UNC Health experts warn COVID-19 and influenza could cause 'twindemic'

Wednesday, September 9, 2020
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UNC Health experts warn COVID-19 and influenza could cause 'twindemic'

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Health experts at the University of North Carolina spent Wednesday discussing the possibility of what they called a "twindemic," or outbreaks of both COVID-19 and the seasonal flu.

The doctors said it was still too early to know exactly what it would do to people if they got both viruses, but it is never too soon to prepare for that possibility.

COVID-19 and influenza are both respiratory viruses that spread between people in close contact, which naturally occurs more during winter months because people are not outside as much. The concern now is that a twindemic could not only pose increased individual risk but it could deepen the strain on our healthcare systems.

The silver lining is that the current efforts around social distancing and wearing masks are effective against both viruses.

WATCH: Why flu shots are more important than ever in 2020

"The other thing that we can do. We do have a vaccine to prevent influenza A and B, so to help mitigate the effects of potentially getting two viruses, what you can do is get a flu vaccine," said Dr. Cheryl Jackson.

SEE ALSO: This single test promises to detect COVID-19, the flu and RSV

UNC health says it is ramping up vaccinations and urges everybody to get their vaccine as soon as possible.