Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

Staff reports | States with low vaccine booster rates could see COVID-19 deaths skyrocket as strains of the Omicron variant continue a fast spread across the U.S., according to White House pandemic response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha. 

Meanwhile, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control has delayed its weekly COVID-19 report to tomorrow as state offices remain closed in observance of Confederate Memorial Day.

“There is an important pattern emerging in the Northeast that helps chart the path forward,” Jha wrote on Twitter. Cases in the Northeast have been on the rise for weeks, driven by Omicron subvariant BA.2 and others. And new sub variants are continuing to show even higher transmissibility. 

Previous infections from the original Omicron strain which infected many during a late winter surge offers little protection against reinfection by the newest sub variants, data show. However, booster shots seem to bolster the body’s defenses, making booster rates a strong indicator of how states may fare ahead of an expected surge. 

The Biden administration is seeking an additional $22.5 billion in Congressional funds to bolster the national response to the pandemic. 

Latest COVID-19 data

The state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) transitioned to weekly reporting of new COVID data in March. The most recent numbers were reported last Tuesday and covered April 24-30.

State health officials on Tuesday reported 3,044 total new cases of COVID-19 and eight total new deaths. As of May 2, 117 COVID-19-positive individuals were hospitalized, and five were on ventilators. 

No positivity rate was reported by DHEC.

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 67.1%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 58%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 20.2%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 16.4%

For more information, visit the S.C. SCDHEC COVID-19 dashboard.

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