CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Nearly 5,000 cases of COVID-19 were reported on Friday in South Carolina. Dr. Kenneth Perry, a Lowcountry emergency doctor says this is the spike we’ve been expecting.
“With holiday parties and people getting together and with everyone just being around people that they haven’t been around for eight, nine, ten months…This was inevitable,” said Dr. Perry, a member of the South Carolina College of Emergency Physicians.
Those family Christmases were a much-needed comfort during an uncomfortable year.
Dr. Perry says people getting too comfortable could be part of the reason for the spike.
“People are around their family members during Christmas and holidays and they’re going to be taking their masks off because they know people, they’re comfortable with these people but it doesn’t mean that they should and should have done so because they were probably being exposed to COVID-19 with realizing it,” he said.
According to Dr. Perry, earlier in the pandemic, around July, the Lowcountry was generally seeing higher spikes and a higher death rate than the rest of the state.
Now the upstate is seeing the bigger spike.
“If you look at the state level and the county-level data, it seems like the upstate has seen a much different response to the post-holiday sort of end of the year spike than they did back in July.”
Some South Carolina hospitals have been seeing fewer available ICU beds.
Part of the reason for that is not because of COVID-19 patients, but because people have been skipping or delaying their regular check ups.
“We’re now starting to see people who are more ill,” said Dr. Perry. “Not necessarily from COVID, but from heart disease that’s left unchecked. Or organ disfunction that was never caught.”
Dr. Perry thinks the beginning of the end of the pandemic is here, but for now, and until the general public is widely vaccinated, he says people should continue to wear masks and avoid large groups.