CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A majority of deaths related to COVID-19 in South Carolina are linked to pre-existing conditions, most notably, cardiovascular disease.
According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, cardiovascular disease was present in 60.3% of all coronavirus-related deaths in the state.
Diabetes mellitus was present in 45.8% of deaths.
Neurologic/neurodevelopment/intellectual disability was present in 27.7% of deaths.
“[Organs] are all connected and so if the weakest link is affected already before you get diagnosed with COVID or any other medical illness, the whole system becomes compromised and those are on a spectrum of severe to less severe consequences,” Interventional Cardiologist Frederick Funke, MD, said.
Funke is the Medical Director of Cardiology at Trident Medical Center. He said South Carolina already has a high percentage of smokers, which contributes to a large caseload of cardiovascular disease.
“If there ever was time to give anybody an excuse out there to try to live healthier, it’s the threat of getting COVID in the background of these pre-existing conditions,” he said.