By Annie Rigby
With the county, city, state and country on a lockdown I posed a question. Who would feel safe returning to normal life at work and/or school on May 15 as the current Executive Order by Gov. Henry McMaster. The responses were divided and opinions joined in unison.
Using only first names of those who responded to the question, “Would you feel safe returning to a new form of normal on May 15. The results are only opinions. Would you feel comfortable to return to school or work?
Pam responded, “Nope, too soon.” Yolanda said, “No, we won’t be safe at that time.” Debbie wrote, “We are still climbing in new cases daily; until we level off, stay home.” She further expressed, “There are so many factors to consider, but safety has to outweigh them all. Even if tests have flaws, they should be more available.” She and her husband are staying home. Kimberly said, “No, with the number of people getting diagnosed daily here, I don’t feel comfortable.” Katheryn said it all in one word, “No.” Mia wrote, “No, but my work is out until August anyway.” Angela wrote, “100 percent nope.”
The other side of the coin was Peg who said, “I feel that it would be completely safe to return to business as usual and it is necessary for people to survive and hopefully for business to be able to stay afloat.” Joyce said, “Absolutely. I’ve felt safe from the beginning. I haven’t worried about this virus any more than the hundreds of other viruses that float around out there.” She continued, “A virus is a virus and all can be contagious.” She stated that she doesn’t want to live her life in fear, and we all will die sooner or later, of one thing or another. With a chuckle she said, “Everyone wants to go to Heaven, but no one wants to die to get there.” Joyce added a bit of advice, “Live happy and free.” Veronica agreed wholeheartedly with Joyce’s thoughts. Stacey said, “I feel comfortable going back to life as usual. I haven’t really worried about this virus any more than I worry about the flu and all the deaths that are caused by that.” She continued, “I don’t think it’s ever going to go away. We can’t live like this the rest of our lives but I will do whatever is decided on and just may not be happy about it.” Tommy said, “Yes.”
There is yet four who have not said yes or no, possibly seeking more facts from scientists to make a comfortable decision. Kelli wrote, “I truly don’t know how I feel right now.” Kent said, “A peak can stay peaked indefinitely, it is a wait and see thing.” Anna said, “I don’t know. I’m ready to work again, but I don’t know if it’s practical.” Only one person responded they will wait on the government to say it is safe; Johnny said, “Not until the President and the Governor say that it is safe.”
Whatever the opinion, it is divided. No one in the medical profession responded to the question and they are the ones who see the virus first hand.
Seven no’s, five yes’s and four wait for more facts is the opinion prior to the announcement that the new projections showing the peak of the COVID-19 virus to hit South Carolina between April 30 and May 2 according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Dr. Brannon Traxler with DHEC said during the peak, South Carolina could see up to 2,000 new cases per week and up to 16 deaths in a single day.
Local doctor David Geier said the delayed peak date could actually be a good thing. “That may actually be a sign that mitigation efforts are working somewhat. The goal wasn’t necessarily to get rid of the number of cases. The goal was to flatten the curve and spread out the cases that needed to be in the hospital and the ICU so it didn’t overwhelm the system,” Geier said. “So if anything, that may actually be a good sign that we sort of push our peak back and hopefully in pushing it back we also limit the size of the peak.” Geier stated the reason South Carolina may be behind in the peak is there are fewer urban areas; less transit travel and people are following the executive orders and guidelines slowing the virus.
The goals are for the peak to be more of a plateau as long as the system is not overwhelmed the number of new cases and fatalities drop. There are no shortages of beds or ICU beds, but the state will need 100 more ventilators during the peak.
Gov. Henry McMaster said, “Compliance has been good across the board and all the things we have asked people to do.” Social distancing, nonessential businesses are closed, public accesses to the beach and boat landings are closed, those in South Carolina abiding by the executive orders and following the order to stay home or work may slow the process of the virus. Caution and encouragement to continue to follow the guidelines as well as washing hands, wearing a face mask, thoroughly cleaning areas that could be effected by the virus or coming home from public places.
The opinion is that the pandemic may be nearing the end for South Carolina by the end of May 2020.