The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: A Little Better, but Ward 5 and a Prominent Local Politician Are in Trouble

Before we get to the medical status of a prominent local politician, D.C. had a slight improvement this week, with the city as a whole and every ward, except for Ward 5, below the German rollback threshold of 50 new cases per 100,000 per week (0.05% in the second column below):

Ward one week prevalence one week % pos. two week prevalence two week % pos.
1 0.021% 0.8% 0.061% 0.9%
2 0.032% 1.2% 0.059% 0.8%
3 0.022% 1.1% 0.042% 0.8%
4 0.042% 2.0% 0.089% 1.9%
5 0.088% 3.8% 0.166% 3.2%
6 0.029% 0.9% 0.062% 0.8%
7 0.031% 2.1% 0.064% 1.9%
8 0.031% 1.8% 0.068% 1.6%
D.C. total 0.038% 1.4% 0.079% 1.3%

While the prevalence is still too high for things like returning most children to schools (a one-week prevalence of 0.007%, column 2, and a two-week prevalence of 0.014%, column 4, would be equal to a daily new case rate of 1 per 100,000 people), most wards stayed the same or improved, and the percent positive rate is low enough to think these are reasonable estimates.

Except for Ward 5. Ward 5, which is the worst hit of all the wards by a long shot, was worse this week than last, and there probably is some undercounting happening too. I don’t know what’s happening there–the cases are distributed across multiple neighborhoods–but the city needs to get on this.

Onto aforementioned prominent local politician. While there are all sorts of HAWT TAEKS one could have, other than one story in the Washington Post, there has been very little discussion what the Conet Barret Covidpalooza nomination gathering and the complete lack of basic hygiene by the Trump Administration means for D.C. Not Wor-Shing-Tun, but the residents of the mainland colony known as the District of Columbia.

It does not appear that the Trump Administration has provided any information to DC Health (the state colonial health department), nor are they actively investigating any further spread from the known cases. We’ll just have to hope we get lucky.

One thing to consider and be concerned about is what effect this will have on D.C.’s metrics (keep in mind, any further new cases stemming from the outbreak probably won’t begin show up in the data until today at the earliest). For example, while news reports might not be entirely accurate, it appears that KellyAnne Conway, and one or more of her family have COVID-19. They live in Ward 3 (Massachusetts Avenue Heights), which typically has about fifteen to thirty positives per week. If all of them get it, then that’s a significant increase. For that matter, were they all to contract COVID-19, that would be, by itself, a two percent increase in the number of weekly positive tests. From one person that we know about. What about lower level staffers who have contracted the virus? To paraphrase the Provisional IRA, it only has to get lucky once. This could–and hopefully I’m wrong–really put a dent in D.C.’s downward trend, and our ability to loosen restrictions and reopen schools.

I also think the city should hold a press conference with the explicit goal of reminding people that have traveled from high-risk states (list below) that they are required to quarantine for fourteen days. While senators and congresspeoples are going to what they’re going to do, their staffers are just hoi polloi like the rest of us. They need to quarantine. Had White House staffers and the Covidpalooza guests followed these rules–admittedly, they don’t believe the rules apply to people like them–there’s a reasonable chance Trump wouldn’t be in the hospital.

That said, it’s probably too late for the Trumpists to learn that they can’t simply buy their old life back. They can’t accept that they will have to live like the rest of us.

Here’s the list of quarantine states:

North Carolina
North Dakota
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

That’s a lot of states.

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