The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: Modest Improvement, but Beware the Ides of March?

Modest improvement in D.C. this week. 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–which also is the threshold the CDC suggests schools for all grades can reopen (0.05% in the second column below):

Ward one-week prevalence one-week % pos. two-week prevalence two-week % pos.
1 0.079% 1.7% 0.211% 2.1%
2 0.115% 2.3% 0.238% 2.7%
3 0.029% 0.7% 0.103% 1.3%
4 0.093% 2.5% 0.180% 2.4%
5 0.133% 2.9% 0.279% 3.1%
6 0.119% 2.5% 0.281% 3.0%
7 0.159% 3.9% 0.285% 4.1%
8 0.201% 4.3% 0.396% 4.8%
D.C. total 0.114% 2.5% 0.247% 2.7%

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 still nowhere near that. Wards 1, 3, and 6 had large declines in new cases, while Ward 7 increased. The percent positive rates in Wards 7 and 8 are still too high, though improving. The good news is that deaths finally seem to be declining, with only thirteen COVID-19 related deaths. R(t) seems to be floating around 0.9.

The question is what will the nice weather this week (and the following weeks) will do. Will people crowd restaurants and other close-contact places, potentially driving up infection rates? Every time we’ve had good weather, we see a surge, and we haven’t vaccinated enough people yet to really decrease transmission, though hopefully death rates and hospitalization rates will continue to decline as we vaccinate the most-at-risk populations.

Once we reach mid-April, I think we’ll be alright, but the question is how stupid will we be in the next five to six weeks. That is, how many will die because we’re just too impatient?

As usual, I’ll remind you that the good news is 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.

This entry was posted in COVID-19, DC. Bookmark the permalink.