We just don’t seem to have a solution, but I’m getting ahead of myself. D.C.’s Mayor Bowser noted this about the state of COVID-19 in the District, and the situation really hasn’t changed since she said this (boldface mine):
Experts say these daily caseloads are unlikely to significantly decline in the coming months, given public fatigue over the virus and a lack of civic or political will for stricter restrictions…
Clifford S. Mitchell, director of the Environmental Health Bureau at the Maryland Department of Health, said that while officials know it’s “theoretically possible” to drive the caseload down further, doing so would carry “a tremendous social cost.”
“We have done, I think, as a state, about as good as you can do getting things really, really low without forcing people to not leave their homes,” said Mitchell, who helps to advise Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on reopening decisions. The state intends to focus on driving down infection rates in hard-hit communities, Mitchell said, and watch how reopenings affect what is essentially the new baseline level of infection.
With more than 7,000 people dead in the pandemic in Maryland, Virginia and the District, health officers are pleading with residents to continue wearing facial coverings and avoiding large gatherings. But experts anticipate that infections will nonetheless increase as governments lift more restrictions and cooling weather sends people indoors. If previous patterns hold, that uptick will prompt a period of heightened anxiety before people let their guard down again, prompting the next ripple of cases…
Not everyone is ready to buckle under or accept the status quo.
“Plateauing is not a good thing,” D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said Friday, especially because the city remains unable to connect new cases to older ones to determine how the virus is spreading. “I think it is a good thing that we don’t see new cases in the hundreds, but we still see too many new cases.”
To Bowser’s credit, she’s not willing to give up. The problem is that the obvious economic solutions are both politically unpalatable and economically unaffordable (for a state that can’t print its own currency). As I keep saying every week, we are four to six weeks away from getting to a low enough prevalence, 1 daily new case per 100,000 people (around 7 new cases/day), where we can do normal-ish activities, the occasional bout of stupidity becomes less risky, and if said bout of stupidity does lead to infection, it can be rapidly identified and handled. But we will always remain four to six weeks away from the good place until we take the actions need to lower the prevalence of COVID-19.
And mask wearing by itself won’t cut it. We need to rollback, or else we’re going to remain in this twilight zone.