The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: Doing Well

Now, let’s just not fuck it up. The entire city and Wards 1-4 and Ward 6, are below 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 0.036% 1.2% 0.069% 1.5%
2 0.014% 0.2% 0.038% 0.5%
3 0.018% 0.4% 0.033% 0.5%
4 0.029% 0.8% 0.060% 1.1%
5 0.062% 1.4% 0.109% 1.6%
6 0.029% 0.8% 0.057% 1.1%
7 0.090% 2.5% 0.209% 3.4%
8 0.129% 2.3% 0.218% 2.8%
D.C. total 0.051% 1.2% 0.096% 1.4%

One thing to note is that there appeared to be two data dumps of backlogged data this week, so last week might have been worse and this week might have been better (probably was). 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 several wards are getting close. Wards 2 and 3 are getting close to the good place, but Wards 5, 7, and 8 still have a ways to go (though Ward 8 might have been especially hard hit by the data backlogs, but there’s no way to tell). Given the backlogs, I don’t think there’s much utility in comparing the prevalence of this week to last week. The percent positive rates are finally good in all wards. R(t) surged above 1 this week, but that’s clearly a result of the data issues. The one down note is that deaths were bad this week, with ten in the last seven days, which is a dramatic increase from four in the previous week. I really didn’t expect deaths to keep on coming.

The real question is if D.C. change its indoor masking policy in light of the CDC’s policy change. It’s worth noting that D.C. attempted to institute the same policy and was slammed by workers and owners who were worried about not being fully vaccinated and also didn’t want to be the ‘mask police.’ D.C. relented, and unlike the CDC and some defenders, didn’t try to justify the change by claiming it would increase vaccination rates. Just saying.

My take is that Wards 2 and 3 are probably fine with a looser policy, but several other wards just aren’t there yet. We should wait. What’s frustrating about the CDC change–and the ensuing discussion by fucking idiot pundits–is there was no mention of benchmarks such as prevalence or vaccination rates. The unwillingness to use the data we collect, other than once for the school reopening guidance, has been a fucking disaster.

All that said, in a month or so, I think we’ll be in a very good place. I can’t forgive the city’s leadership for refusing to stop the surge in early November (or even in October), which likely led to a couple hundred needless deaths. But at least we’re getting towards the end of this nightmare, though I’ll still be angry about the greatest domestic policy failure in my lifetime. Not willing to forgive that.

*The one-week percent positive data are based on Monday to Sunday due to data problems.

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