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No fall sports if COVID-19 keeps surging, S.C. governor warns

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 1:37 PM EDT
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WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - “This is a public health crisis.”

That’s still the word from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Dr. Linda Bell as the state announced almost 1,500 new cases of COVID-19 and a record-breaking 24 deaths.

[MORE: By the numbers: Coronavirus cases across the CSRA]

Bell was joined by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, who both continued to press state residents to wear masks and take personal responsibility to help stop the spread of the virus.

Bell praised local leaders who have made the move to make local residents wear masks in public.

“We support these local leaders initiatives that are centered on protecting the health and well being of the communities, and we hope that businesses and all others will also adopt these initiatives, and we support these, even when requirements have not been put in place,” Bell said.

McMaster July 1, 2020

LIVE NOW: SC Gov. Henry McMaster is speaking as COVID-19 cases continue to spike in the Palmetto State.

Posted by News 12 NBC 26 on Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Still, Bell urged more from leaders.

“Unless we do something dramatically different to control this disease that is spread simply by breathing from infected people, then we will be looking at projections that are far worse than what we’re experiencing now,” Bell said.

That more from state leadership came straight from McMaster, who pressed residents to do more or this fall could be without football.

McMaster said he would not be removing restrictions on large gatherings -- such as high school and college football games -- if cases continue to rise across the state.

“If we continue to see this kind of danger going across our state, I will have no choice, we will have no choice but to keep these restrictions on crowds and gatherings in place, and that means this fall will not be like other falls,” McMaster said. “We will not be able to have college football, will not be able to have high school football, we won’t be able to have those kinds of sports -- won’t be able to have concerts, performing arts, we just won’t be able to do it.”

McMaster also stopped short of telling people to cancel any Fourth of July plans. Instead, stressed the importance of not going against state guidelines on large public gatherings because the order is still being enforced.

“And so we’ve got to be very very careful Fourth of July -- it’s a time when we celebrate. But we have to -- we’re gonna celebrate. This is a great country, for goodness sakes. July’s a wonderful celebration. What it signifies is unique in the world, the history of this great country. But again, I can’t say it often enough or strong enough. We have got to be careful,” McMaster said.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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