The State of COVID-19 in the District Is Not Good, Especially East of the River

Ordinarily, I would write “I’m sorry, “But at least we’re not Florida” isn’t going to cut it.”, except for the reality in Wards 7 and 8, which is, well, very Southern in its epidemiology. D.C., as a whole increased, though slightly, but Wards 4, 7, and 8 are getting hammered. Here’s a summary:

Ward one week prevalence two week prevalence one week % positve two week % positive
1 0.051% 0.117% 1.5% 1.0%
2 0.028% 0.066% 0.9% 1.1%
3 0.019% 0.039% 0.5% 0.7%
4 0.108% 0.200% 3.1% 2.5%
5 0.083% 0.175% 1.8% 2.1%
6 0.050% 0.094% 1.1% 0.7%
7 0.117% 0.211% 5.7% 5.2%
8 0.099% 0.204% 3.6% 3.8%
D.C. total 0.068% 0.134% 2.0% 1.7%

The good news is that, in D.C. as a whole, the percent positives are below five percent (Ward 7 is a slight bit above), meaning we’re doing enough testing, though how quickly we’re doing testing and returning results to those who need them is another issue (not so good there).

One- and two-week prevalences are the number of cases during the last week or last two weeks divided by population. In Germany, a prevalence of 0.05% means a given area has to roll back opening up. Only Wards 2 and three meet that threshold. And to be in the ‘safe zone’, where prevalence is low enough such that you can do somewhat risky things–that is, live a normal-ish life–we really want the two-week prevalence to be around 0.01%. D.C. needs to lower the city-wide prevalence about ten-fold.

While that sounds daunting, if we spitball estimate what prevalence was at the height of the outbreak in D.C., we already lowered the prevalence thirty-fold. It would probably take four weeks or so of a hard shutdown (closing restaurants, churches; moving back to phase zero). But if we did this, we would be where Norway was when going to the gym–without a mask!–was ‘safe’ (it isn’t safe, but when the prevalence is that low, the odds of get sick also are extremely low). Needless to say, we could reopen schools, even if students couldn’t attend every day due to density restrictions.

I realize Bowser is trying to keep businesses afloat, in part because the city needs the tax revenue–and it does because Republicans aren’t doing what needs to be done at the national level–but we’re not going to return to normal(-ish) unless we completely crush the curve. Until then, I suppose more Washingtonians will be injured and die needlessly.

Utter failure of governance from top to bottom.

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1 Response to The State of COVID-19 in the District Is Not Good, Especially East of the River

  1. Rick says:

    For comparison, nominally “pretty good” Oregon has five counties with over 0.100 one week prevalence: 0.215, 0.326, 0.351, 0.413, and 0.536. These are smaller counties but represent 145,000 people in total.

    What is particularly painful is that on May 31st no county was over 0.050, and the state was at 0.008.

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