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South Carolina is the latest state to assure its residents that no new mask mandates are coming, despite concerns from health officials, which the state’s governor chalks up to “hyperbole” and “exaggeration.”

Like numerous other states, South Carolina has seen its number of coronavirus cases rise dramatically in the last month, though Republican Gov. Henry McMaster claims health officials are using these upticks to make things seem worse than they are. 

“Yes, the rates are going up but they’re way below what they were a year ago,” he told Fox News on Sunday. “We have put the fire out. It’s smoldering in places and could come back up, but the house is not on fire again.”

"We have put the fire out. It's smoldering in places and could come back up, but the house is not on fire again."

— Gov. Henry McMaster (R-SC) says there's "exaggeration" and "hyperbole" on the part of epidemiologists and media on big COVID spikes in SC and elsewhere pic.twitter.com/jJuw1npYbK

— The Recount (@therecount) August 1, 2021

Over 50% of South Carolina adults have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine thus far, though local health officials have for weeks been raising concerns about dwindling vaccination rates in the face of the delta variant. Cities such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas have seen a return of mask mandates this summer, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has already flipped their previous mask guidance, stating fully vaccinated individuals can avoid masking up in public. Now health officials say masking depends on the amount of cases in an area. 

Like many other Republican state leaders, McMaster has said vaccines are the best way to fight the virus, though he’s acknowledged that taking it is a personal choice and he trusts

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