The number of new confirmed coronavirus cases in South Carolina shattered a daily record on December 25, 2020 – eclipsing the 4,000 mark for the first time ever, according to state health officials.
Per the latest data from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), there were 4,370 new confirmed cases of the virus on Christmas day – easily eclipsing the prior revised record of 3,705 cases, recorded on December 16, 2020.
A total of 23.5 percent of the latest cases were positive, incidentally, above the thirty-day average of 20.9 percent.
How many of these cases constituted serious infections involving contagious carriers?
We do not know …
Sadly, South Carolina health officials have not published any cycle threshold data which would provide us with some sense of the severity of these cases. In fact, as of this writing we are not sure whether the state is even collecting such data … let alone tracking it.
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We do know hospitalizations associated with Covid-19 have continued to climb – to the point they have now exceeded the wave that accompanied the summer spike of the virus.
As of December 27, 2020, a record 1,780 Covid-19 positive patients were hospitalized in the Palmetto State – up 101.4 percent from just a month ago. Of those, 365 Covid-19-positive patients had been admitted to intensive care – up 54.7 percent from a month ago.
Finally, 177 Covid-19-positive patients were on ventilators – up 48.7 percent from a month ago.
A total of 70.4 percent of the state’s inpatient hospital beds are currently occupied, including 73.6 percent of its ICU beds and 29.1 percent of its ventilators.
Once again, we do not know the extent to which the virus is driving the severity of these hospitalizations – as many of those hit with Covid-19 are dealing with multiple “comorbidities.”
On the fatality front, a total of 14 deaths involving Covid-19 were reported on Christmas – bringing the statewide coronavirus-related death toll to 4,764 since health officials began tracking the data back in March. Another 391 deaths are believed to involve Covid-19.
The case fatality rate associated with the virus currently stands at 1.7 percent in South Carolina – which is the lowest it has been since July 24, 2020 and well below its mid-May peak of 4.5 percent.
Nationally, the case fatality rate also stands at 1.7 percent – the lowest it has been since March.
Looking ahead, South Carolina’s coronavirus death toll is projected to reach 7,808 by April 1, 2021, according to the latest projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle, Washington.
How many of those who died with Covid-19 would have passed away without the virus impacting their health? That is also a good question … and one for which we do not have a definitive answer.
At least not yet …
As it has from the beginning, Covid-19 is almost exclusively targeting older citizens. All told, 87.2 percent of Covid-19-related deaths in the Palmetto State involved citizens above the age of 61 – including 68.6 percent involving citizens above the age of 71 and 38.2 percent involving citizens above the age of 81.
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