A coronavirus “risk assessment” report prepared by emergency management officials in South Carolina has concluded that the Palmetto State could reopen for business as soon as today – Wednesday, April 29, 2020. The declaration – made by the S.C. Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) – is likely to place additional pressure on governor Henry McMaster to reopen the state sooner rather than later.
McMaster is facing furious backlash from voters for extending his executive order of April 6, 2020 that requires South Carolinians to remain quarantined except for work, essential travel or (as the governor eloquently put it) “outdoor recreatin’.”
In addition to his refusal to allow thousands of “non-essential” businesses to reopen – the governor has placed occupancy restrictions on those select establishments he has allowed to open their doors.
South Carolinians are livid … and to add some intrigue to the mix, all of the governor’s emergency powers are being delegated under a constitutional cloud.
Anyway, from the latest SCEMD “summary risk assessment,” agency officials have concluded that “based on trends of daily new cases, cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina have peaked (emphasis original).”
“Due to social distancing and other public health measures, South Carolina has flattened the curve and new cases have plateaued for the last two weeks,” the report continued. “Based on current data and projections, the office of the state surgeon and (S.C. Army national guard) medical command have determined that South Carolina should be able to slowly reopen businesses around April 29 (emphasis original).”
Here is the assessment …Summary-Risk-Assessment_28-Apr-01-May
With this recommendation in hand, McMaster will likely face even more pressure to rescind or relax his April 6 order.
Ironically, McMaster issued the controversial order after initially dire coronavirus projections were amended sharply lower.
“Basically, McMaster caved at the very moment his initial restraint was validated … and is now refusing to lift an order he probably never should have imposed in the first place,” we wrote in a column yesterday calling on the governor to lift the order.
Coronavirus case data published by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) has shown the virus ebbing and flowing in recent days.
That is true …
However, SCDHEC is reporting far fewer cases than it originally called for, and the state’s projected coronavirus death toll has been revised dramatically lower – from 1,100 projected deaths initially to 351 now, according to the the latest estimates from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).
These projections have been erratic, to be sure, but as we noted yesterday the virus is “nowhere near as apocalyptic” as we were originally led to believe. Meanwhile, a compelling case is being made that the mass lockdowns have been medically counter-productive.
Again, we clearly still need widespread, comprehensive and accurate testing to show us who has the virus (and more importantly, to show us how many of us had it previously). And precautions still need to be taken – particularly among the elderly, obese and those with preexisting medical conditions – as the coronavirus remains a serious threat to public health.
Oh, and we still have grave concerns over the second wave of the virus.
But for now we concur with the recommendation of SCEMD to begin reopening the Palmetto State for business … and hopefully McMaster (who is no doubt reading the same polling data that we are reading) recognizes the extent to which the public is waiting on him to do that as soon as possible.
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