EDITORIAL: Reason for S.C. concern over COVID-19
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EDITORIAL: Reason for S.C. concern over COVID-19

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Some say the media are making too much of the coronavirus threat, particularly in a "rural" state such as South Carolina.

New polling indicates, however, that South Carolinians have real concerns about COVID-19. Clemson University Palmetto Poll results suggest just over 75% of South Carolinians are at least moderately concerned about the pandemic in their area, and almost half of South Carolinians are somewhat worried or extremely worried about getting sick with the virus.

Further analyses from the poll found the following regarding South Carolinians’ attitudes toward COVID-19:

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• Black South Carolinians are particularly concerned relative to white respondents. An estimated 68% of black South Carolinians are extremely concerned about the COVID-19 outbreak whereas an estimated 27% of white South Carolinians are extremely concerned. An estimated 67% of black South Carolinians are somewhat or extremely worried about themselves getting sick with COVID-19 compared to an estimated 46% of white South Carolinians.

• South Carolina Democrats are generally more concerned than South Carolina Republicans. An estimated 71% of South Carolina Democrats are somewhat or extremely worried they will become sick with COVID-19 compared to just 37% of South Carolina Republicans.

Nationwide, with nearly 75% of patients hospitalized for coronavirus being at least 50 years old and around 90% having pre-existing conditions, a state needs to know where it stands. Add to the vulnerability factor that many people are harmed by the economic effects of the pandemic.

Research by the personal-finance website WalletHub found South Carolina to be the ninth most vulnerable state to the coronavirus.

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Here are the state's results (1=most, 25=average) https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-most-vulnerable-populations-to-coronavirus/73821/:

• 10th – Share of population aged 65 and older

• 13th – Share of population diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

• 11th – Share of unsheltered homeless population

• 29th – Share of households in poverty not receiving food stamps

• 21st – Unemployment insurance recipiency rate

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Orangeburg Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter and others have said the coronavirus' impact in South Carolina is bringing even more to the fore the disparities that exist among black and white, urban and rural, rich and poor.

Our stating that addressing those disparities is a need may be mastering the obvious, but the coronavirus is showing us again that doing so should be a priority.

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