The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: Unchanged and Still Too Prevalent

Overall, the prevalence of COVID-19 is unchanged in D.C. It’s also still too high, as shown below (for reference, a one-week prevalence of 0.007% and a two-week prevalence of 0.014% would be equal to a daily new case rate of 1 per 100,000 people):

Ward one-week prevalence one week % pos. two-week prevalence two week % pos.
1 0.043% 1.9% 0.068% 1.3%
2 0.043% 1.4% 0.079% 1.1%
3 0.024% 1.2% 0.045% 0.9%
4 0.043% 2.0% 0.102% 2.2%
5 0.067% 3.1% 0.119% 2.1%
6 0.033% 1.0% 0.075% 1.0%
7 0.038% 1.9% 0.096% 2.6%
8 0.060% 3.9% 0.124% 3.3%
D.C total 0.044% 1.7% 0.088% 1.5%

(note that the percent positive rate is calculated for six and thirteen days respectively because D.C. didn’t release count data for Sept. 12)

The good news is D.C. is below the German rollback threshold of 50 new cases per 100,000 per week (0.05% in the second column below), along with Wards 1 – 4, 6, and 7. Wards 4, 6, and 7 had significant decreases in prevalence, while Wards 1 and 5 increased. Ward 8 has a percent positive rate that, while not bad, could be lower.

While we don’t seem to have had a Labor Day weekend spike (the spike would have started to show up late last week), I’m seeing too many people socializing with people who clearly aren’t part of their household. It’s good that people are wearing masks, though those come off once eating and drinking start, but masks alone won’t drive Rt below one. We need more physical distancing. I hope I’m wrong, but I wouldn’t be surprised in daily new cases surge in the next couple of weeks. Put another way, we’re probably not sending kids back to the classroom in early November. I

The problem D.C still faces, and that I harp on every single week, is that we are four to six weeks away from returning to normal-ish, but we intentionally remain four to six weeks away from safely returning to normal-ish because we’re unwilling to do what it takes to make that happen.

Anger is still the appropriate emotion.

Technical note: Thanks to Dave Stroup, who contacted the D.C. government, it’s now much clearer what the data they’re releasing mean (though it’s not clear from the data themselves or from the GUI). “Total Overall Number of Tests” is the number of tests administered, so the day-to-day change is the denominator for the percent positive rate. “Total Number of DC Residents Tested” means the number of D.C residents who have tested positive one or more times, which isn’t obvious at all. This means we can calculate the percent positive rates for wards and neighborhoods–I’m hoping to have a post about neighborhood patterns up Friday.

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