Once again, there has been a huge shift in the projected death toll associated with the coronavirus pandemic in South Carolina. And this time, the pendulum has swung in the direction of a dangerous potential escalation …
Two weeks after lowering its projected death toll estimates, the mercurial Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle, Washington has now raised its virus-related fatality estimate nearly four-fold … assuming the Palmetto State does not require its citizens to wear masks in public, that is.
According to the latest model – updated late Tuesday July 7, 2020 – a total of 4,059 South Carolinians are expected to succumb to the virus by November 1, 2020 absent a mask mandate. That total includes the 838 residents of the Palmetto State whose deaths have already been attributed to Covid-19 by officials with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC).
The total body count could be as high as 8,226 or as low as 2,175, the latest IHME modeling suggests.
If a statewide mask mandate were implemented, IHME’s latest modeling calls for a total of 1,628 coronavirus-related deaths – with the range lowered to anywhere 1,263 to 2,292 fatalities.
By contrast, the flu killed 292 people in 2017-2018 according to SCDHEC – and that was a “severe season.” IHME’s original models projected a similar death toll … with the virus petering out in early June.
Clearly that did not happen …
Take a look at the latest projections …
(Click to view)
Prior to the latest revisions, IHME – whose modeling has been all over the map – had called for a total of 1,368 total Covid-19 deaths by October 1, 2020.
Do we trust the projections? Not really …
As we have frequently pointed out, this metric has ebbed and flowed wildly for months – raising concerns about its credibility. Of course there are also concerns about the credibility of the data emanating from SCDHEC. Over the Fourth of July holiday, the state health agency announced six coronavirus-related deaths in Lexington county between July 2-3, 2020. That statement prompted a rebuke from county coroner Margaret Fisher, who said there had been only one Covid-19 death in Lexington county during that period.
“Not sure where they are getting their death numbers for Lexington county but they are incorrect!” Fisher wrote on the agency’s Facebook page.
Coronavirus cases in South Carolina have been surging in recent weeks – as have hospitalizations related to the virus. Of course hospitalization data – like Covid-19 death data – has come under scrutiny of late nationwide as some skeptics contend the numbers are being artificially inflated.
In a guest column posted on this news outlet recently, former U.S. congressman Ron Paul of Texas claimed medical facilities in his home state were jacking “Covid hospitalizations” by testing all patients who entered the facilities irrespective of their condition.
“The ‘spike’ in Texas cases is not due to a resurgence of the virus but to hospital practices of Covid-testing every patient coming in for any procedure at all,” Paul wrote. “If it’s a positive, well that counts as a ‘Covid hospitalization.’”
According to Paul, hospitals are misclassifying these cases deliberately because the federal government is incentivizing them to do so.
“If you subsidize something you get more of it,” Paul wrote.
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