Weekly Tri-County COVID-19 case rate drops for 1st time since early July
But MUSC expert warns of possible ‘winter wave’
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - MUSC says the seven-day average of new COVID-19 infections in the Tri-County area dropped 3% for the first time in more than two months.
MUSC College of Medicine Professor and global health specialist Dr. Michael Sweat said his team was expecting a drop to happen.
“I really do think we’re approaching the peak,” Sweat said.
But he warned people not to fall into a trap of thinking COVID-19 is gone.
“We are at a pivotal point because of schools and universities opening. I believe those are fairly strong forces for transmission,” he said. “We’ve seen huge outbreaks in colleges. And a lot of kids in schools are picking it up. School transmissions are happening, and I think that could push it back up, but I do think we’re on the path to seeing at least an initial decline. Hopefully, it’ll keep going.”
He said summer COVID surges in other places have tended to last eight to 12 weeks.
“They have a sharp curve up and a pretty sharp curve down,” he said. “Louisiana is definitely coming down, substantially and quickly. Mississippi - another sharp decline occurring. Alabama, it’s coming down, although it’s early. Georgia, same way. Florida, major decline.”
Every state that preceded South Carolina had the same pattern in about the same amount of time, he said. He called the Delta variant’s impact, which has played out over the past several weeks, shocking.
“I did not expect Delta to be as bad as it is, and it just tells you how that virus can find the little clusters of people and move around,” he said.
He also said there is a real chance of another wave coming into the winter just like last year.
“That was our worst wave yet,” he said. “There’s another potential for that, so it’s important to keep people’s eye on that.”
The most recent release from the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control showed a three-day total of 14,763 new cases and 158 deaths from COVID-19. DHEC reports three-day totals on Mondays because it does not release numbers on weekends. Monday’s totals include test results from the previous Thursday through Saturday.
The latest three-day total of new COVID-19 cases statewide released Monday showed 14,763 new cases. That figure was down almost 2,600 from the previous three-day total of 17,346.
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