In news that was widely expected following last week’s announcement that his wife had tested positive for Covid-19, South Carolina governor Henry McMaster announced this week that he, too, was among the growing number of Palmetto State citizens who have tested positive for the virus.
McMaster is reportedly experiencing mild symptoms – including a “cough and slight fatigue” – and will undergo antibody treatments, per his office.
He was notified of his positive diagnosis “late Monday evening,” according to a press release from his office.
Just five days ago, McMaster’s office announced that South Carolina first lady Peggy McMaster had tested positive for the virus – part of a recent spike in cases across the Palmetto State. Initial tests administered to the governor last week came back negative.
Peggy McMaster remains asymptomatic, according to the governor’s office.
Both McMasters are 73 years old – putting them at an elevated risk of developing complications related to the virus and its attendant comorbidities. Per guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the couple are quarantining for ten days.
“Peggy and I urge everyone to be extra careful during the Christmas holiday season,” McMaster said in a statement. “This virus spreads very easily.”
How severe are their infections? And how contagious are they?
As we noted last week, that could depend on the “cycle threshold” of their tests – which would likely indicate how much viral material was found in their bodies. Cycle threshold data refers to how early in the magnification process viral ribonucleic acid (RNA) is detected – i.e. how many cycles it took for the virus to be identified. It offers some insights into “the extent to which a person is infected with Covid-19 – and more importantly the extent to which their infection is contagious.“
Generally speaking, if your cycle threshold number is 25 or lower you have what is considered to be a high viral load – meaning you are more likely to be at risk of potentially serious Covid-19 complications and more likely to be contagious.
If your cycle threshold number is above 35, however, you have a low viral load – meaning it is far less likely that you could transmit the virus. Also, individuals with CT scores above 35 are far less likely to experience the onset of severe symptoms – especially if they are younger and in good physical shape.
This news outlet has called on the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) to “begin requiring laboratories to submit this cycle threshold data – and to begin providing this information to the public as part of its daily case total tabulations.”
We also called upon the agency to release any cycle threshold data it has previously collected in the hopes of providing some sense as to the severity of the positive cases it has been reporting since March.
As for McMaster, his diagnosis will no doubt revive criticism he has received for failing to follow his own advice regarding Covid-19 mitigation practices. Specifically, McMaster has been blasted for hypocrisy when it comes to mask usage, insisting citizens wear them – yet repeatedly refusing to do so himself.
In fact, both McMasters reportedly attended a mask-less church service on Sunday, December 13, 2020 in Taylors, S.C. to present a former state senator with an award.
The McMasters also attended a Christmas party held at the White House on Monday, December 14. Additionally, the couple met U.S. vice president Mike Pence in Greenville, S.C. on Thursday, December 10 – a trip intended to draw attention to the Palmetto State’s Covid-19 vaccination plans.
According to the governor’s office, SCDHEC physicians have said “there is no way to pinpoint precisely when or how governor McMaster or the first lady contracted the virus.”
Earlier this week, Georgia-based televangelist Jentezen Franklin announced that he had tested positive for Covid-19 following his attendance at a White House Christmas party held last week. Franklin’s religious network includes a church based in Spartanburg, S.C.
While this news outlet does not think very much of McMaster’s performance in office, we certainly wish him, his wife and everyone impacted by this virus our best wishes for a speedy recovery.
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