The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: More of the Same, and That’s Too High

The progress from last week stalled out this week, and deaths keep increasing. The entire city and all wards, including the ‘low prevalence bastions’ of Ward 2 and 3, are now well above 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 0.205% 3.1% 0.354% 3.5%
2 0.201% 2.5% 0.298% 2.4%
3 0.098% 2.1% 0.210% 2.5%
4 0.227% 4.0% 0.485% 5.1%
5 0.251% 3.8% 0.459% 4.4%
6 0.173% 2.7% 0.405% 2.5%
7 0.272% 4.7% 0.550% 5.9%
8 0.263% 3.9% 0.529% 4.6%
D.C. total 0.219% 3.0% 0.421% 3.3%

The ‘good place’, which is one new case per 100,000 people per day, would be 0.007% in column two and 0.014% in column four–and we’ve blown by that. Wards 1, 2, and 5 had increases, while Wards 3, 4, and 6 had decreases. The percent positive rate is too high, except in Wards 2, 3, and 6, so the other wards likely have more positives.

Most disturbing is the rising death toll. I’ll have more to say about that tomorrow, but it’s a massive policy failure. R(t) has been hovering around 1.0, so we’re not really getting it under control. Despite all of this, the city has inexplicably decided to lessen restrictions. While I think DC Health (the public health department) has done a very good job, the political decisions to move towards allowing some indoor dining and lessening other restrictions are immensely frustrating. It seems like every time things become marginally better, the Bowser administration decides to stop doing the things that worked. Meanwhile, the gormless and ignorant Council does nothing to oppose the administration. The city leadership still does not seem to appreciate that this isn’t (just) an economic crisis, but a public health one.

It appears the only significant actions, if any, the city will take to lower COVID-19 prevalence, are to hope for inclement weather and good luck, along with waiting for the vaccine.

Again, even with this utter failure of governance–and it’s hard to understand why any of our current elected officials should be returned to office with this disastrous record–the good news is that we still could be only around six weeks away from returning to normal-ish, even though we intentionally remain six weeks away from safely returning to normal-ish because we’re unwilling to do what it takes to make that happen.

Anger isn’t the appropriate emotion, rage is.

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