On Sept. 21, Johnson & Johnson announced that another shot of the company's COVID-19 vaccine increased protection against COVID-19 to 94 percent. Vaccine effectiveness with the original one-shot vaccine from the company demonstrates a 75 percent efficacy.
According to Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer for Johnson and Johnson, the company's booster shot not only increases protection against the virus but extends the duration of protection significantly.
The company plans to submit its data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
"A single-shot COVID-19 vaccine that is easy to use, distribute and administer, and that provides strong and long-lasting protection is crucial to vaccinating the global population,” Stoffels said.
New cases reported: 1,852 confirmed, 306 probable
Total cases in S.C.: 670,492 confirmed, 161,974 probable.
Percent positive: 13.0 percent.
New deaths reported: 93 confirmed, 17 probable
Total deaths in S.C.: 10,277 confirmed, 1,551 probable.
Percent of ICU beds filled (with COVID-19 and other patients): 83.15 percent.
S.C. residents vaccinated
In South Carolina, 59.5 percent of people who are eligible for the vaccine have received one shot, and 50.8 percent of eligible residents are considered fully vaccinated.
As of Sept. 21, Greenville (220), Anderson (128) and Richland (124) counties saw the highest totals of newly confirmed cases.
What about tri-county?
Charleston County had 106 new cases on Sept. 21, while Dorchester had 62 and Berkeley had 59.
DHEC releases county-level data regarding COVID-19 deaths and the ages of those who have died from the virus on Tuesdays. According to the data published Sept. 21, at least 399 people in South Carolina died from the virus Sept. 12-18, and their ages ranged from pediatric (17 and younger) to elderly (65 and older). Horry County recorded 30 COVID deaths that week — the highest number in the state. Health officials have reported that the vast majority of patients who are dying from the coronavirus at this stage of the pandemic are unvaccinated.
Of the 2,381 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Sept. 21, 585 were in the ICU and 391 were using ventilators.
Student, teacher and faculty cases
DHEC's weekly school report shows 23,475 staff and students have been isolated since the start of the school year, meaning they tested positive for COVID-19. An estimated 89,371 have been quarantined since the start of the school year. These estimates are likely low because some schools did not provide data for the report.
Variants of concern
DHEC sequences a small, random sample of positive COVID-19 cases each week to determine which “variants of concern” (alpha, beta, gamma and delta) are circulating in the state. According to data published by the agency that is up to date through Sept. 15, 2,731 samples have been identified as “variants of concern” over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 1,485 have been identified as the delta variant, which health officials say is now the dominant strain in South Carolina.
What do experts say?
In a COVID-19 update on Sept. 21, the South Carolina Children's Hospital Collaborative reported that out of the 30 children hospitalized with a COVID-19 diagnosis, nine were in critical care and five were on a ventilator.
All of the children currently hospitalized for COVID-19 are unvaccinated and many of them are at least 12 years old, meaning they qualify for a vaccine.
Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to urge all eligible U.S. residents to make their vaccination appointments as soon as possible.