Last month, as the coronavirus case surge was picking up momentum in South Carolina, this news outlet published a column pointing out how the pandemic was continuing to target older Palmetto State residents – particularly those in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
“In zeroing in on these morbidity trends we are not trying to place a premium on one life versus another,” we noted. “Those who have lost family or friends to this virus don’t hurt any less because their loved ones were of advanced age.”
Our goal was simply to provide context for risk … including the risk of shutting down the economy a second time.
This week, we wanted to provide an update on the situation now that the surge appears to be plateauing. According to the latest data (.pdf) from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), what was true at the beginning of the surge is true now.
According to the agency, a total of 659 residents or staffers at “nursing homes and assisted living facilities” had succumbed to the virus as of July 29, 2020. That figure represented 42.5 percent of all Covid-19 deaths reported in the Palmetto State at that time – a figure roughly in line with pre-surge levels.
There is also new data from SCDHEC on the breakdown of coronavirus victims by age – percentages which also remain roughly the same as they were before the surge.
According to the new data, 66.2 percent of all coronavirus-related deaths in South Carolina have been among citizens who are 71 years of age or older – which is almost identical to the percentage of deaths in that age group at the beginning of the surge. Meanwhile, 85.9 percent of coronavirus-related deaths have been among citizens who are 61 years of age or older – which is a slightly smaller percentage than when the surge was ramping up.
Take a look …
(Click to view)
At the other end of the spectrum, only 4.9 percent of reported Covid-19 deaths in South Carolina were among citizens under the age of 51 – up modestly from 4.4 percent at the beginning of the surge.
Again, though, all of this assumes you trust government to give you reliable data, which … yeah.
Speaking of unreliable data, our news director Mandy Matney recently reported on the latest numbers from the ever-vacillating Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle, Washington. This entity – which has been all over the map with its projections – decided last week to raise the Palmetto State’s total projected death toll from 3,186 to 3,232 (by November 1, 2020). These projections include the 1,774 Palmetto State residents who have already lost their lives to the virus.
As we have said from the beginning of this virus – as it waxed and waned – individuals of advanced age (or those who have existing, underlying medical conditions) clearly ought to take precautions. Just as we should take precautions around them.
They are very much in the crosshairs of this pandemic.
As for the rest of us? We should get back to work …
Wear our masks? Yes. Wash our hands? Yes. Observe social distancing? Sure.
But again, if you are under the age of fifty and in good health this virus simply is not targeting you.
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