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Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

Back in January, I sat down with Dr. Melissa Nolan, an epidemiologist at the University of South Carolina, in her lab at the Arnold School of Public Health in Columbia. We talked about how well the state could handle an outbreak of an infectious disease like influenza.

Pretty well, it turns out.

“Influenza is one that we’re probably the most prepared for,” Nolan said.

And that would have been the end of the conversation, had she, 34 seconds later, not said this: “What we’re not very well-prepared for, though, are vector-borne diseases.”

Joe Biden supporters await the former Vice President during his SC Primary election night watch party in Columbia, SC.
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

With 352 delegates up for grabs, some have referred to the March 10 primaries as “Super Tuesday, part two.” Five states: Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Idaho, and Washington held primaries, while North Dakota held caucuses. Former Vice President Joe Biden emerged with wins in four states (Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri and Idaho) while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders leads in North Dakota and Washington.

Hurricane Florence, seen here as a Category 3 storm on Sept. 12, 2018, approaches the East Coast. It eventually made landfall as a Category 1 storm near Wrightsville Beach, N.C., on Sept. 14, and caused massive inland flooding.

A recent government report says that climate change is leading to extreme weather events that are becoming "more frequent, intense, widespread or of longer duration."  University of South Carolina geographer Kirsten Dow agrees, saying the historic 2015 rain and resulting flood caused by Hurricane Joaquin was a perfect example.

On this 100th episode of the South Carolina Lede, recorded live at Holy City Brewing in North Charleston, SC, host Gavin Jackson is joined by The Post and Courier's Jamie Lovegrove and The Associated Press' Meg Kinnard to recap both the South Carolina Democratic primary and Super Tuesday.

Plus, South Carolina trivia, the week's news, and more!

Rick Tap / Unsplash

If you’re getting nervous about the economy based on the coronavirus’ effect on the stock market and on global oil prices, your worries might be premature.

Monday, State epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell, DHEC Director Rick Toomey and Gov. McMaster give update on COVID 19 Cases in South Carolina.
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

Updated, 3/12/2020

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is investigating one new possible case of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Lancaster County. This brings the total number of presumptive positive cases to eight, along with two confirmed cases.

The new case is a woman from Lancaster County. DHEC said a contact investigation is underway, and at this time there is no known travel outside the state or known contact with another case.

According to the agency, the woman’s samples tested positive at DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory and she is currently hospitalized and isolated. DHEC is working with the healthcare facility and taking routine measures to prevent possible spread.

“Our top priorities remain preventing spread of the disease and protecting public health,” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist. “Our systems for protecting public health are working. We’re continuing to work with the CDC and our state and local partners, however, based on what’s occurring in other states and countries, we expect community spread to grow.”

As of Wednesday, DHEC tested a total of 51 individuals for COVID-19, which includes the eight presumptive positive cases and two confirmed cases.


7 Presumptive Positive COVID-19 Cases in S.C.- DHEC: Risk to Public Remains Low

Seven people in South Carolina have presumptively tested positive for coronavirus

Monday afternoon DHEC announced an older man in Camden, in Kershaw County, is the latest case. The man is currently in self-isolation at his home. State epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said he had been in direct contact with a person who previously tested positive for the virus. This now brings the total cases in Kershaw County to five.

Bipartisan group of State Senators discuss final passage of the School Improvement Bill at the Statehouse on March 5, 2020.
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

After two years of work and eight weeks of gridlock on the floor of the State Senate … Senators this week were finally able to pass the sweeping School Improvement Bill. Education Committee Chairman Gregg Hembree called it a long, and arduous journey. The bill aims to improve teacher working conditions, streamline required student testing, and give more authority to the state to deal with local school districts that are failing. The bill now goes to the House which passed a similar bill last year. The two versions will have to be reconciled this spring.

Leading up to the 2020 election, the South Carolina Lede is keeping you up to speed on what the candidates are saying on the campaign trail in the Palmetto State with these "Trail Bites" mini-episodes.

On this edition for the week of March 5, 2020, host Gavin Jackson takes us to a recent rally by President Donald Trump in North Charleston, SC. 

The South Carolina Democratic primary came and went this weekend with former Vice President Joe Biden quickly being declared winner and several of his fellow candidates ending their campaigns soon after. On this editon of the South Carolina Lede, host Gavin Jackson is joined by The Associated Press' Meg Kinnard and The State's Maayan Schechter to discuss the results, the importantance of the South Carolina primary heading into Super Tuesday, and more.

Plus, the week's top news, trivia, and more!

Now that the CDC has identified the first cases of non-travel-related COVID-19 coronavirus in the US, federal and state agencies have begun to step up their response plans to handle what are likely more cases to come. Here in South Carolina, state agencies are also being diligent in their preparations. But, in the meantime, what measures should we be taking on an individual level for both prevention and the possibility of a self-quarantine? I checked in with Dr.

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

The S.C. State Senate this week voted to limit debate on the massive public school improvement bill. Senators have been considering the bill for seven weeks. Senate leaders hope to move to a final vote on the bill next week.

World Health Organization

As of Tuesday, the World Health Organization(WHO) identified 59 cases of COVID-19 in the United States. None are in South Carolina; but the case that has U.S. health officials wary is one from California. It was reported earlier this week and is the first to show up on American soil without being directly traceable to the person affected having any contact with a country or person known to already have it.

As of Thursday, health officials had no idea how the person contracted the illness

The spread of this particular strain of coronavirus has taken whole nations off-guard, and some health officials here in the United States as well. Dr. Melissa Nolan, an epidemiologist at the University of South Carolina, says she did not think COVID-19 would have turned into a global pandemic. But she remains confident that if South Carolina eventually reports cases of the illness (so far, there have been none reported here), the state will be able to handle it.

South Carolina State Climatology Office

Lately, South Carolinians have been talking about the weather. Not as a mere pleasantry, but because we seem to be experiencing several days in a row of rain. Even your Facebook friends have probably either posted or commented on some sort of meme involving epic deluges and flooding. But, all kidding aside, the flooding has been real. Several rivers throughout the state have reached flooding stages, causing road closures and even some parks that border rivers to restrict certain areas of access due to local flooding.

Official Campaign photos

Amid typical debate topics: the economy, education, housing, rural healthcare and national security, Tuesday’s breaking news of health officials warning Americans to plan for the spread of the Coronavirus in the U.S. gave seven of the eight remaining Democratic candidates the opportunity to show how they would lead during the growing international crisis and also the chance to attack what many of them called the President’s lack of leadership on the issue.

Jamie Lovegrove, Maayan Schechter, Meg Kinnard, and Gavin Jackson.
A.T. Shire/South Carolina Public Radio

On this special mini-episode of the South Carolina Lede, host Gavin Jackson recaps this week's Democratic debate in Charleston, SC, with The State's Maayan Schechter, The Associated Press' Meg Kinnard, and The Post and Courier's Jamie Lovegrove.