The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: Getting Better

Probably. Before we get to the data, it’s worth noting that D.C. isn’t really reporting daily test data by ward, so we lack context for the prevalence data (e.g., if a ward had 9 positives in a week, how many total tests were given). It’s very frustrating, since, when we really do need some accuracy, the data quality and reliability just aren’t there: when things are bad, you’re just cataloging the apocalypse with additional precision. Here’s the last two weeks of data (n/a is not available):


Ward one-week prevalence one-week % pos. two-week prevalence two-week % pos.
1 0.014% n/a 0.034% n/a
2 0.010% n/a 0.018% n/a
3 0.006% n/a 0.015% n/a
4 0.017% n/a 0.043% n/a
5 0.021% n/a 0.057% n/a
6 0.007% n/a 0.027% n/a
7 0.040% n/a 0.080% n/a
8 0.029% n/a 0.086% n/a
D.C. total 0.017% 1.0% 0.044% 1.1%

The entire city and all wards 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 above).

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. Wards 2 and 6 are there, and Ward 2 is close, but the other wards have a ways to go, with Wards 7 and 8 in the worst shape. These prevalences, if you’re unvaccinated, are worse than they look because a significant fraction of people are vaccinated (partially or fully), so part of the population is ‘ineligible’ for infection (or at a very reduced risk of it). Other than Wards 2 and 7, most wards saw dramatic decreases in prevalence. Like I wrote at the outset, the ward level total tests administered data just aren’t being updated, so I can’t say anything about the percent positive rate, other than it’s good city-wide.

D.C. had three COVID-19 related deaths in the last week, but tragically, one of them was a pregnant Black woman, who, following doctors orders, delayed vaccination due to underlying conditions. This is why we need to increase vaccination–to protect the vulnerable among us. I’ll have more to say about D.C.’s vaccination progress in another post, but I’ll leave you with this comment from last week:

One bright spot are that the percent positive rates are still low, even though the number of people being tested is dropping. The other bright spot is D.C. had only four COVID-19 related deaths this week. While I’ll have more to say about vaccination tomorrow, D.C. is only increasing the percentage of partially vaccinated people by about 0.2% per day, sometimes less than that, and the vaccination disparities among wards seem to have grown wider according to the (highly confusing) D.C. data. We have to increase vaccination, especially in the 20-40 years old range if we want to stop this. Right now, Black people are getting hammered: 24/28 of those who died between May 1 to May 31 were Black. 77% of new cases during that period were Black (another nine percent identified as multi-racial). In D.C., COVID-19 has become a mostly ‘Black’ disease.

All right we are two cities.

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