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Meeting of "accelerateSC" on April 23, 2020 in Columbia, SC
Zach Pippen, Office of The Governor

While the state’s political and business leadership is focused on bringing South Carolina's economy back as soon as possible, it is becoming increasingly clear to them that restoring public trust that it’s safe to go back to work, travel and shop will be key to unlocking the economy. And the same holds true for re-opening schools.

Who Decides if College Football Returns in the Fall?

Apr 30, 2020

College athletic directors are optimistic about the prospects of a 2020 college football season. According to a recent poll by Stadium Sports Network, 99% think there will be a season, though when it will begin is another question. The network polled 130 athletic directors. 114 responded. 

Local Stores Face Challenges Re-opening in Charleston

Apr 29, 2020
Shopper looks through store window on King Street in Charleston
Victoria Hansen

It's one of those warm days when a little free air conditioning would feel good strolling along King Street in Charleston.  But despite the governor's executive order allowing retailers to re-open during the coronavirus pandemic, many store doors remain padlocked.

"We've been through a few world wars and a couple of depressions," says Gary Flynn, part owner of M. Dumas and Sons.  "We'll get through this too."

The upscale men's clothing store at the corner of King and Society Streets is open, and that's not surprising.  The business has been around for 103 years.

CDC

The exact numbers keep changing, but the percentages have remained relatively steady. And they show that African-Americans are South Carolina’s most disproportionately affected group when it comes to COVID-19 cases and deaths.

But they also show that men and women overall are disproportionally affected (though less so than African-Americans), in two different ways.

Coronavirus Risk Causes Anxiety in Expectant Mothers

Apr 24, 2020
Side view of pregnant woman, sitting.
Government of Alberta [CC0 1.0] via Flickr

Everyone is taking extra precautions to avoid the risk of getting the coronavirus and its resulting disease, COVID-19.  But one group of people seems especially fearful of getting the virus:  expectant mothers.  Dr. Stephanie Berg, a Prisma Health psychiatrist who treats pregnant and post-partum mothers with depression and anxiety, said pregnancy and anxiety go hand in hand, but now she's seeing normal nerves shift into concern about getting the coronavirus.

SCDC Photo

So far, South Carolina’s correctional system has managed to duck the high infection rates plaguing prisons in states like Ohio and Mississippi. According to Bryan Stirling, director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections, 35 of the department's nearly 5,000 staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus. Three of those work at Kirkland Correctional Institution, where a 69-year-old inmate with pre-existing health conditions, has tested positive. As of this report, the inmate is in the hospital and is the sole positive among the inmate population in the state.

SCDC also has had one death – a guard at Lee Correctional. His family has requested that he not be further identified, but Stirling confirmed that the guard did die from COVID-19.

During the past six months David Beasley, former South Carolina Governor and current Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), warned world leaders 2020 would be “the worst humanitarian crisis year since World War II.” In a recent interview with the PBS Newshour, Beasley cited conflicts in Yemen, Syria and South Sudan; along with climate extremes and desert locusts destroying crops in East Africa and South Asia as causes for the warning.

Nick Youngson [CC BY-SA 3.0] Alpha Stock Images

  South Carolina  Governor Henry McMaster announced this week that some retail businesses in the state are being allowed to re-open.  McMaster hopes the loosening of restrictions on certain retail businesses will re-ignite the state’s economy which prior to start of the pandemic was booming.  With thousands of businesses closed, and thousands of people out of work business transactions have slowed tremendously. As a result, anticipated tax revenues for local and state government are expected to drop dramatically.

Sven Scheuermeier / Unsplash

Word that a Smithfield pork processing plant in South Dakota, where 5 percent of the nation's pork is processed, sent ripples across the U.S. food industry. It didn't help that just a few days later, another Smithfield plant – this one much closer to home, in Tar Heel, North Carolina – shuttered after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

The closures prompted a far-reaching question: How secure is the food supply? 

Mary Ashley Barbot of Charleston was born with congenital nephrotic sydrome.  She's been on a kidney transplant list for seven years.
Stacy Pearsall

Mary Ashley Barbot of Charleston was supposed to be in Los Angeles, California this week; not for vacation but for a potentially lifesaving treatment.  The coronavirus pandemic put the brakes on her plans and accelerated the concerns of her already worried parents.

The 16 year-old was born with congenital nephrotic syndrome which required she undergo a kidney transplant at just 20 months old.  The condition also caused development delays and hearing loss.  Mary Ashley's body later rejected the kidney.  She's been on a transplant waiting list for seven years.

Coronavirus Takes Heavy Toll on Retail Industry

Apr 20, 2020
File photo of produce in a grocery store
Santeri Viinamäki [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

For several weeks now, the coronavirus has kept people at home, socially distanced and away from work. Among the other disorienting effects, it also has brought to a halt the busy hum of commerce at many businesses in South Carolina and across the nation. 

Though it is temporary - but of unknown duration - the national shutdown has had a predictably devastating effect on many facets of the economy.  One of the hardest hit sectors has been the retail industry.  In South Carolina, retail contributes a whopping $31 billion to the state's economy. 

provided by Steffi Kong

Steffi Kong grew up in Singapore. At the onset of the century, the country was in the path of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, a coronavirus similar to COVID-19. Kong contracted SARS, and beat it, but "because of that, my immune system was very compromised," she says.

Three years later, she caught H1N1, which was the swine flu that proved much deadlier and much more far-reaching. 

So to say that Kong was looking forward to seeing her family and walking in Converse College's commencement ceremony next month is an undestatement. But now that the Spartanburg-based college has shifted graduation to a virtual ceremony, Kong and her classmates -- the second-to-last class to ever graduate from an all-female Converse College -- will have to attend online in May.

File photo: Medical University of SC Hospital, Ashley River Tower, Charleston, SC
TheDigitel [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

In South Carolina’s battle against the coronavirus, hospitals across the state are at the forefront.  But as the first line of defense they are incurring huge financial losses, and having to layoff thousands of workers.

Town of Clemson

At 19, Sudarshan Sridharan is no stranger to the business world. The Fort Mill native served as the director of the Youth Project before he turned 18, overseeing projects by young people to combat homelessness in the Southeast.

He then cofounded a cryptocurrency and blockchain consulting firm before moving on to his current for-profit business, Second Reality Interactive, which powers digital watch parties for eSports events.

The Clemson University student runs another company as well: a not-for-profit online business that just launched less than a month ago as a way to help Clemson’s downtown restaurants survive the weight of a quarantine that has left the usually bustling city quiet.

 Tornado damage near Cedar Island and Fairlawn in Moncks Corner, about 30 miles north of Charleston, S.C.
Reagan Prince

It's being called the most significant severe weather outbreak in South Carolina in 12 years and already it's claimed nine lives.

"This is a very rare situation that I've only faced working in different parts of the country several times in my career," said Richard Okulski, the meterologist in charge for the National Weather Service in Columbia.

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