Doctor says COVID-19 cases in South Carolina could decline as state leads nation in case rate

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — A Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) doctor said COVID-19 cases could decline soon, as South Carolina leads the nation in COVID-19 cases by population.

Dr. Michael Sweat said the main reason for the ranking is the delta variant. He said ever since the initial surge, it’s been extremely transmissible. 

“It’s not a race you want to win,” Sweat said.

According to data from the CDC, over the last seven days, South Carolina had roughly 680 Covid-19 cases per 100,00 people. While the case rate is down from about 736 the week before, the state still leads the country with the highest case rate by population.


South Carolina leads the nation in COVID-19 cases by population, CDC data shows

“It’s a very high case rate,” Sweat said. “Right now, it’s causing a lot of problems in the hospital systems, but the potential good news is there are some signals that we’re beginning to see some declines.”

Last week, Tennessee was in the lead with the most COVID-19 cases by population. As of this week, Tennessee isn’t even in the top five.

“We’ve been running neck and neck with Tennessee,” Sweat said. “We have a very high case rate in the state.”

As director of the COVID epidemiology project at MUSC, Sweat said South Carolina could be at its peak. This is due to a pause in vaccination rates and school transmission. However, he predicts cases will soon decline.

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According to SCDHEC’S dashboard, there has already been a slight decrease in the rolling seven-day average.

“There are signals coming that this is likely to begin to decline, it’s only going to decline if people continue to be vigilant and mask and avoid indoor crowded settings, those kind of things,” Sweat said. “I can’t emphasize enough the importance of vaccination.”

Sweat believes a decrease in cases could be in the near future, however, he said not to rule out another potential surge in the upcoming winter.

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