Please get vaccinated. It is safe. The vaccine is effective. Just two months ago, South Carolina recorded less than 100 cases statewide. Now, my home state exceeds 7,000 cases a day. The expected surge in new cases once McMaster refused a mask mandate for children in school has fueled a spike.
DHEC reports that more young people are getting COVID-19. Many require hospitalization and ventilators. Unfortunately, only about 20 percent of those 12–19 are fully vaccinated in South Carolina. DHEC Director Dr. Ed Simmer warns:
“We have to pay close attention to what these numbers are telling us about the virus’ behavior and understand the risk we’re facing. Without a corresponding surge in vaccinations to meet this challenge and universal indoor masking in public places, my fear is that more grim milestones are ahead. My hope, however, is that we will rise to meet this challenge by getting all eligible South Carolinians vaccinated so together we can end this pandemic.”
The Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University reported evidence shows that the first child tax credit payment kept 3 million children from falling below the poverty line. Child poverty rate dropped from 15.8% in June to 11.9% in July.
Coronavirus relief measures kept another 3 million children from poverty. Families are using the money to buy food and pay off debt. What happens next?
The lack of vaccinations in South Carolina increases the risk to vulnerable adults as well. Many of them live in long-term care communities. CMS published a recent study finding that nursing home residents accounted for 22% of all COVID-19 cases among Medicare members despite only represent 2% of the Medicare population. The report concludes:
“Nursing home residents were 14 times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 compared to beneficiaries in the community.”
The CDC reports 54% of health care personnel in South Carolina nursing homes are fully vaccinated. The figure in North Carolina is slightly higher, at 55%, but both Carolinas rank among the bottom 15 U.S. states and territories in this vaccine category.