South Carolina health officials announced another day’s worth of data that featured fewer coronavirus cases in the Palmetto State – the third straight day of declines – although the state’s death toll related to the virus continued to rise. Meanwhile, officials are standing by projections showing huge spikes in cases over the next seventeen days – even though the current trends don’t appear to support those predictions.
Additionally, a national group that has been projecting state-by-state deaths related to the virus upped its fatality predictions for South Carolina – showing another uptick in likely deaths (although its latest model is still well below its original projections).
Confused? You should be … everything about this virus has been a moving target from the very beginning.
Which means decisions made by politicians are prone to erraticism (or more erraticism than usual).
Anyway, according to the latest release from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), there were 105 new confirmed or presumed positive coronavirus cases in South Carolina since the last batch of data was released on Tuesday. That brings the statewide total to 3,656 confirmed or presumed positive cases since the agency began tracking the data in early March.
Case totals have dipped for three straight days – 127 on Monday, 115 yesterday and 105 today.
The agency did announce ten additional deaths related to exposure from the virus, however – the second consecutive day deaths have been in double digits. That brings the statewide death toll to 107, again, since health officials have been tracking the virus. Of the ten newly announced deaths, seven were elderly South Carolinians with underlying health issues – two from Kershaw county and one apiece from Colleton, Georgetown, Greenville, Lancaster and Spartanburg counties.
Meanwhile, one of the newly announced deaths was an elderly individual from McCormick county whose “health conditions are still under investigation.” The other two newly announced deaths were middle-aged individuals with underlying health conditions from Richland and Sumter counties.
It is not clear at this point how many South Carolinians have contracted the coronavirus and recovered – but then again it also isn’t clear how many Palmetto State residents may have had the virus and recovered before government began tracking the data.
Nor is it clear how many may have died prior to March 6 … which is when SCDHEC announced the first two confirmed cases in the state.
How many will die before it is all said and done?
According to the latest projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle, Washington, a total of 680 South Carolinians are now expected to die as result of exposure to the first wave of the virus. That figure is higher than the 470 deaths projected early last week (but well below the 1,090 Palmetto State deaths the IHME was originally predicting).
IHME modeling – which has been criticized – now projects the peak of the the first wave of the virus to hit the Palmetto State between April 27, 2020 and May 6, 2020.
The institute’s projections call for at least 188 coronavirus-related fatalities in the Palmetto State with potentially as many as 2,000 deaths. By comparison, there were 292 deaths in South Carolina during 2017-2018 flu season – the most recent season for which complete data is available.
According to SCDHEC, that was a “severe season” compared to other years.
Coronavirus deaths are projected to gradually level off to zero in mid-June … but a second wave of the virus is expected to hit the country in the fall.
As for the first wave, SCDHEC is still projecting to have 8,677 confirmed cases of the virus by May 2 – which would mean a rate of 295 new announced cases per day between now and then.
Does that math add up? So far the highest one-day total of new cases in South Carolina is 274 – a figure announced by the agency on April 10, 2020. And as mentioned, new daily case totals have been dropping since then even as testing has accelerated.
According to the latest data from the COVID Tracking Project, South Carolina has conducted 710 completed tests per 100,000 citizens – which ranks No. 38 nationally. In addition to the 3,656 positive tests announced, there have been 31,077 negative tests conducted – 9,631 from SCDHEC’s public health laboratory and another 21,446 from private laboratories.
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