COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) – With the start of college football season in South Carolina happening at the same time as a third-day holiday weekend in the midst of a surge in COVID-19 cases, health experts are concerned things can get worse.
“We will have a further uptick with the universities opening up. We will have a further uptick with the schools not having masks on and creating an enormous number of cases. And then, we will have Labor Day travel on top of this. So yes, there will be a further uptick,” said Dr. Helmut Albrecht the Chair of the Department of Medicine for Prisma Health Medical Group.
Medical experts are already concerned about the rate of new cases in South Carolina.
The Palmetto State is leading the country in new daily COVID-19 infections when population size is taken into account, according to The New York Times.
The state has eight children on ventilators with COVID-19 and 17 total in critical care, according to the SC Children’s Hospital Collective.
And according to a model from the University of Washington, South Carolina is projected to lose about 2,000 more people to the virus by the end of the year.
Dr. Albrecht said reports of cases peaking in other states are not what is likely to happen in South Carolina.
“It is peaking at a way too high level and it is not peaking in the southeast and the deep south that just have a larger contingency of people who can be infected,” he said.
Albrecht explained hospitals are starting to see older people come in sick with COVID-19 again, often infected by younger people.
“We will go up this is how it works,” he said.
For those who are vaccinated and want to enjoy the long weekend, he says it’s hard to completely eliminate the risk of contracting the virus. However, he said if someone who is vaccinated wants to gather indoors with other vaccinated people without a mask, the spread is low and can be made even lower if people attending the event are typically cautious about potentially being exposed to COVID.
However, he said being in a crowded arena with people yelling and screaming, is risky even for vaccinated people. Therefore, he suggests masking up if someone is determined to go to a game this weekend.
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