'We don't have a flu season,' Texas televangelist Gloria Copeland says

By Aaron Barker - Senior Web Editor

HOUSTON - In the midst of one of the most deadly flu outbreaks in recent history, Fort Worth-based televangelist Gloria Copeland denied the existence of flu season.

In a Jan. 31 video posted on Facebook, Copeland said believers should not be worried about the virus that officials say has killed more than 50 children so far this season.

“We’ve got a duck season,” she said. “We’ve got a deer season, but we don’t have a flu season. And don’t receive it when somebody threatens you with, ‘Everybody’s getting the flu.’ We’ve already had our shot.”

Pointing to a Bible in front of her, Copeland said believers have already been healed and then she prayed for anyone who already has the flu to be healed.

“Jesus himself gave us the flu shot,” she said. “He redeemed us from the curse of flu. And we receive it and we take it, and we are healed by his stripes. Amen?”

Copeland then encouraged viewers to ward off the virus with their faith.

“Just keep saying that, ‘I’ll never have the flu. I’ll never have the flu,’” she said. “Put words -- inoculate yourself with the word of God.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thousands of people in the U.S. have been hospitalized with the flu since the season began in October. Agency officials have earlier predicted an unusually high number of pediatric deaths from the illness.

Nearly 2,900 people have died in Texas from either influenza or pneumonia since the season started on Oct. 1, according to a Feb. 2 report from the state Health and Human Services Department.

Doctors recommend frequent hand washing and staying home when you’re sick as ways to guard against the flu. They also said that while a flu shot doesn’t guarantee avoiding the illness, it does make it milder.

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