COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Delta variant of COVID-19 is taking the nation by storm, even here in South Carolina.
Hospitals are back at almost full capacity while many in the state still aren't vaccinated.
“I do wish there was more caution as we move forward especially with the Delta variant," said Columbia resident Almi Mansaray. "Even now, I’m vaccinated but I still try to wear a mask wherever I go and use hand sanitizer just because, you know, as things get weirder, we don’t want things to get back to the worst part of it.”
“We understand the cases, and whenever we’re in an enclosed area such as the supermarket or any type of store or restaurant we do wear a mask even though we’ve been vaccinated but I think the virus is going to morph several times and we have no idea when it’s going to happen,” Barbara and Tony DiBartolo said.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Friday that there are over 3,500 new cases in the state with 15 covid related deaths. While things may seem different in 2021, those numbers are eerily close to where they were this time in 2020.
Let’s take a look at the data:
As of Wednesday, the state has a 14.6% positive rate of COVID-19 cases.
And, if we take a look at August of 2020, there were just over 1,000 new cases, 16 deaths, and a 15% positive rate.
“I watched a lot of people get really sick so I think if you can do anything to keep your friends, your family, your neighbors safe, like why not?" said Christina Plakas. "So, I think mask up and get vaccinated.”
Data shows it’s the younger populations that are being affected. Individuals 12-24 in South Carolina have the lowest vaccination rate and the delta variant seems to be targeting them more than previous strains.
“The vaccination rate is the highest in above 60; so, it’s shifting to unvaccinated populations wherever they are," Dr. Helmut Albrecht, infectious disease doctor at Prisma Health said.
“I have a bunch of younger siblings, right, and they have to go back to school and there’s not as many regulations," Mansaray said. "They’re really concerned about them catching it as well because masks aren’t mandated.”
“Children who are not vaccinated and are not following the mitigation strategies obviously have a higher chance of getting COVID," Dr. Anna Kathryn Burch of Prisma said
“I feel that everybody should get the COVID vaccine if you’re old enough, get it. Not only protects your family but people that you don’t even know around you, in stores, everywhere," Barbara DiBartolo said.
Health officials are urging those eligible to get the vaccine as soon as possible.