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Staff reports | The Republican chairmen of the House Oversight Committee and the Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic issued letters to current and former Biden administration officials requesting testimony and documentation regarding the initial human transmission of Covid-19, according to CNBC.

The investigation is looking into the notion that Covid-19 could have leaked from a Chinese lab, CNBC reported. House Republicans also issued requested briefings from U.S. intelligence agencies and dozens of public health officials. 

Former National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins and former White House Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anthony Fauci are among those recently contacted for new testimony. Collins and Fauci have expressed that human exposure to animals infected by bats is a more likely explanation, CNBC reported.  

President Joe Biden requested U.S. intelligence agencies in May 2021 investigate how the pandemic began, but the effort was inconclusive as scientists could not definitively pinpoint the cause.

The Biden administration announced Jan. 30 that national Covid-19 public health emergency protocols expire May 11, according to The New York Times. One of the more impactful changes to public health policy will affect availability of free Covid tests, treatments and vaccines. Out-of-pocket costs will apply to services, which were previously free under the public health emergency.

State health officials encourage residents to refer to the CDC’s community levels map to track the severity of Covid-19. As of Feb. 14, Charleston County’s community level is low, which is in line with the previous reporting period. 

For the week ending Feb. 11, Covid-related hospitalizations in Charleston were down 41.7% in comparison to the week ending Feb. 4. For the week ending Feb. 11, state officials reported 41 people died from Covid-19 — 17 fewer deaths than the previous week. In this period, 4,799 new cases were reported — 664 fewer than the previous reporting period.

Latest COVID-19 data

As of Dec. 20, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) will no longer include data on ventilations and weekly trends due to a new system of tracking adopted from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

SCDHEC transitioned to weekly reporting of new Covid data in December 2022. The most recent numbers were reported Tuesday and covered Jan. 15-21. In other data:

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 69.6%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 60.7%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 23.5%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 19.5%

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

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