It's National South Carolina Day! - Dr. Williams Latest Thoughts
Well, here we go again. Over the last week, Covid numbers seem to be rising again, and the government agencies are sending all kinds of mixed signals. So, what do we believe and what do we do? Doesn’t it feel like Groundhog Day?
For starters, DHEC reported on the 26th the lowest daily count in months with a percent positive rate of approximately 8 percent (which is reportedly the national average daily percent positive rate). Then, on Saturday, DHEC claimed that there had been a glitch, and the daily count for Wednesday was actually almost double the amount reported, with a much higher percent positive rate.
That’s a pretty big glitch, don’t you think? And then, on the 29th, a local news report claimed that DHEC has instructed labs to only report positive test results, and not negative ones, which would affect the percent positive rates. DHEC (which is an agency made of “experts,” and is supposed to be apolitical), keeps sounding alarm that the percent positive rate in the state is too high. But withholding negative results would drive this percent positive number upwards. Hmmm.
Increasing numbers are not surprising, though, are they? With colleges returning, we have been expecting a rise. In fact, Richland County accounts for some of the increased numbers as that county (home to USC) reported a huge spike. I looked at the USC website. Apparently, there are approximately 500 Covid cases on campus, with only a handful occurring in employees. But I can’t find any information as to whether a single student has been hospitalized.
My guess is that the answer is, “no.” And here is a question or scenario to ponder…We have learned that once you test positive, that you may continue to test positive for months as a person sheds the virus for up to 3 months. We have also learned that to date, the rate of reinfection is exceedingly rare.
So if I am a coed at USC (I wish), and I came in contact with a known positive, up until last Monday, I would have been advised to undergo a test. But what if I had been exposed to and became infected with Covid while having fun at the beach back in June with my friends, and never got tested?
So, does my new positive test I received at USC meaningful if I still have no symptoms and actually became infected with the virus in June? Could I have been positive all summer? And if the students at USC were not tested before returning to campus, this scenario could explain some of the spiking numbers in schools across the state.
Theses are the scenarios that may have led to the CDC to change the guidelines last Monday for testing.
The updated guidelines are geared more for testing only symptomatic patients. Prior to the change in CDC guidelines last Monday, everyone in contact with a known positive was advised to undergo testing. This change in policy is coming under fire, with many claiming politics is the reason for the reversal. I read somewhere that it was the Dept. of HHS and not the CDC that was responsible for the change.
But putting politics aside, doesn’t it make sense to test only those with symptoms? Ask yourself if you ever had a flu test because you were exposed to someone with the flu, even if you had no symptoms. In my entire life, I have never had a flu test, and trust me, I have been around many who have had the flu through the years.
And now here’s another thing to ponder…All of the data shows that the elderly population has been disproportionately affected by Covid. Well, what age group may not have immunity against MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella)? Exactly! The MMR vaccine only became available in 1971 as a combo vaccine, and the measles vaccine was only available starting in 1963, with the addition of the mumps vaccine in 1969, and the rubella vaccine in 1969. It makes you wonder if there could be a link, or whether the MMR vaccine confers some sort of immunity?
Before I sign off for the week, I just want to pass along the fact that the hospital, ICU, and ventilator utilization at Roper has continued to decline. I will keep you update this week of any meaningful change, especially with the uptick in Covid cases last week.
But in the absence of a rise in the hospital numbers, and in the spirit of National South Carolina Day (which is today), let’s power on!
And in the spirit of National South Carolina Day, we are offering a flash sale on for gift cards for today only. Hooray to the Palmetto State!