Omicron variant to gain foothold without higher vaccination rates

The emergence of a new coronavirus and the world’s nations’ attempts to keep it at bay confirm health experts’ longstanding warnings: The coronavirus will remain as long as vaccination rates remain low.

The more the disease spreads among unvaccinated populations, the more chances it gets to mutate, potentially becoming more dangerous or more resistant to existing vaccines, health experts say. This prolongs the dangers of the pandemic for everyone, including those who have already taken precautionary measures and followed guidelines.

President Joe Biden announced a ban on travel from eight countries in southern Africa, where the variant was first identified. Though health experts and world leaders say the ban would not stop the pandemic.

“Here’s what it does: It gives us time,” Biden said.

In hopes a travel ban would slow the omicron variant’s progress toward the U.S., Biden urges Americans to get vaccinated and eligible residents get booster shots ahead of time.

Latest COVID-19 data

South Carolina health officials reported 485 total cases of COVID-19 Nov. 30, with 358 confirmed. One new death was also confirmed.

With 6,971 tests reported Monday, 7.3% were confirmed positive.

Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 63%
Percentage of of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 54.9%
Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 7.0%
Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 0.4%