Last week, D.C. had a post-Thanksgiving back-to-school COVID testathon. Some observations and thoughts:
- 1.3% of staff, and 0.6% of students tested positive (though around thirty percent of students didn’t test at all); lumped together, we have 0.7% total. Note these are at-home antigen tests, not PCR tests, so we’re probably looking at around a one-percent infection rate, maybe a bit higher.
- Given the previous estimate, plan accordingly if you’re dining out, going to bars, and so on. Hopefully, last weekend’s World Cup festivities won’t have resulted in increased transmission and prevalence.
- I will just repeat my plea for requiring hospitals to release asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID patient intake data (i.e., what percent of people show up to the hospital infected?). We need this information, even if the Washington Post editorial board and business-friendly deputy mayors are afraid of the consequences.
- We’re also getting hammered by influenza, though that has receded slightly, and RSV. From what I’ve read and based on conversations with a couple of local hospital infectious disease/ED people, many of the hospitalizations, especially among kids, seem to be due to influenza and RSV, not COVID. For the most part, COVID is either a contributing factor among adults (those who have had COVID infections previously are getting hit hard by other viral and bacterial diseases now), or else COVID is reducing staffing (doctors and nurses can’t work). That said, there are no publicly available real-time data, so take this with a grain of salt.
- Related to the above, you really don’t want to get COVID, even if you have a mild case and are fortunate enough to avoid long COVID. If you’ve had COVID, try to avoid a second case–that might help you if you get sick with something else.
- Please wear a mask indoors in public places. This protects against multiple diseases, not just COVID. It is not like getting waterboarded, it’s just a mask. You can do this! I believe in you!