Rev. J.T. Barber / YouTube image

The inequities of COVID-19 are complicated, but one trend stands out above all others – African-Americans in South Carolina are affected by – and dying from – the disease at much higher rates than Caucasians.

So what does that have to do with church? 

Well, the relationship between African-Americans and most public institutions is also complicated.

Stretching the Supply of N95 Masks

May 12, 2020

With personal protective equipment in short supply, researchers are figuring out how to fill in the gaps and stretch supplies. 

One researcher at Clemson University is developing new methods to clean and sanitize medical masks that healthcare providers use.

Dr. Mark Johson, professor of material science and engineering, and director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing at Clemson, joins Vince Kolb-Lugo to discuss ways to cleanse N95 masks as well as how the coronavirus has impacted manufacturers in South Carolina.

Mask Makers Help Keep Health Care Workers Safe

May 12, 2020
Individual seamstresses and small businesses are making face masks to help workers in hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Both small businesses and individuals have enlisted in an effort to help hospitals, doctors' offices  and  employees of other institutions to protect themselves from the coronavirus by making reusable cloth masks, gowns or other protective equipment.

Graphic of the U. S. Capitol building
Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

Tuesday, May 12, 10:00 a.m. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee is hearing from leaders of the Trump administration's coronavirus response about safely reopening the country. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are among those testifying. Watch the proceedings live.

File photo of the S.C. Senate in session
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

This year’s session of the SC General Assembly was interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak back in March before lawmakers were able to approve next year’s state operating budget.

So, they plan to return to Columbia for a couple of days this week to pass a resolution to continue the current year’s budget beyond the end of the state fiscal year on June 30th.

Legislative leaders hope to meet again in September to enact a new budget.  By then they should have a better idea of just how much of an impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the state’s economy.

51 year-old Chris Varner of Anderson found love late in life.  He's been married to Gay Stanley for nearly a year.  They've spent much of their time together, apart.  He worries he may never see her again.

"I honestly believe it would be the end of her if she catches it," says Varner.

His 48 year-old spouse is vulnerable to the coronavirus.  She has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.  It's a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

The gutting of newsroom staffs, the rise of social media, the absence of solid answers during a pandemic ... All things that have made for an information environment that can be questionable at best, dangerous at worst.

So how does a media consumer become a savvy media consumer; one who can spot real information and solid journalism on news sites and equally spot bogus news, personal opinions, and general quackery on social media sites or even actual news outlets?

Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services during 2019 Midlands Gives Event. The nonprofit has furloughed more than half its staff due to Covid-19.
Flock and Rally

According to a recent survey by the South Carolina Community Loan fund, many nonprofits say they will run out of funding by June; 80 percent indicated they will be out money by September.

Elizabeth Houck works with Midlands Gives, an 18-hour online giving event powered by the Central Carolina Community Foundation. For the past six years, the event has raised almost 10 million dollars for local nonprofits. Houck said this year’s event, in the midst of a pandemic, the need to give organizations is even greater.

Laekwon Oliver / Unsplash

The coronavirus quarantine’s effect on rents in South Carolina and bordering metros has largely been one of flattening out, according to data released Thursday by ApartmentList.

ApartmentList’s April market report shows that over 13 sampled areas in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia, average rent prices since March have moved little more than a half-percent at most in either direction, a trend mirrored in statewide rent prices over the three states.

Volunteers at Golden Corner Food Pantry in Oconee County prepare bundles of food for drive-through clients. It's one of the many adjustments the pantry, and others in the Upstate and Pee Dee, have had to make because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

Food pantries in the Upstate and Pee Dee have had to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic on the fly, like everyone else. They’ve seen need for food increase with spikes in South Carolinians out of work, as much as they seem increased demands on their time, energy, resources, and budgets.

But they’re also learning a lot about themselves, about the people who visit, and about the ones who help them with their missions. Here are three pantries and what they’re facing in the pandemic. is a new website developed to put health care providers, first responders and other workers in touch with state manufacturers who can supply personal protective equipment (PPE).

In this day of spreading coronavirus, a new website has been developed to put health care providers, first responders and various companies in touch with South Carolina manufacturers who can produce essentially all of the supplies required by hospitals, plants or anyone in need of safety equipment. was the result of a collaboration between the South Carolina Hospital Association, the S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership (SCMEP), the S.C. Dept. of Commerce and SC Bio.

David Martin / Unsplash

Update: The South Carolina Supreme Court announced it would extend the state eviction moratorium after this story published. It will extend the stay on evictions and foreclosures for another two weeks.

South Carolina’s state moratorium on evictions for unpaid rent is set to expire on Friday. While the federal moratorium continues until at least Aug.24, the expiration of the statewide stay on evictions could translate into thousands of lawsuits, says Adam Protheroe, a housing attorney at SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center in Columbia.

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.