More than two years after cases of Covid-19 were first reported in South Carolina, the state’s health agency is urging a virus-weary public to get vaccinated and start wearing masks … again.
I thought this was South Carolina … a bright red, MAGA-loving Republic which would never hesitate to tell Washington, D.C. where to shove its mandates.
Except … no it isn’t.
According to a release from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), residents are being urged to “track community level spread in the county where they live/ work and follow the prevention steps to take” – including staying “up-to-date on Covid-19 vaccinations and boosters.”
The release urged South Carolinians to follow the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine the level of “community spread” of the virus – which originated in Wuhan, China in the fall of 2019.
“Part of treating COVID-19 as an endemic virus is recognizing that we need to know the current community level and the steps to take to stay virus-free,” SCDHEC director Edward Simmer said in a statement. “We are seeing more medium and high transmission across South Carolina, so we strongly encourage our residents to follow all recommendations, including masking, staying home when sick, and being vaccinated, including boosters when eligible, that will help bring these numbers back down.”
Two South Carolina counties – Dillon and Marlboro – were reportedly experiencing “high transmission” rates as of Thursday (June 9, 2022). Another thirteen counties – Berkeley, Charleston, Chesterfield, Darlington, Dorchester, Florence, Horry, Lexington, Marion, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter, and Williamsburg – were experiencing “medium transmission” rates.
SCDHEC urged Dillon and Marlboro residents to wear masks indoors – including at schools and workplaces. Meanwhile, in the thirteen counties with medium transmission rates it urged masking for individuals at high risk of contracting Covid-19 – or for those who are regularly around immunocompromised individuals.
Will anyone in Dillon and Marlboro – and the thirteen moderate risk counties – follow this advice? Doubtful …
And beyond that … aren’t we supposed to be done with Covid-19?
After the Omicron spike shattered infection records back in January, the virus has been pretty much off of most people’s radar screens. Health officials have even stopped doing daily data dumps – choosing instead to publish new numbers on a weekly basis (every Tuesday, for those of you keeping score at home).
What are the numbers? To date in South Carolina, a total of 16.64 million Covid-19 tests have been conducted – of which 1.51 million came back positive. Within the last week, a total of 63,361 tests were conducted – of which 8,913 were positive.
While confirmed cases were down 1.4 percent from the previous week, the number of tests conducted was down 5.1 percent. Over the last month, confirmed cases were up 31.7 percent.
Hospitalizations related to Covid-19 are negligible compared to the Omicron and Delta spikes, but they have ticked up by 53.3 percent over the past month.
Should we freak out at the prospect of a potential spike? No …
As I have said repeatedly for the last two years, if you are younger and in relatively good health … this virus is not a serious threat to you.
“We should all be smart and be safe, but we cannot allow Covid-19 fear to once again impose ‘cures’ on our society that are worse than the disease,” I wrote late last year.
Let’s all make sure to remember that advice in the event there is another spike of the virus …
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.
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