COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is in Columbia on Thursday to meet health officials and the governor.
Dr. Robert Redfield joined Gov. Henry McMaster, officials with the Department of Health and Environmental Control, and officials with agencies dealing with substance abuse and mental health for a roundtable discussion on the campus of the University of South Carolina.
Leaders were set to discuss “the short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on our communities, including opioid use, chronic diseases, and mental health.”
Dr. Redfield said even though there is no COVID-19 vaccine available just yet, we have plenty of tools at our disposal to fight the virus.
He believes that if more people wore face coverings and practiced social distancing over the next couple months, we’d have the virus under control.
“The outbreak is on the increase now. We have to remain vigilant,” he said.
WIS spoke with Dr. Redfield after the roundtable. He praised South Carolina’s response to the pandemic.
“I meant what I said publicly. I think the governor has provided great leadership. He understands the importance of balance,” he said.
Dr. Redfield expects a COVID-19 vaccine could be approved for distribution by late November or early December. He said the vaccine could be prioritized to those who need it first, like the most vulnerable and frontline workers or first responders.
He said the vaccine could be distributed to the public by the end of the second quarter in 2021.
As we head into the winter months, Dr. Redfield stresses staying vigilant, especially those heading home for Thanksgiving.
“Home gatherings with your family were always seen as a safe space,” he said. “I want people to recognize they still have to responsibility social distance; wear face coverings and hand wash this holiday season.”
At the end of the discussion, Redfield participated in a Q&A with reporters. Watch that in the video below.