What is a twindemic? A metro health expert explains the potential danger

ATLANTA — The state’s top health officials said Wednesday that they fear a possible twindemic as flu season begins amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medical experts agree that a twindemic could over-burden the metro’s medical systems and put you at risk.

“Preparation is key here,” said Dr. Danny Branstetter with Wellstar Health System. “It takes us, as humans, about two weeks to develop an adequate antibody response to vaccines. So getting this in October is super important, because our flu season really kicks in, in November with a peak in December and in January.”

During a news conference Wednesday, Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey urged Georgians to get their flu shot.

“Never has it been more important to get a flu shot than this year. We realize people sometimes don’t think a flu shot is effective or afraid to get it, or just don’t bother. This is particularly important this year. We’re trying to prevent twindemics of COVID and influenza. It could be devastating. We don’t know what influenza could do to a COVID infection,” Toomey said. Channel 2 anchor Jorge Estevez asked Branstetter about people’s fears about going out to get a flu shot.

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“I think it’s super important that people realize that, No. 1, you can do this safely. It can be through a drive through vaccination or pharmacies. Healthcare providers have been doing a lot of work and a lot of thinking of how to provide care safely. It is safe to go in and get a vaccine from your care providers,” Branstetter said.

“Here in Georgia, what are we afraid of? If not enough people get the flu vaccine and then get the flu? And then there’s a peak of COVID? What’s the number one?” Estevez asked Branstetter.

“My biggest fear is enough staff to take care of the ill. So we need to keep our health care providers as safe as possible. How do we do that? How can you as a community do that? You, yourself stay healthy. And one of the key important ingredients in that is getting the flu vaccine this year,” Branstetter said.