DHEC’s Dr. Bell on skyrocketing COVID-19 cases: ‘Not enough people are wearing masks’

CDC recommends masks in public settings

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – One of South Carolina’s top doctors said people across the state are still not doing enough to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Cases of COVID-19 continue to remain well above the 1,000 mark on a daily basis. On Friday, DHEC reported nearly 2,000 new cases and 46 additional deaths.

Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said public health professionals across the country have been encouraging people to wear face masks because it has been determined that it’s helpful in preventing the spread. But she added that here in South Carolina, not enough people are ‘masking up.’

“Unfortunately, not enough people are wearing masks and physically distancing. As a result, our numbers in South Carolina have increased drastically,” Bell said. “This is a serious public health crisis and we have too few measures to prevent this deadly virus, so we must use those we have, a key element of which is wearing masks.”

Bell went on to praise local governments that have implemented face mask mandates and supports their efforts. Several counties and municipalities along the Grand Strand have passed ordinances that require people to wear masks while inside certain businesses.

LIST | Face mask ordinances in place across Grand Strand, Pee Dee

Bell said the state would see coronavirus cases drop if everyone would just do the task of putting on a face mask.

“If everyone in our state would wear masks, we can completely reverse our fortunes and create safe environments for our business recovery, for our lifestyle recovery, and particularly for our students returning to school in a few short weeks,” Bell said.

Read Dr. Bell’s full statement below:

As South Carolina continues to post some of our highest COVID-19 case numbers since the beginning of this pandemic, the public health message has not changed: Everyone should wear a mask and practice social distancing. 

Public health professionals across the country have been encouraging everyone to wear a mask since it was determined the practice is helpful in preventing spread. 

Unfortunately, not enough people are wearing masks and physically distancing. As a result, our numbers in South Carolina have increased drastically. 

This is a serious public health crisis and we have too few measures to prevent this deadly virus, so we must use those we have, a key element of which is wearing masks. If we don’t, we are all leaving ourselves, our families and neighbors defenseless against COVID-19. 

Fortunately, several local governments in our state have begun requiring face masks for anyone in public, and, as the state’s Public Health agency, we’re strongly supportive of these local leaders’ initiatives that are centered on protecting the health and wellbeing of their communities. 

If everyone in our state would wear masks, we can completely reverse our fortunes and create safe environments for our business recovery, for our lifestyle recovery, and particularly for our students returning to school in a few short weeks. 

Copyright 2020 WMBF. All rights reserved.