Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

President Biden’s impromptu announcement that the Covid-19 pandemic is “over” during a Sept. 18 segment on 60 Minutes stirred varying media responses. Some outlets are hesitant to accept his claim; others are ready to accept that the pandemic could be downgraded to an endemic. 

“In general, the situation is not as dire as it once was due to the growth of immunity from both infection and vaccination,” said MUSC spokesman Montez Seabrook. “However, Covid is still a significant problem, evidenced by the fact that Covid-19 remains the third leading cause of death in the U.S. MUSC health care providers, researchers and epidemiologists are remaining vigilant.”

Biden’s declaration could muddle the administration’s approach to addressing the spread of Covid-19 as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urge Americans to get boosters and the White House urges Congress to provide more than $22 million in new funding, according to NPR. Biden’s words have sparked Republicans to instill doubt about the need for military and other federally backed vaccine mandates.

Since vaccines became available in Aug. 2021, vaccinated people have resumed their pre-pandemic activities and mask and social distancing ordinances have faded away, said Columnist Leana S. Wen in an opinion piece for The Washington Post.

With daily social life returning to normal and global Covid-related deaths falling to the lowest level since March 2020, Wen said it’s not too far of a stretch to say the pandemic is over despite the fact that Covid is still causing 400 deaths a day, according to the CDC.

Latest COVID-19 data

South Carolina had 2,100 fewer cases of Covid-19 between Sept. 11-17 than the previous reporting period (Sept. 4-10), state officials reported Sept. 20. Four people died from the virus between Sept. 11-17.

State health officials reported 6,343 new cases of Covid-19 between Sept. 11-17. As of Sept. 20, there were 399 people who were hospitalized with Covid, 17 of whom were on ventilators. A week earlier, there were 467 people hospitalized, 13 of whom were on ventilators, state officials said.

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 Wednesday and covered Sept. 4-10. In other data:

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 68.6%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 59.7%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 22.8%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 18.8%

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

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