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Staff reports | In the largest trial to date, the antiparasitic drug Ivermectin which was widely touted as an effective treatment for COVID-19 did not reduce hospitalizations in infected patients, according to Health Director-General of Malaysia Tan Sri Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah. Malaysia is also seeing a large spike in COVID-19 infections.

According to the study, those who received the drug fared no better than patients who received a placebo. 

The news may be of some use sooner rather than later, as health experts in the U.S. brace for a new wave of the coronavirus amid the surge in Western Europe. The risk is especially high, experts say, now that most of the country has done away with COVID-19 restrictions after a sharp decline in new cases. The outbreaks are being fueled by a subvariant known as omicron BA.2, which appears to be more transmissible than the original omicron strain. 

Impacts in the Charleston area are still classified as “minimal,” according to the Medical University of South Carolina’s COVID-19 tracking team. 

“I think the main message is hold tight and enjoy our low positivity rate at the moment,” said Dr. Julie Hirschhorn, director of Molecular Pathology at MUSC. “I think we will continue to see country-specific waves across the world that may be due to differences in vaccine type and schedule; waning immunity, both natural or from vaccine and easing of protective measures as well as changes in testing schemes.”

Latest COVID-19 data

Meanwhile, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control transitioned to weekly reporting of new COVID data this week, with Tuesday’s update being the first of weekly reports including data taken from March 12-15.

South Carolina health officials on Tuesday reported 986 total new cases of COVID-19, with 510 confirmed, and 145 new deaths, 46 of which were confirmed. Reports were taken between March 12-15. As of March 13, 249 COVID-19-positive individuals are hospitalized, 32.5% lower than last week. In addition, 27 COVID-19-positive individuals are ventilated, 27% lower than last week. 

With 44,453 test results reported between March 12-15, 3.8% were confirmed positive.

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 66.7%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 57.6%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 19.7%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 15.7%

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