A little better akshually!
According to the recent DC Public Schools (DCPS) back-to-school antigen testing. In the most recent data (testing occurred on Monday), 0.5% students tested positive, and 1.0% of staff tested positive. This is lower than early January (0.75% and 1.7% respectively), but close to post-Thanksgiving (0.6% and 1.3% of staff).
That said, there are some caveats:
- Compared to the previous two testathons, roughly ten percent fewer students and twenty-five percent fewer staff were tested.
- Related to the previous point, we have no idea if the ‘missing’ staff and students are more or less likely to test positive (one could make arguments either way).
- We also don’t know how many of those who tested positive would have attended school. If someone ‘feels better’ than they did several days ago, would they have ‘toughed it out’ were it not for the positive result?
- Antigen tests typically have a window of 12-36 hours in which viral load is high (even with Omicron), but the test is negative, so there are probably some ‘stealth positives.’
So, the prevalence of COVID has declined, but not by a lot. It’s probably reasonable, given the caveats listed above, to assume one percent of D.C. area residents are COVID positive, though again, how many of them are out and about is unknown. Over the long term, I think one percent will be the baseline, since it seems we’ve moved from sharp peaks and valleys to ripples at a high tide, with surges of successive Omicron variants. I would love to be wrong about that, obviously.
Regarding safety, in large, indoor gatherings, someone likely will be COVID positive, so 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!