The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: Cases Are Rising and Vaccination Mistakes Are Being Made

We’ll unpack the passive tense in a bit. First, cases in D.C. are rising. The entire city and all wards, 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 0.062% 1.5% 0.189% 2.3%
2 0.095% 2.1% 0.148% 1.7%
3 0.051% 1.2% 0.105% 1.3%
4 0.080% 2.0% 0.197% 2.7%
5 0.143% 3.2% 0.264% 3.0%
6 0.099% 2.3% 0.242% 2.9%
7 0.158% 3.9% 0.308% 4.0%
8 0.202% 4.0% 0.380% 4.0%
D.C. total 0.111% 2.5% 0.231% 2.7%

The city as a whole had a higher prevalence, with increases in Wards 6 and 8, and a massive surge in Ward 2, a 79% increase, which seems to be distributed across neighborhoods (i.e., not a single outbreak). Wards 1, 4, and 7 had substantial decreases. The percent positive rate is good, though, as usual, high in Wards 7 and 8. As of Sunday, there were eleven COVID-19-related deaths.

As some asshole with a blog noted last week:

Unfortunately, from the vantage of preventing COVID-19 spread, the weather has turned nice, so we’ll see a lot of people socializing a couple of feet away from each other without wearing masks (this includes the activity known as dining). This will not help matters. But seeing as the city, not to mention the country, essentially has given up on controlling the virus through any means other than vaccination, let’s turn our attention to the state of vaccination in D.C.

Indeed, the weather has been nice. Moreover, our insistent belief that kids don’t spread the virus, even as recent data from the UK shows kids are more likely to have it than adults, won’t help either. But onto vaccination.

According to CDC daily updates, the number of partially or fully vaccinated people aged 18 or older increased by about 43,000 people last week (roughly 7.5% of the eligible population). Unfortunately, looking at this week’s state allocation, D.C. won’t be able to do much better, since you can’t vaccinate people with vaccines you don’t have, and the allocation hasn’t increased.

The unknown ‘X factor’ is what will happen with the Federal Retail Pharmacy Partnership. Hopefully, both D.C. can figure out how to ensure that all of the vaccine that D.C. is entitled too is sent. D.C. government needs to stop thinking about vaccination as if it were slots at Duke Ellington*. Every person who’s vaxxed is a person who can’t infect someone else–and since these are ‘bonus’ doses, it’s far better to vaccinate someone, even if they’re not the ‘optimal’ someone, than no one.

At the same time, it’s immensely frustrating to read that there are states that are delaying vaccine orders, often over 100,000 dosees. These would be enough to make a serious dent or even vaccinate all of D.C. (e.g., Texas). If states aren’t ordering vaccine, then ship it to states colonies like D.C. that have built the infrastructure to administer the vaccine**. This problem is on Biden et alia (seriously, if I see one more cheerleading tweet from Andy Slavitt, I’m going to put my fist through something. Motherfucker, we need more vaccine). Vaccine hesitancy would be a wonderful problem for D.C. to have.

As usual, I’ll remind you that the good news is we still could be only around four to six weeks away from returning to normal-ish, even though we intentionally remain four to 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.

*An elite public arts academy.

**D.C. has multiple, tested centers that can administer thousand of doses per day. In addition, there are smaller community facilities that have done trial runs, as well as the hospitals. This isn’t an issue of rural areas simply not having the infrastructure. Many, if not most people, could walk to the infrastructure.

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