Ruta Smith

No country in the world has had a higher rate of confirmed cases of COVID-19 than South Carolina over the past week, according to data analyzed by The New York Times.

Comparing relative infection rates for world nations and each U.S. state, South Carolina ranks behind just Florida and Arizona in terms of new cases per million people. The Palmetto State comes in with a slightly higher rate than the Kingdom of Bahrain, an island nation of 1.5 million people in the Persian Gulf.
[embed-1] Cases of COVID-19 have grown by pretty much every measure in South Carolina over the past few weeks. The latest single-day record of cases was set on July 4. Percent-positive rates passed 20 percent this week. Hospital beds are more than 75-percent full. Total deaths in the state are projected to double from 850 today to more than 1,700 by mid-August, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

“The current risk of infection is at its highest to date, and much higher than during the earlier lockdown period in April,” according to the latest analysis by MUSC’s Epidemiology Intelligence Project. “Concerted action should be taken to encourage the population to take precautions to avoid viral infection and transmission, and aggressive contact tracing should be implemented to contain this outbreak. Social distancing and mask use should be vigorously promoted or mandated.”

Gov. Henry McMaster has resisted calls for mandated protective masks to cut down on the spread of COVID-19, but many local governments have taken matters into their own hands over the past week.

Still, numbers remain high and South Carolina’s dubious distinction as having the third-highest rate of COVID-19 growth has forced other U.S. states to call for mandatory travel restrictions for people who have visited South Carolina.

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