In yet another sad commentary on “Republican” rule in South Carolina, citizens of the Palmetto State have continued lagging behind their national/ neighboring state peers over the past two decades in virtually every key measure of progress.
Whether it is public safety, infrastructure, energy, education, taxes, spending, employment … you name it, and South Carolina is riding the “struggle bus.” Hard.
In fairness to the GOP, though, the notion that it rules South Carolina is a misnomer. While the party enjoys near supermajorities in both chambers of the S.C. General Assembly, Republicans are constantly at war with each other. Beyond that, since the GOP took control of state government in 2003 it has essentially been governed by a coalition of fiscally liberal white Republicans – including “former” Democrats like Senate leaders Luke Rankin and Hugh Leatherman) – and black Democrats elected from “majority-minority” districts.
This left-of-center governing coalition is in charge … earning South Carolina the title of “most liberal red state in America,” according to a recent report.
Anyway, the latest terrible ranking for the Palmetto State comes courtesy of WalletHub, which earlier this week released a report on the extent to which states are bouncing back from the debilitating societal shutdowns associated with the first wave of the coronavirus panic.
“Even though the U.S. is making progress as a whole, some states are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic much faster than others,” WalletHub’s analysts noted in their report. “In order to determine the states that are having the most successful recoveries, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 18 key metrics. Our data set ranges from the share of the population fully vaccinated to the real GDP compared to pre-COVID levels.”
(Scroll for rankings)
As you can see by scrolling on the states (above), South Carolina ranked No. 42 nationally in terms of its bounce back from Covid-19 – earning a score of 40.96 out of 100.
States were scored in three general areas: Covid-19 health (which accounted for 50 percent of the score), leisure/ travel (which accounted for 20 percent of the score) and the economy/ labor market (which accounted for the remaining 30 percent of the score).
Given the bounce back in the Palmetto State’s tourism industry this year, you would think South Carolina would have enjoyed a built-in advantage on any rankings relying so heavily on hospitality-related businesses. And indeed, the state ranked No. 12 nationally on WalletHub’s breakdown of leisure/ travel metrics.
Unfortunately, abysmal Covid-19 health rankings dragged the state down …
South Carolina ranked No. 44 nationally in terms of its overall Covid-19 health, with its anemic vaccination rates looming large in the report. As of this writing, 54.5 percent of South Carolinians over the age of 12 have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine while 46.1 percent have “completed vaccination,” according to the latest data from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). Nationally, 70.4 percent of Americans over the age of 12 have gotten their shots while 59.8 percent are “fully vaccinated,” according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
South Carolina’s vaccination hesitancy has been widely reported, but there were a pair of troubling rankings related to the state’s hospital system that may surprise readers.
According to WalletHub, South Carolina ranked No. 44 nationally in terms of hospital staff shortages – tying it with multiple other states for worst in the country. Meanwhile, South Carolina ranked No. 48 in the nation in terms of hospital supply shortages.
Alarming … and this is recent data, too.
“Low supply is defined as a hospital not able to maintain a three-day supply of N95s, face masks, gloves, gowns, or eye protection in the week ending August 4, 2021,” WalletHub’s analysts noted.
Make no mistake: My news outlet will be digging into these supply issues as part of an ongoing look at the status of the hospital industry in the Palmetto State (a subject I addressed most recently here).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that Boston Red Sox lid pictured above).
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