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Doctor recommends flu shot this fall during COVID-19 pandemic

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Seven months after the COVID-19 pandemic began in this country, people still have questions.

"Should I get a flu shot this year?" asked Stella Daskalakis. "When is the best time to get it?"

"I would recommend everyone get a flu shot this year," said Dr. Mike Kafka, UnityPoint Health St. Luke's. "Right now, September and October, are the ideal months to get it, so if we have an early kickoff to the season we'll have coverage for it. It's not too early, so if we so if we extend into the spring like we did with the last flu season you'll still have some coverage as well."

"College students are going back to class, and we've seen videos of big parties on campuses," said Daskalakis. "If college students are planning on going to a big party, will masks make a difference? Should they be limiting the number of people at gatherings?"

"The first thing to remind folks is that masks are not a substitute for social distancing," said Dr. Kafka. "So, being in large crowds, in close proximity, even with a mask puts you at risk. They need to try and maintain their distance even with a small group of people. And, if there's a mask on, it's harder to hear people, so you have tendency to yell above the noise and that makes your mask less efficient as a filter against the spread of the virus."

"Do you think schools will be able to manage COVID-19 numbers with students being in person?" asked Daskalakis. "Or is online learning, or hybrid learning, the best method to keep the infection numbers down?"

"I suppose, ideally, to avoid contact, and to not get infected through close contact, the online or hybrid would be the safest, but what I understand different schools are putting in place in terms of masking, hand washing and social distancing, I'm hopeful that's a safe way to do our instruction. The thing to keep in mind is the way we determine the level of COVID that we have in the community because it's going to be in the community, and these kids will be picking this up and bringing this into the school. So, the more people that we have doing the masking, and all the right things in the community, to keep the overall levels in the community low, the likelihood of an outbreak in the schools is a lot less likely."

Matt Breen

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