District’s Model Projects 93,000 COVID-19 Infections in 2020 – Peak in June/July
by Larry Janezich
The model DC is using to estimate the number of COVID-19 infections in the city projects a total of 93,696 infections during the span of the pandemic in 2020, a peak of infection at the end of June or the beginning of July, and a range of deaths from 220 to 1000 plus.
DC is using the CHIME model for those projections because, Mayor Bowser said during a briefing at the DC Armory, it has a more realistic estimate of the amount of contact individuals will have with each other. If the model’s projections bear out, DC will need 3000 acute care beds and 2800 ICU beds at the peak – a 125% increase from what is currently available. 3/4 of the needed projected increase has been accounted for under current plans by increasing inside and outside capacity of existing health care facilities. For the rest, the city is looking at adding capacity in other venues, such as the armory and hotels, but no decision has been made.
Councilmember Charles Allen pointed to a critical gap in the social distancing mitigation, asking the Mayor about what she could do to enforce social distancing in grocery stores. One of the most worrisome aspects of shopping is for the safety of unmasked checkout clerks during interaction with hundreds of customers as shoppers check out. Councilmember Gray asked if the city could provide protective gear for the store workers. Bowser said the city was in discussions with store management and labor to see what the city can do with respect to social distancing. She also said that she would discuss Gray’s concerns, but noted that the city currently is struggling to provide protective equipment for its first responders and health care personnel.
Other points made during the briefing:
- The city has started posting the number of positive cases by Ward here: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/page/coronavirus-data There are currently 128 positive cases in Ward 6, an increase of 16 over yesterday. Bowser said there was nothing remarkable about the disparity between the number cases in the 8 Wards.
- Today is the first day of the drive-through virus test facility at the United Medical Center. A doctor’s referral is necessary.
ANC6B Commissioner and City Council candidate Chander Jayaraman attended the briefing and later told Capitol Hill Corner: “I was impressed with Mayor Bowser and the competent team she has assembled to deal with the expected surge. I feel confident she is utilizing the right data=driven approach to project what the city will need in terms of medical services and assets to deal with this crisis.”