.

Barber is charged with Attempted Rape, Robbery, Grand Larceny, Stalking, and Criminal Mischief.


Suspects in Chemung County torture-murder case connected to Ontario County torture investigation

Eddie Marte and Malik Weems, the two men recently indicted by a Chemung County Grand Jury in connection to a Chemung County torture-murder case, are also under investigation in connection to an Ontario County kidnapping and torture case.

Marte and Weems were arrested on April 27 in the City of Geneva after someone was held at gunpoint, kidnapped, and tortured.

In the Ontario County case, Weems, 18, and Marte, 25, face kidnapping, burglary, and robbery charges. A third man, 62-year-old Thomas Ferraro, was arrested in connection to the Ontario County case but has not been named in connection to the Chemung County investigation.

Investigators say the Ontario County victim was punched and kicked in the face and torso, beaten with belts and cords, and burned with a hot knife.

Investigators in Ontario County say police found a stolen handgun, another handgun, 1 pound of crystal methamphetamine, 1.4 pounds of heroin, 1 ounce of suspected cocaine, and $5,000 cash while executing three search warrants in the case. They say the drugs alone are worth roughly $75,000.

Marte and Weems were arrested in the Ontario County Jail in connection to the Chemung County case. The Chemung County District Attorney’s Office says Marte is from New York City and that Weems is from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

In Chemung County, Weems and Marte have been indicted for first degree murder, four counts of first degree kidnapping, and two counts each of first and degree assault.


More than 700 Bills season-ticket holders request refund after vaccine requirement

When Erie County and Pegula Sports and Entertainment announced last week that Covid-19 vaccination would be required to attend Bills and Sabres games this season, the teams offered season-ticket holders a chance to request a refund.

The deadline for Bills season-ticket holders to submit their request was last Friday. Holders of 762 seats requested refunds. The tickets will first be offered to those on the season-ticket waiting list.

The deadline for Sabres season-ticket holders to request a refund is 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Season-ticket holders were told requesting a refund meant losing their season-ticket seniority.

Single-game tickets are not eligible for a refund. Fans who no longer wish to attend can try to sell their single-game tickets on secondary markets.

The Bills would not say how many season tickets they sell annually, but did announce in May that season tickets were sold out for the 2021 season. The number is believed to be well over 50,000, making 762 seats a small percentage.


Weather forecast: Summer hanging on as Fall lurks midweek

Tuesday looks solid again with only a slight increase in cloud cover expected through the day, particularly late. Highs Tuesday will climb into the upper 70s, perhaps near 80 in a few spots. Isolated showers will start to materialize late Tuesday night, setting us up for our prime rain window Wednesday into Thursday.

While the general idea of wet weather is locked in, the details of how this system evolves features a lot of moving parts, rendering this forecast a bit more complicated than usual.

A cold front will make slow and steady eastward toward us into early Wednesday. An area of surface low pressure is expected to develop along this cold front Wednesday, which will likely put the brakes (at least temporarily) on the progress of that front.

Knowing this, the eastward progress of that cold front before the brakes get slammed because a very important element of our forecast. If that front gets hung up farther west, most of the steady and heavy rain Wednesday remains west of our area. That would keep showers more scattered locally through much of Wednesday.

However, if that cold front gets farther along before the stall, the Rochester area would find itself within an active corridor of heavy rain. Models are still struggling with this evolution (which isn’t unusual), so the fine details on just how steady and heavy this Wednesday rain will be remain murky. The low won’t be in any hurry once it forms, and additional rain is expected into Thursday as well before we finally dry out Friday.

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