COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina set a grim record Sunday with 4,370 cases reporting in a single day. However, experts warn this new record is not the peak.
Epidemiologist and chair at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health, Dr. Anthony Alberg, said the numbers recently reported by the Department of Health and Environmental Control reflect the surge in cases from the Thanksgiving holiday and not from Christmas. He fears the numbers will only go up from here through the winter.
“The winter holiday season with Christmas activities and so on likely led to congregate settings and increase transmission of the coronavirus. If that’s true we will see a significant acceleration in the number of cases that will lead us into mid-January, usually, it’s two weeks out, into mid-February to see the peak,” Alberg explained.
Experts have long predicted a long, second wave of infections, Alberg said. South Carolina is experiencing this spike in cases later than some states because of the state’s warmer climate, which allowed people to spend more time outdoors where the virus is less likely to spread.
Alberg also expressed concern with the high percent positive rate in South Carolina. In recent DHEC reports, the percent positive was in the mid to low 20s. Experts say the spread of the virus is at a safe or more manageable level when the percent positive is less than four or five percent.
“It is also saying, in general, there is a high level of transmission in the community, so it’s really hard to go places and there [are] numbers of people and they are all uninfected,” Alberg said about the percent positive in South Carolina.
While cases continue to surge, Alberg offers people some hope that with the vaccine becoming more widely available there is now an end in sight to this pandemic. But he says now is not the time to become complacent.
“We are at the crisis. This is the crisis point. When we talk about peaks and significant activity, we are at the second wave and we need to work through it,” he said.