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

Though not as much as last week. Before we get to that, only Wards 1-4 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 0.049% n/a 0.094% n/a
2 0.037% n/a 0.072% n/a
3 0.029% n/a 0.051% n/a
4 0.043% n/a 0.063% n/a
5 0.064% n/a 0.109% n/a
6 0.068% n/a 0.126% n/a
7 0.064% n/a 0.114% n/a
8 0.092% n/a 0.132% n/a
D.C. total 0.056% 2.7% 0.096% 2.1%

In addition, the entire city, for the first time in a long time, didn’t get below the German rollback threshold of 50 new cases per 100,000 per week. Every ward except Ward 2 saw large increases this week, especially Wards 4 and 8 which had doublings of new cases. 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.

We also had a death this week–and if cases stay where they are, we’ll probably see a needless trickle of COVID-19 deaths. The only good news is that COVID-19 related hospitalizations are low and steady. No increase there (yet, anyway). Mind you, a moderate case of COVID-19 that doesn’t require hospitalization isn’t exactly a walk in the park.

Meanwhile, vaccination is crawling. At the current rate of around 0.1% of the population per day, it will be months before the city is anywhere near herd immunity. Unless, of course, we get there by Delta variant infections (WHEEEE!!!! Akshually, not the recommended way to build immunity to COVID-19). Last week, some asshole with a blog suggested the following vaccine mandates:

  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 still the appropriate emotion.

Added: The CDC’s new masking guidance would require indoor masking in D.C. This didn’t need to happen.

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