U.S. Surgeon General, South Carolina leaders weigh in on COVID-19 crisis

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 12:16 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Governor Henry McMaster (R-SC) is taking new steps to crack down on COVID-19.

Next week, in-door seating at restaurants will be capped at 50 percent. There will be social distancing inside and patrons will not be allowed to congregate at bars. Up until now, these precautions were strongly encouraged but now the practices will be mandatory.

Masks will be mandatory in state government buildings, and McMaster is pushing local leaders to strengthen mask ordinances.

With about 80 percent of the state’s hospital ICU beds in use, there’s urgency to curb cases. You can monitor South Carolina’s COVID-19 reports here, as well as the state’s hospital bed availability here.

As COVID-19 continues to plague society, America’s Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, sits down with DC Correspondent Alana Austin to talk about his prognosis for the country. You can watch the full interview with Adams below.

“We can turn this thing around in a few weeks to a few months if we all do our part,” said Adams.

Adams – a key member of the White House coronavirus task force – says returning to normal means Americans step up and follow the three Ws: wear a face covering, watch your distance, and wash your hands.

“We need to help people understand this is not an inconvenience, but it is a tool that allows us get to where we need to be,” said Adams.

South Carolina’s department of education is pushing districts to include in-person instruction options in the upcoming school year. Adams says those decisions will vary from community to community.

“The number one determinant is whether or not you have a lot of spread in the community,” said Adams on school reopening discussions.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says if everyone following the public safety guidelines, he thinks schools can reopen.

“I think we’re going to have a vaccine that we can deal effectively with the virus much sooner than I thought. It’s time now to try to go back to school safely,” said Graham.

Democratic House Majority Whip, Rep. Jim Clyburn – a former teacher – expressed reservations about anyone rushing back to the classrooms.

“What happens if you go back, and all of a sudden something breaks out? Who’s going to be responsible? I really think these school districts better be very very careful,” said Clyburn.

Kids make up a very small portion of life-threatening COVID-19 cases, but child hospitalizations are spiking in states like Florida, despite schools closed. Reopening critics are also worried about protecting the health for faculty and staff, and their families.

The CDC recently issued new guidelines to help school districts prepare for the new academic year in the age of COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 Gray DC. All rights reserved.

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