The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: We Need More Vaccinating and Masking

We really, really do. Before we get to that, the entire city and every ward except 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; n/a is not available):

Ward one-week prevalence one-week % pos. two-week prevalence two-week % pos.
1 0.045% n/a 0.061% n/a
2 0.036% n/a 0.043% n/a
3 0.021% n/a 0.029% n/a
4 0.021% n/a 0.024% n/a
5 0.045% n/a 0.064% n/a
6 0.058% n/a 0.082% n/a
7 0.049% n/a 0.073% n/a
8 0.040% n/a 0.062% n/a
D.C. total 0.041% 1.6% 0.057% 1.8%

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. D.C., as a whole, isn’t there yet–and heading in the wrong direction. At the ward level, no wards are at the good place. All wards had massive increases in prevalence, ranging from 178% to 600% in one week. The prevalence of COVID-19 for D.C. as a whole increased nearly 2.5 fold. We also lack percent positive rates for each ward, so there’s no context for these numbers. The percent positive rates, while still good, are also heading in the wrong direction.

On the vaccination front, we’re still going too slow, with all of the numbers (partially + fully vaccinated, fully vaccinated) only increasing by about 0.7% per week. At this rate to hit, eighty percent of all people partially or fully vaccinated, that will take many months. And, of course, the massive disparities east of the river remain.

The city needs to do two things. First, reinstate indoor masking. Even if everyone were to rush out tomorrow and get vaccinated, we still would need five weeks, give or take, for full protection. In the meantime, we need indoor masking, as much as that sucks for the vaccinated.

Second, the city needs to get serious about vaccinating. Somepeople just aren’t going to get vaccinated on their own, without significant encouragement. Yes, there are structural issues, but there’s also a lot of dumbassery too, as the most common reason for not getting vaccinated still is misinformation. Some people just need to be knocked off their bullshit. Here are some possible ideas:

  1. All city employees, unless they have a valid medical reason or can perform the entirety of their duties remotely, need to be vaccinated. This includes UDC.
  2. All students eighteen and older must be vaccinated or must learn remotely.
  3. Since it seems unlikely the FDA will approve vaccination for children under the age of twelve, any parent or guardian of a DC K-12 student must have begun vaccination by the start of the school year or that student will have to learn remotely.
  4. Starting September 30, if your vaccination isn’t ‘in flight’ (or completed), no gym or other indoor exercise classes for you. If gyms can keep track of a whole bunch of other information about you (and they can and do), then they can track this too.
  5. Medical workers are supposed to be fully vaccinated by September 30. This should also apply to nursing home attendents (and similar workers).
  6. Want to serve food in a restaurant? Get vaccinated by September 30. Want to dine in a restaurant? Show proof of vaccination.

Will there be people who attempt to cheat their way out of this? Sure, but many will grumble a lot, get vaccinated, and, depending on whether or not they’re assholes, admit that the vaccination actually wasn’t a big deal. At the same time, D.C. should mandate sick leave for vaccination, and just eat the cost of vaccination (stop asking people for health insurance information–this is penny wise and pound foolish).

Will the Mayor or the Council do any of this? Likely not, since they are excessively cautious and slow. But that’s what needs to happen. Otherwise, we’re going to see hospitalizations and some deaths, especially in the areas of the city that resemble Southwest Missouri.

Anger is the appropriate emotion.

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2 Responses to The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: We Need More Vaccinating and Masking

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