The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: Fewer Cases, More American Carnage

New cases dropped, though they’re still high in absolute terms, but the death toll is horrific. The entire city and all wards, including the ‘low prevalence bastions’ of Ward 2 and 3, are still 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 0.137% 3.0% 0.342% 3.1%
2 0.141% 2.7% 0.342% 2.6%
3 0.086% 2.8% 0.183% 2.4%
4 0.157% 4.6% 0.384% 4.2%
5 0.238% 5.5% 0.489% 4.5%
6 0.133% 2.8% 0.306% 2.7%
7 0.178% 5.3% 0.450% 4.9%
8 0.209% 5.0% 0.472% 4.4%
D.C. total 0.162% 3.3% 0.381% 3.1%

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, as usual, we’ve blown by that. All wards had significant decreases in prevalence this week, though there’s an unfortunate caveat attached to that: Tuesday had very few tests, and, as a result, very few positives. Combined with that, the percent positive rate is too high in Wards 4 – 8, so these are likely underestimates (as is almost always the case, there is far too little testing in Wards 4, 5, 7, and 8).

What’s staggering at this point is the death toll. As of Sunday, D.C. had 39 COVID-19-related deaths. If that occurred every week for a year, that would be over 2,000 deaths, which likely would make it the leading cause of death. While some of these deaths are nursing home deaths, as I noted last week, the majority of this American Carnage is in the larger community, not nursing homes.

Despite this continuing death toll–and I think it’s continuing beyond the ‘Christmas holiday’ effect at this point–D.C. insists on loosening restrictions, instead of trying to lower the prevalence. The response appears to be a kinder, gentler Trumpism, which is all the more obvious with the city reporting a budget surplus–meaning there was more that the D.C. government could have been done to stop the pandemic, directly and indirectly.

Maybe Bowser et alia could try painting “BELIEVE IN SCIENCE” on a street though. Might work. Hoping for inclement weather and good luck, along with waiting for the vaccine still seems to be the local strategy.

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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