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Knowing the COVID Risk

One of the most important metrics to watch in determining the prevalence of COVID-19 is the number of cases within the community.  Our city tracks and reports on this periodically and also uses it as a measure that informs how and when the city reopens.  This particular statistic excludes transmission among residents of the same household, nursing home, homeless shelter, or the DC jail.  As such, it provides a means of measuring how the virus is spreading throughout our city.  

As this recent DCist article points out, on August 3rd we reached a high of 83 infections that were spread through the community (again, this excludes infections from someone with whom one resides.). This measure can be viewed on the DC Coronavirus website and the latest data show that as of August 6, the number of community-related infections was 55.

So, how does the virus spread within the community?  DC Health Director, Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt indicated that she sees a “higher proportion of cases related to workplace or travel...” As the DCist article states, anecdotal information about how people get infected, include “a woman in her 20s who had dinner with her friends; four friends who traveled to Los Angeles for the 4th of July holiday weekend; and a small birthday gathering that seemed “very innocent” at first, but ended up affecting three separate households.”

How can you gauge the risk of various activities?  This chart can help you determine the level of risk associated with activities of daily living.  Keep in mind, however, that very few activities have no risk and that socially isolating oneself from others also has documented consequences to one’s heath.   See the CDC research on the health consequences of isolation. We all need to make the best decisions for ourselves and others based on the best information that we have about transmission routes.



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