The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: Some Improvement, but Still Nowhere Near Good

I’m old enough to remember when D.C.’s one-week COVID-19 prevalence was below the German rollback threshold of 50 new cases per 100,000 per week (0.05% in the second column below)–all the way back on Sept. 28, which should tell you how quickly new cases can blow up:

Ward one-week prevalence one-week % pos. two-week prevalence two-week % pos.
1 0.067% 1.6% 0.142% 1.5%
2 0.026% 0.4% 0.053% 0.4%
3 0.026% 0.8% 0.047% 0.6%
4 0.077% 2.5% 0.159% 2.3%
5 0.075% 2.0% 0.190% 2.4%
6 0.043% 0.8% 0.094% 0.9%
7 0.057% 2.2% 0.126% 2.2%
8 0.043% 1.7% 0.112% 1.6%
D.C. total 0.054% 1.3% 0.119% 1.3%

The entire city, along with Wards 1, 4, 5, and 7 are above the German rollback threshold. That said, nearly every ward has a lower one-week prevalence, though Ward 4’s percent positive rate is a bit higher than one would like. Looking at the new cases from quarantined contacts, we’re not close to where we need to be–we have far too many cases that don’t have obvious links to other cases. That’s probably not a fundamental change in how the virus is spreading, but simply an inability to track and trace these cases: remember that a couple of weeks ago, the White House wasn’t cooperating–now imagine that writ large and small. I’ve said this before, but D.C. really needs to consider reallocating part of its resources to doing deep dives on a small number of cases and running them all down (sometimes, this would be a bust, but eventually, superspreading events would reveal themselves).

At this point, the only strategy appears to be hoping that American couch potato instincts kick in with the cooling weather and everyone stays home and watches TV.

As I routinely remind readers, 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.

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