The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: You’re on Your Own, Suckas!

And the data are turning to shit too. Before we get to that, no wards are below the German rollback threshold of 50 new cases per 100,000 per week–which also is the moderate threshold the CDC uses (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 0.277% n/a 0.379% n/a
2 0.252% n/a 0.517% n/a
3 0.168% n/a 0.323% n/a
4 garbage garbage 0.180% n/a
5 0.061% n/a 0.330% n/a
6 0.155% n/a 0.305% n/a
7 0.075% n/a 0.229% n/a
8 0.190% n/a 0.231% n/a
D.C. total 0.151% 3.3% 0.333% 3.1%

Before summarizing the data, you should be aware that the ward level data are shit. There’s no nice way to say that, but if we’re basically turning public health into individual health (you’re on your own, suckas!), then there is an obligation to provide accurate and timely data, so we can make good choices. Not only are there multiple typographical errors every day (e.g., 14479 becomes 124479–I think, but who knows), but the daily ward numbers bounce around like crazy:

Screen Shot 2022-02-16 at 7.50.12 AM

(if I were to choose February 6-13 as the week, six wards would see massive declines and two wards would see massive increases compared to February 7-14). This makes it difficult to assess what’s happening in each ward, but more importantly, it calls into question the validity of the underlying data. This really hasn’t started to be a serious problem until the last few weeks–I do look at these numbers–so this is a new problem*.

All that said, let’s review. Wards 1 and 8 saw large surges, while Wards 5 and 7 had large declines, with the city overall declining by eighteen percent, which unfortunately is a ‘decline in the decline.’ ICU cases continue to decline, and deaths have dropped to five in the last week.

Unfortunately, Mayor Bowser has decided, in the face of overwhelming public opinion, to remove the vaccination requirement for indoor establishments (began yesterday) and the mask protection March 1. I’ll have more to say about this tomorrow, but I don’t think this will lead to a surge, but my concern is that the ‘new normal’ will be too high, somewhere around 20-30 daily new cases per 100,000, which is too high, even with vaccination. While we’re on the subject of outcomes, the local press corps needs to ask Bowser about long COVID–what percentage of vaccinated people do they think will contract long COVID?

Rage is the appropriate emotion.

*Every so often, there were issues, but not with this frequency.

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