Dr. Jeffrey P. DiLisi addresses Charleston City Council before masking vote

Charleston City Council last night gave initial approval to a masking mandate for the city.

The following is what Dr. DiLisi said to the Council.

We are in our third and I think the most dramatic surge in COVID-19 patients. At Roper St. Francis Healthcare, we have seen higher numbers over the last couple of weeks than we have seen in any of the other two surges. COVID-19 patients make up 41 percent of our patients in our hospitals right now, We are going on three weeks in a row of record numbers. We are trying to get this message out – 85 to 90 percent of those patients hospitalized are unvaccinated.

We’re stretched thin. We’ve had to delay some surgeries, obviously we’re doing everything emergent and urgent, but we backed up surgeries a little bit to take care of all of these COVID patients. When I go out to the frontline to visit our health care workers, they are tired — both physically and mentally exhausted. They are true heroes and they are doing everything they can to take care of these patients  but the stress on our system and all the other systems in the Lowcountry is really, it’s pretty incredible. It’s been a terrible surge that we’ve seen. We’re not out of this yet unfortunately. We certainly believe we have a responsibility to care for the community but it can’t just rest on the healthcare workers. We all need to be in this together.

I applaud you, Mr. Mayor and the City Council, for looking at this issue of masking. I think it’s important. We’re not yet to the number (of vaccinations) in this area that we need to be to have herd immunity. We’re going to continue to see infections and we’re going to continue to see hospitalizations and most sadly we’re going to continue to see death. I can’t even begin share with you the heartbreaking stories we’ve heard from our frontline workers. We’ve had pregnant woman who we’ve helped deliver her baby and baby is going to grow up without a mother because the mother died — unvaccinated. We’ve unfortunately had twenty somethings die — unvaccinated. There is only one way to slow this down, until we get everybody vaccinated, we’ve got to mask. It’s important. We know that it reduces the risk of transmission with everybody masking, especially indoors. It’s just critical to reduce the burden on our healthcare system

We can get there but what we need is to get everyone vaccinated. So please, if you are in this (meeting) and you are not vaccinated, please, please, I plead with you to get vaccinated. It’s safe. It’s effective. I tell everybody there has never been a larger clinical study done of anything, anywhere. The vaccine has been given literally billions — with a b — billions of times and it’s safe and it works. It prevents hospitalizations.


  1. Let’s hope all who were at that meeting, who are not vaccinated, will heed Dr DiLisi’s advice. Thank you Dr DiLisil

  2. That meeting was tough to watch. Thank you Dr DiLisi, for getting the word out and educating our community about the benefits of Covid vaccination in ending the pandemic!

  3. Sadly we live in an “all about me” world. I pray the unvaccinated and anti maskers will open their eyes and ask what they can do for their neighbor, co-worker, family member, stranger with immunocompromised issues at the grocery store…

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