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Gov. Abbott Warns Texans About The One-Two Punch Of Flu Season And COVID-19

Bret Jaspers
Gov. Greg Abbott warns Texans about the combining of COVID and a bad flu season at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Gov. Greg Abbott is urging Texans to get flu vaccines early this season. He’s warning about a double whammy of flu and COVID-19.

Speaking in Dallas on Thursday, Abbott said COVID-19 is still a dangerous threat — and that combining COVID with a bad flu season would be terrible for the healthcare system.

"You can easily see how hospitals in this region as well as across Texas will be completely overrun," he said. 

Credit Bret Jaspers / KERA News
Dr. Kavita Bhavan, an associate professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center, said outreach campaigns are important in increasing the uptake of the flu vaccine in different communities.

The governor visited UT Southwestern Medical Center where Dr. Kavita Bhavan, an associate professor, said health care providers can increase an uptake in the flu vaccine by getting members of various communities to spread the word about getting flu shots.

"How do we work with individuals that live in that community and make more culturally-specific kind of campaign messaging to enhance uptake and improve health?" Bhavan asked. 

Abbott said best practices around COVID-19 may lead to a lighter than usual flu season, but only if people continue to be careful. He urged Texans to remain vigilant as the coronavirus continues to spread, warning against the idea that small gatherings are not dangerous. 

"One type of gathering keeps surfacing as a spreading event for COVID-19. And that is family gatherings. Or friends gathering together," Abbott said. 

Bret Jaspers is a reporter for KERA. His stories have aired nationally on the BBC, NPR’s newsmagazines, and APM’s Marketplace. He collaborated on the series Cash Flows, which won a 2020 Sigma Delta Chi award for Radio Investigative Reporting. He's a member of Actors' Equity, the professional stage actors union.