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Holiday travel to hit pandemic-era record as the nation inches toward normalcy

COVID-19 cases have been trending downward, but state health officials worry the more easily spread Delta variant could pose a threat with many still unvaccinated.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Fireworks stands line the roads of communities around the Midlands.

They're a sign of a nation that's inching closer to normalcy, after the pandemic brought many Independence Day show to a halt last year.

Williams and Angela Smith were stopping by a Columbia stand after traveling from North Carolina and spending the weekend with loved ones.

"Fully vaccinated and everything. Yeah, it feels good to be able to get out right now," William said.

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Angela says they plan to celebrate Sunday with their six grandkids, after a Saturday celebration with friends.

According to AAA, the holiday weekend is expected to bring record pandemic-era travel with more than 47 million Americans estimated to take to the roads and skies.

As vaccination rates rise, coronavirus cases have been trending downward, but officials with the S.C. Dept. of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) worry the more easily spread Delta variant could pose a threat to progress with over 57 percent of South Carolinians not yet fully vaccinated.

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“Several states and several countries outside of ours are seeing a resurgence of COVID-19 and COVID-19 variant cases…because not enough people got vaccinated as soon as they had the opportunity to do so," Dr. Jonathan Knoche, DHEC Medical Consultant, said during a Wednesday media briefing. "Looking at Missouri, their seven-day case averages more than doubled in the past 30 days… and its vaccination rates are very similar to ours here in South Carolina.”

Dr. Knoche, said all three vaccines offer protection against the Delta variant.

They're hoping to se more people get the shot, as the state looks toward the future.