CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Officials at the Medical University of South Carolina say they are shocked after they say experts at the hospital estimated statewide immunity to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has hit about 60%.
“I’m a little shocked,” said Michael Sweat, Ph.D., leader of the MUSC COVID-19 Epidemiology Intelligence Project. “But as we went back through the numbers, it was kind of hard to argue.”
According to data from MUSC, the Charleston tri-county area, which includes Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, has a combined estimated 52% immunity. While Pickens, McCormick and Greenville counties have the highest estimated immunity, all over 70%.
Saluda, Jasper and Berkeley counties have the lowest, coming in below 40% each.
MUSC’s Epidemiology Intelligence Project team has a website which shows estimates for every county which can be found here.
According to MUSC, vaccinations are one part of the formula that helps estimate immunity.
“We take into account whether you’ve had one vaccination or two. You just get partial credit for immunity if you’ve only had one dose,” Sweat said. “Once you’ve had two, we give you full credit.”
Other factors include documented and estimated infections, and the length of time people keep their immunity to the coronavirus.
MUSC officials also reported that COVID cases in the Tri-county area dropped 7% over the past week.
“However, Sweat cautions people not to let the good news obscure the fact that about 40% of South Carolinians may still be vulnerable to the coronavirus because they haven’t been vaccinated or infected,” MUSC officials said. “People who aren’t eligible to get a vaccine yet, such as children, are included in his estimates since they can get sick and transmit the virus to other people.”