The COVID Outbreak Is Worse in This State Than It Is in Entire Countries

This state has more COVID-19 cases per capita than entire developing countries do.

The resurgence of coronavirus has hit the United States hard in the last month, causing the country to surpass more than three million total cases—and the numbers keep rising. However, some states are experiencing worse outbreaks than others, particularly in the South. And one southern state is in an especially awful coronavirus situation. In fact, per data from The New York Times, South Carolina is currently reporting more cases per capita than most countries are around the globe.

South Carolina averages 2,300 new coronavirus cases per one million residents per week, only being surpassed by two other states in the country: Arizona (3,300 per million) and Florida (2,700 per million). The only countries that are experiencing rates even close to that are Bahrain (2,200 per million), Qatar (1,800 per million), and Oman (1,700 per million)—three developing countries in the Middle East comprised of "large numbers of low-wage migrant workers [who] often live in cramped quarters, with subpar social services," according to The New York Times.

"Every week is worse than the last," Helmut Albrecht, MD, infectious disease specialist based in Columbia, South Carolina, told ABC News. "I don't think we can set new records anymore."

A Charleston ER nurse told The Daily Beast that she was positive South Carolina numbers will end up worse than New York's were during their peak in April. "But at least in New York, people took the virus seriously. Here, we're in a war zone that people refuse to accept," the nurse said.

Public beach access and boat ramps closed across state of South Carolina per Governor Executive Orders to combat Coronavirus.
StacieStauffSmith Photos / Shutterstock

South Carolina was one of the first states to lift stay-at-home orders. The state started reopening retail stores in late April, and started allowing indoor dining and bars to open on May 11. Columbia epidemiologist Anthony Alberg told The Daily Beast that South Carolina's recent spike in coronavirus cases is the result of state's early reopening. "Early on, South Carolina took the essential steps needed to flatten the curve," he said. "The problem has been reopening too soon, which has led to a very large upsurge in COVID-19 cases that cannot be accounted for solely due to the increased testing."

Since reopening, the coronavirus case count for South Carolina has risen from just 150 cases per day on average in April to hitting almost 1,800 in July, per data from The New York Times. The state has more than 50,000 confirmed cases and around 900 confirmed deaths—which is an increase of 999 percent.

South Carolina is even making headlines for spreading the virus to other states, as tourists flock to its coronavirus hotspot Myrtle Beach, and then return back to their states with the virus. This has resulted in states like New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut issuing a 14-day quarantine for travelers from South Carolina.

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South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has not implemented many strict statewide restrictions since reopening—including a statewide mask mandate, which has helped other states curb coronavirus spikes.

Instead, on July 10, McMaster issued a restriction on restaurants and bars selling alcohol after 11 p.m. "This is an order that a state can enforce," McMaster said during his press briefing, referring to the alcohol mandate. "The state authorities cannot enforce a statewide mandate for masks on five million people." And for more states with rising coronavirus numbers, check out The 2 States Where Coronavirus Is Spreading Fastest Will Surprise You.

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