South Carolina Health Officials Offer Mask Guidance, Updated Data On Mask Usage

SCDHEC says masks are working … but choose your covering wisely.

South Carolina health officials offered updated guidance on the use of masks to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday afternoon. They also provided new data on mask usage at the municipal level – numbers which they claim highlight the efficacy of local mask mandates.

According to a release from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), forty percent of the state’s population – or approximately 2 million citizens – live in a municipality where a mask ordinance has been enacted. Based on the agency’s latest data, jurisdictions with mask requirements in place have shown a significant decrease in the “total number of cases during the five weeks after the requirements were implemented.”

How significant?

All told, jurisdictions with mask requirements in place have seen an overall decrease of 43 percent of total cases “for the five weeks after the requirements were implemented compared to before the requirements were in place,” per the agency. Conversely, jurisdictions without mask requirements have seen an overall increase in total cases of 1.2 percent over the same period.

And yes, in this case red numbers are good and green numbers are bad.

“The data continues to reinforce what we’ve already known about proper wearing of masks and their success in helping to stop the spread of this deadly virus,” said SCDHEC physician Dr. Brannon Traxler. “Wearing a mask every day in public is critical.”

Masks are not created equal, though, according to Traxler.

“Not all face coverings provide the same protection,” she said. “A recent study by Duke University shows that neck gaiters may be among the least effective types of face coverings for preventing the spread of respiratory droplets.”

To view the study referenced by Traxler for yourself, click here.

Rather than using neck gaiters, citizens should opt instead for a “close-fitting face mask” – and wash it “regularly.” Traxler added that surgical grade N95 masks provide the best protection from the virus – although those are almost impossible to find anywhere these days.

This news outlet has made its views on mask mandates clear: We support the right of local governments to issue mask ordinances for public facilities – and we believe they can leverage licensing and inspection powers to encourage select private businesses (particularly close-contact businesses) to require masks at their establishments.

However, we do not believe government should have an unabridged right to compel mask usage on all private property – irrespective of certain interpretations of the law. Or the efficacy of mask usage.

At the end of the day, businesses and individuals must be responsible for their own decisions. And again, if you are under the age of fifty and in relatively good health – this virus is not targeting you.

In addition to the updated mask guidance and usage data released on Tuesday, SCDHEC provided the latest numbers on the status of the pandemic in the Palmetto State A total of 909 new confirmed cases (and 19 probable cases) were reported – bringing the statewide case total since mid-March to 112,088 (with 1,200 probable cases).

Take a look …

(Via: Mandy Matney)

Meanwhile on the fatality front, the agency announced another 18 confirmed coronavirus deaths (and two probable deaths). That brings the statewide death toll since mid-March to 2,408 – with 121 probable deaths.

Again, assuming you buy the data.

Here are those numbers …

(Via: Mandy Matney)

Based on the latest data, South Carolina’s case fatality rate currently stands at 2.14 percent – a number which has been creeping up steadily since bottoming out at 1.61 percent in mid-July. Nationally, the case fatality rate stands at 3.07 percent – down from a peak of just over 6 percent in mid-May.

According to the latest estimates from the mercurial Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle Washington, the death toll associated with the virus is projected to reach 309,918 by December 1, 2020.

“Universal” use of masks would ostensibly lower that total to 240,891 deaths over the same time frame.

Meanwhile in South Carolina, the death toll is currently projected to reach 4,724 by December 1, 2020 – with “universal” mask usage potentially lowering the total to 3,685 deaths.

Stay tuned … we will continue to keep tabs on these numbers (as well as the state’s response to them) over the weeks and months to come.




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