The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: A Real Decline

Now we just have to hope that spring breakers, St. Patrick’s Day revelers, and March Madness watchers don’t reverse the good trend. That said, the entire city and all wards, except Ward 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 0.07% 1.7% 0.184% 2.0%
2 0.08% 1.6% 0.258% 1.8%
3 0.05% 1.2% 0.094% 1.1%
4 0.10% 2.9% 0.217% 2.8%
5 0.12% 2.7% 0.261% 2.7%
6 0.13% 2.8% 0.268% 2.7%
7 0.17% 4.0% 0.369% 4.1%
8 0.17% 3.6% 0.380% 3.7%
D.C. total 0.11% 2.4% 0.262% 2.6%

The entire city had large decreases, with Ward 2 plunging after last week (though some of those cases were likely due to reporting delays). The percent positive rates are good in most wards, other than Wards 7 and 8–the city needs to figure out a way to deploy more testing there. R(t) has been below 1.0 all week (as one would expect given the declines). The one not-bright spot is that D.C. had nine deaths this week: we are still having too many deaths, though hopefully that will start to turn around in a couple of weeks as we vaccinate more at-risk people (the elderly and those with comorbidities).

That brings me to my other concern: vaccination. As best as I can tell, the city is rapidly vaccinating people. The problem is that we’re about eight percent behind the median state if you look at the percentage of residents eighteen and older who have been vaccinated. That’s due to the decision to vaccinate essential personnel, the majority of whom live out-of-state. Eight percent doesn’t sound like a lot, but that means many of the vaccinated D.C. residents aren’t people who are ‘out and about’, meaning it won’t really limit transmission. Somehow, D.C. needs to find a way to make up that shortfall because we’re in a desperate race to get vaccinated before we get slammed with B.1.1.7 (my prediction is, if we get hit with that variant before we have enough vaccination, it will rip through Wards 4-8). Please, D.C., let’s keep our shit together and not get stupid regarding mask wearing and congregating indoors.

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.

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