The COVID Data We Still Need

Despite the bleatings of White House COVID czar Jha and other members of the administration–including Dark Brandon, his very own self–we haven’t been provided with all the tools we need. We currently have no meaningful way to assess the prevalence of COVID–that is, what percentage of people are positive for COVID. If you’re trying to determine if certain activities are safe, we need that information: if I’m in a restaurant with 100 people, what is the likelihood that one or more people are positive? With that information, we can start to assess when certain activities should be avoided.

Since most at home test results aren’t recorded, the ‘official’ statistics, which rely on PCR, simply aren’t very useful. What we need is asymptomatic hospital intake data–what percentage of those who go to the hospital for reasons other than COVID (and don’t have symptoms) test positive. It’s not perfect, but it would give us a rough estimate.

Right now, all those of us in the mainland colony of D.C. have is the recent student test rates (every student and staff in DCPS was tested). The good news is only 0.5% of students tested positive, though DCPS hasn’t released the full data, or data for adults (staff). That’s actually lower than what I predicted (0.9%), which is good, but who knows how this will change–WHICH IS MY ENTIRE FUCKING POINT.

So, no, we do not have the tools.

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