A new public service campaign launched by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control featuring prominent state and local officials aims to increase awareness among groups at higher risk for the coronavirus and encourage residents to help prevent its spread.
Current videos feature U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and Dr. Linda Bell, DHEC state epidemiologist. Other well-known South Carolinians in fields including athletics and entertainment will also be spotlighted, according to a news release from DHEC.
“COVID-19 has impacted certain groups harder, including those of us who are older and may suffer from conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease, and it has had a devastating impact on African Americans,” Clyburn said in the release.
A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report included race and ethnicity data from 580 patients with lab-confirmed COVID-19. The report found that 45% of individuals for whom such data was available were white, compared to 55% of the surrounding community. Thirty-three percent of patients were black, compared to 18% of the surrounding community.
On Sunday, DHEC announced 141 new cases of the coronavirus and eight additional deaths in South Carolina, bringing the state’s recorded totals to 6,626 cases and 275 deaths. Two of the eight deaths occurred in Richland County, where 18 of the new cases were located.
“I want to thank the many South Carolinians who have been making great sacrifices to protect themselves and our communities from COVID-19,” Bell said. “But the virus is still spreading. We can’t let up now. By making these PSA videos available, it’s another tool that we can use in our effort to combat this pandemic and help save lives."p