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Staff reports  | Health experts across the nation are working toward a universal COVID-19 vaccine after struggling to keep up with surges from the delta variant (2021) and the later  omicron variant, now on the downturn, according to a report from The Washington Post.

Meanwhile in South Carolina, case numbers continue to drop, as outlined in the chart below.

Omicron swept across the globe only to wane before scientists were able to develop  a variant-specific vaccine. Volunteers are only just now receiving experimental jabs to combat omicron specifically, and already people are beginning to talk about post-omicron normalcy. This has left some experts and scientists befuddled about their routines, according to David R. Martinez, a viral immunologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“You don’t want to play this whack-a-mole approach,” Martinez said in a Washington Post article. “This could go on forever.”

But this “whack-a-mole” approach has become muscle-memory for many vaccine manufacturers, he said. In looking to break the cycle, some researchers are designing vaccines meant to offer broader protection to repel all known and future variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 

No timeframe exists on when such a vaccine could be expected. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, has urged patience in the public, and urgency in developers. But according to the National Institutes of Health, there are still some gaps in health knowledge that need to be filled in order to develop a universal vaccine. 

Latest COVID-19 data

South Carolina health officials on Tuesday reported 1,210 total new cases of COVID-19, with 845 confirmed, and two new deaths, both confirmed.

With 8,441 tests reported Tuesday, 11.5% were positive, a slight uptick from recent reports, but far lower than the percentage seen in past weeks.

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 66.8%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 57.5%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 17.9%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 13.3%

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