We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines in South Carolina. Check back for updates.
Cases surpass 482,000
At least 482,907 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in South Carolina and 8,379 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported 456 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, down from 660 reported the day before.
Eleven coronavirus-related deaths were reported Sunday.
At least 423 people were reported hospitalized with the coronavirus on Sunday.
As of Sunday, 3.8% of COVID-19 tests were reported positive. Health officials say 5% or lower indicates a low risk of community spread.
More than 1.3 million South Carolina residents, or about 32%, have completed vaccination as of Friday, and more than 1.7 million, or about 42%, have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Will SC be stuck with COVID-19 forever? Experts weigh in
The coronavirus will be around for years to come even if South Carolina reaches an initial threshold for herd immunity, health experts told The Island Packet.
But the virus is expected to become an endemic in which its transmission will regularly increase and decrease similar to seasonal flu viruses.
“We should focus on taming the virus and making sure we can live with it and minimize its impact come next winter,” Ali H. Mokdad, a professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, told The Island Packet. “We cannot eradicate COVID … we want COVID to become like any other disease or respiratory virus that we can deal with on a yearly basis.”
Herd immunity in South Carolina is a moving target, so residents of the state may have to deal with it again and again. But experts say that’s not a reason to panic, and that the virus could become just a wintertime nuisance.
Mokdad said the goal is to reach a point where those vulnerable are protected and where outbreaks are contained quickly and hospitals aren’t put under strain by outbreaks.
“I do think it will become endemic,” Dr. Jane Kelly, assistant state epidemiologist at the DHEC, said. “What does endemic mean? It means that it’s ever-present. It continues to circulate, just like the common cold.”
COVID spread drops to low levels in SC
The spread of the coronavirus in South Carolina is low again after two weeks of being elevated.
Between April 25 and May 1, DHEC reported 4.74% of COVID-19 tests came back positive — below the 5% rate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says indicates the virus spread is slowing in a community.
The DHEC also reported 3,156 new cases of the virus during the same week, down from the previous two weeks and an average of 451 cases a day.
Almost 200,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine were administered last week in South Carolina, DHEC reported.