Editorial Roundup: South Carolina

The Index-Journal. May 18, 2022.

Editorial: Show us the money

Knock knock.

Who’s there?

PR Firm.

PR Firm who?

Karl Allen’s PR firm, that’s who. Now go away.

Not a funny knock-knock joke?

Correct. It’s not funny.

Nor is it funny that attorney and longtime state Sen. Karl Allen, D-Greenville, needs a PR firm to sidestep a very basic question: Where’s the money you had earmarked and were to deliver to three Upstate charities to offset their costs in provide a summer camp, an after-school program and a fitness park for low-income seniors?

But Allen has dodged the questions about where the $125,000 is and why he hasn’t delivered the checks to the agencies, as reported by the Post and Courier in its latest story in the ongoing Uncovered series.

Well, he did release a statement last week that essentially blamed the “slight delay” in relaying the funds on — ready for this? — “the unique challenges of COVID and the safety protocols that guided gatherings involving seniors and children.”

OK, Karl, that makes... no sense. Sure, COVID meant there’d be no large gatherings for a long time. It meant kids did remote learning and camps for kids were shut down for quite a while. And seniors were generally given more special attention in an effort to keep them from contracting the virus. But that was then and this is now, and the funds can certainly help offset the costs of these programs going forward because — guess what? — summer camps are taking place and it’s generally thought to be safe to be among others in outdoor settings, such as fitness parks.

Or maybe he meant it just wasn’t safe to hand-deliver the checks or even mail them to the organizations. Yeah. That’s it. Someone infected with COVID might have handled that check and licked that envelope. You worried you’d unleash a superspreader, right?

Earmarks in and of themselves have been under scrutiny for years and criticized for being a less-than-transparent way of buying favors, and to the tune of more than $100 million last year alone. Gov. Henry McMaster has been a critic of the earmark spigot, suggesting that lawmakers instead establish a competitive grant process that keeps all in the public eye while divvying up this overflow cash stream.

Karl, ditch the PR firm, quit dodging reporters and ’splain yourself. Oh, and get that money to the recipients as promised. The earmark process might not be the best and cleanest, but the money was promised and set aside. Stamps are just 58 cents. Drop it in the mail, if you can’t deliver it yourself for a photo op to prop up your next run for office.

___

Times and Democrat. May 17, 2022.

Editorial: Exactly how clean, safe are we in COVID?

So the COVID pandemic has made hand sanitizer standard equipment in vehicles. Disinfectant spray abounds in most households. The focus on “clean” has never been more elevated.

No doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic inspired a cleaning frenzy. But here’s the question now: How many people are cleaning thoroughly enough to prevent the spread of germs?

Some don’t know what “clean” really means in the context of infection prevention, says Tricia Holderman (www.triciaholderman.com), author of “Germinator: The Germ Girl’s Guide To Simple Solutions In A Germ-Filled World.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic got a lot of people thinking about germs,” says Holderman, owner and CEO of Elite Facility Systems, a consulting company that handles facility cleanliness and infection prevention for hospitals, NFL and NBA teams, and other businesses.

“Suddenly, every other person you meet is a clean freak. People who never knew infection prevention was a thing were suddenly spraying their groceries with disinfectant and walking around in homemade hazmat suits.”

Everybody has a different idea of clean, she says. Some people, for example, insist on having floors so sparkly and shiny you could eat off of them.

But there is a difference between cleanliness and infection prevention.

“Just because something looks clean doesn’t mean it’s germ-free,” Holderman says. “There are specific things that cleaning needs to accomplish to create a safe, healthy environment.”

Holderman explains the four categories of cleaning and how to keep your house not just clean but sanitary:

• Surface cleaning. This involves vacuuming, sweeping, dusting or wiping. The right way to clean, Holderman says, is to get the dirt off of a surface, but many people instead only move the dirt around because they wipe in circles or mop back and forth over the same areas.

Use leading-edge cleaning,” she says. “After first clearing everything off the surface, you always lead with the same edge of your mop, rag, or whatever you’re using and always move forward, pushing the dirt away from the surface you’ve already cleaned. But remember, in regard to removing germs from the environment, cleaning alone isn’t enough to make a place safe.”

• Disinfecting. Disinfecting is the chemical process of killing germs, usually by applying a spray or liquid solution to them.

“Some people tend to combine surface cleaning with disinfecting by spraying a disinfecting cleaner and then wiping it off,” Holderman says. “When done properly, this process makes whatever surface you clean as clean as it looks.”

• Sanitizing. This is the reduction of the number of germs to a safe level. It’s mostly used in food preparation areas and refers to eliminating or reducing bacteria.

“What you do to sanitize will vary, depending on your needs,” Holderman says. “For example, you sanitize your hands, but you should never use disinfectant on your skin, only sanitizer designed specifically for that purpose.”

• Sterilizing. Sterilizing takes disinfecting to the next level by adding heat, Holderman says. “Most germs will die if heated to a certain temperature,” she says. “For example, most viruses will die at 160 degrees. Sterilization is done mainly in professional settings, like hospitals and dental offices. Chemicals can also be combined to be used for sanitization when heat is not the best option.”

At home, Holderman says, a regular combination of cleaning and disinfecting should be more than enough to keep you and your loved ones safe.

So there you have it.

As Holderman says, “Germs linger and spread and it’s important to know the most effective ways to get rid of them before they get to you or your loved ones.”

___

Post and Courier. May 17, 2022.

Editorial: This is a good way to reduce SC abortions

For decades, politicians across the political spectrum have declared a desire to decrease the number of abortions in South Carolina. Although abortion opponents have focused mostly on reducing access to the procedure, even they have talked about reducing unwanted pregnancies.

Unfortunately, while the S.C. Legislature has done lot to reduce access to abortion, it has done precious little to encourage this embraced-by-all idea of reducing demand for abortions. Until now.

Last week, the Legislature gave final approval to S.628, which allows pharmacists to dispense birth control pills and other hormonal contraceptives to women without a doctor’s prescription. The bill was the brainchild of Republican Sen. Tom Davis, an abortion opponent who argued that efforts to curtail abortion also must make it easier and cheaper for women to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

At a committee meeting last month, Democratic Rep. Russell Ott told his colleagues the idea was “to make sure women have more of an opportunity to access contraceptives than they currently do.”

Critics said it was unwise to give patients access to hormonal treatments without a physician’s OK, but that’s a hard argument to make against a bill that’s supported by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association.

While some on the far right opposed the bill, it nearly died not so much from opposition as indifference: It sat for almost a year in the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee, which has little interest in medical issues. The bill moved quickly once it was reassigned to the medical affairs committee, which reported the bill out just days before a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion leaked out, indicating the court may overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that declared abortion a constitutional right.

Against the backdrop of legislators putting procedures in place to return to work this summer to pass tougher restrictions on abortions if the court follows through, the contraceptives bill passed 91-12 in the House and unanimously in the Senate. The Post and Courier’s Seanna Adcox reports that the bill would make South Carolina the 15th state, along with the District of Columbia, to allow pharmacists to provide birth control to women without prescriptions. We encourage Gov. Henry McMaster to sign it.

Whatever the U.S. Supreme Court does, we need our lawmakers thinking less about how they can get the votes to pass a complete ban on abortion and more about how they can reduce the need for anyone to consider abortion in the first place — about what they can do to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and what they can do to reduce the number of pregnant women who feel like an abortion is their only option. Sen. Davis’ bill is a good, if long overdue, start.(backslash)

END