Health expert says South Carolina reopened ‘too fast and too early’

Health expert says SC opened ‘too fast and too early’

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A health expert in South Carolina said Gov. Henry McMaster needs to take action immediately as COVID-19 cases continue to increase.

“And in hindsight, one must say that we did open it too fast and too early,” said Helmut Albrecht, who is the chairman of the Internal Medicine Division at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. “We need to have a better response to this than we do now. This opening experiment has obviously failed.”

Data released by Johns Hopkins and published in the Washington Post shows that South Carolina is the third-highest state in the country with new cases, behind Arizona and Florida.

Content Continues Below

>> Have questions about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the Carolinas? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak -- CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

“If we continue to go down the path we’re on, what’s gonna happen?” Albrecht said. “It will overrun the health care system it will overrun public health resources.”

Rock Hill, York and Fort Mill made mask-wearing mandatory this week. McMaster has avoided a statewide mandate but Albrecht thinks that at some point the governor may not have a choice.

"Right now, I feel we have lost control of the outbreak again," Albrecht said.

Adam Perlowich, owner of Tattoed Brews in Old Town Rock Hill, said he’s seen plenty of coronavirus fatigue and knows everybody is tired of wearing masks and social distancing.

“I think people are tired of it,” Perlowich said. “They are tired of being micromanaged by the government, being told what they can and can’t do.”

Albrecht said the alternative is much worse, which would include rising deaths, hospitalization totals and possibly another shutdown.

“I would certainly have a state mandate for face coverings,” Albrecht said. “That, in my opinion, that’s the only way out at this point, but we have to do something. It’s very clear that the current approach is not working.”

Channel 9 digs into why people refuse to wear face masks in public