Officials warn of possible Covid-19 uptick after Fourth of July


GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- A state representative from Easley is predicting that this Fourth of July weekend is going to be a “mass spread” event for Covid-19, which he believes could have consequences for the upcoming school year.

Rep. Neal Collins, a Republican representing Pickens County, said he’s not optimistic that officials urging caution will lower the case count, and he thinks it’s time for more restrictions to be put in place.

For nearly 100 days, Collins, a Republican from Easley, has been posting updates on Covid-19 on his Facebook page.

“Ultimately, I want my constituents at least to be educated on it and also to be able to trust what they’re hearing,” Collins said.

With the Fourth of July looming, he’s painting a bleak picture.

“The major concern is that there’s going to be more spreading of the virus,” he said.

He said this is coming at a critical time too, as schools have to make a decision on whether to send students back into the classroom in the coming weeks. Students learning online could also mean the potential for sports to be cancelled.

“We can’t as a state send a dozen children on a school bus with an elderly bus driver to a classroom with an elderly teacher,” Collins said. “We just can’t do that with the mortality rate of those 60 and older with this virus.”

He said he’s doesn’t think students will be going back to school in the Fall. What he does foresee is more restrictions.

“I think us being optimistic is one thing, but then also knowing the numbers and knowing what is going to occur…I think we need to be a little bit more realistic than what we have been,” Collins said.

State epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said we may need to brace for a new reality if people don’t take precautions over the Fourth of July.

“If we’re not careful about how we move about during this upcoming holiday weekend, and as we congregate over this holiday weekend, we could see cases rise to the levels that none of us could have previously imagined,” Dr. Bell said.

Collins said it’s not too late to avoid that.

“Now’s the time to decide what we want as a state and as a culture and society…do we want to limit this on our own or do we need to be restricted again and sacrifice K-12 and sports and everything involved?” he said.

The state has seen record cases of the virus this week, and the Department of Health and Environmental Control reports that more and more of the state’s cases are presenting in people who went to group gatherings without wearing masks or keeping a safe distance from others.

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