The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: Rounding the Corner, For Now

This week was the first week when things were better across the board, though the prevalence is still too high. 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 0.090% 1.8% 0.226% 2.4%
2 0.094% 2.3% 0.235% 2.6%
3 0.052% 1.4% 0.138% 2.1%
4 0.140% 3.9% 0.297% 4.2%
5 0.178% 4.1% 0.416% 4.8%
6 0.110% 2.2% 0.243% 2.5%
7 0.154% 4.5% 0.332% 4.9%
8 0.160% 3.9% 0.369% 4.5%
D.C. total 0.123% 2.6% 0.285% 2.9%

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’re nowhere near that. That said, all wards registered large decreases in prevalence and the percent positive rates also were lower, though Wards 4, 5, 7, and 8 still have high percent positive rates, meaning we’re likely underestimating the prevalence in those wards (as usual, it’s Wards 1, 2, and 6 which are accounting for a disproportionate number of tests).

While D.C. had 27 deaths in the last seven days–an amount equal to all traffic fatalities in 2019–that’s actually a decrease, which should give you some idea of how horrible the last month has been.

Right now, D.C. seems to be benefiting from a long stretch of crappy weather. I understand why people are concerned that indoor socializing will lead to spread, but it appears in D.C., and has done so throughout the pandemic, that bad weather keeps people home and away from social events. As some asshole with a blog has been pointing out from the get-go, the best way to not be infected with COVID-19 is to not come in contact with some who has COVID-19.

Hopefully, the prevalence will continue to drop, and the D.C. government will be under some pressure to not relent until we hit a one-week prevalence 0.05% (second column above), since that’s what the CDC recommends for school reopening (I’ll have more about this later this week, hopefully). I am worried about mid-March, because I don’t think we’ll have vaccinated enough people to limit spread, but the weather will begin to get better, so people will be out and about more often. Hoping for inclement weather still seems to be the predominant infection control strategy.

Again, 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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