The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: Not Heading in the Right Direction

It’s a mixed bag, Wards 1, 2, and 3 are doing better, while the rest are holding steady or getting worse. “Holding steady” is doing a lot of work, as the city as a whole and Wards 4 – 8 are above the German rollback threshold of 50 new cases per 100,000 per week (0.05% in the second column below):

Ward 1-week prevalence 1-week % pos. 2-week prevalence 2-week % pos.
1 0.040% 1.6% 0.092% 1.6%
2 0.028% 1.1% 0.056% 1.0%
3 0.027% 1.0% 0.046% 0.7%
4 0.102% 3.8% 0.210% 3.4%
5 0.090% 3.0% 0.172% 2.3%
6 0.063% 1.6% 0.113% 1.3%
7 0.093% 4.8% 0.210% 5.3%
8 0.104% 4.2% 0.204% 3.9%
D.C. 0.067% 2.4% 0.134% 2.2%

It’s also worth noting that we’re back to one or two deaths per day again, which should be expected after several weeks of higher daily new cases (deaths lag new cases). We really want to be below a two-week prevalence of 0.01% (about 70 new cases over that period), but even a one-week prevalence of 0.01% would be good. What’s frustrating is that a city-wide reduction would probably require four weeks of serious restrictions, and then we could be back to normal-ish.

I understand Bowser’s desire to keep businesses afloat–and the lack of a federal support package means we can’t do the public health interventions needed–but we’re just going to keep limping along. And for those turning to test-and-trace, it’s not working in D.C. Most cases can’t be linked to quarantined individuals–this probably means we’re not finding the initial patient (and massive street parties of hundreds of people aren’t helping), even though we’re doing enough testing (percent positive rate < 0.05%), though it’s probably not rapid enough.

We really need to rollback–If we did this now, we could be in a good place come October.

Unfortunately, our national strategy appears to be a kinder, gentler version of herd immunity, so, as a prominent local politician would put it, it is what it is.

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