As Coronavirus Spikes Citywide, Georgetown Sees Modest Rise

After receding over the summer, DC’s coronavirus numbers have spiked at an alarming rate. Whereas there are often fewer than 75 confirmed positive cases daily in August, over the last few days the daily numbers have exceeded 300. Hospitalizations have also risen, essentially doubling since early November. Test positivity has also more than doubled. In short, while there is a vaccine light at the end of the tunnel, we’re still very much well in the tunnel.

But how is Georgetown doing relative to the rest of the city? For the most part the answer is better than average.

Above is a handy map created by the excellent website: DCCovid.com. This site takes the raw data released by the city and slices and dices it into a series of incredibly informative charts. They allow you to quickly and easily see how each neighborhood in the city is doing right now, and over time. It also breaks out the data by age, race and other categories.

Each square in the map above represents a different neighborhood in DC, with each square roughly where the neighborhood appears on the real DC map. The squares contain a dark line showing how the covid positive numbers have changed for each neighborhood since March. And the color of the square represents how many positive results right now (with darker being higher results). As you can see, the darker squares are primarily on the eastern side of the city.

For the purposes of the city’s numbers, Georgetown is split into two neighborhoods: Georgetown and Georgetown East. (Georgetown, in this case, is just west Georgetown). They are both light orange in the map.

This is an interesting way to quickly see how the virus is spreading differently throughout the city, but the other charts are even more informative.

One chart allows you to see in more detail how each neighborhood has fared versus the others over time. In the above chart, the red line shows east Georgetown’s numbers over time, and the blue line shows west Georgetown. The light gray lines represent all the other neighborhoods (on the site you can click each neighborhood to highlight it). You can see that throughout the pandemic, east Georgetown has recorded higher numbers than west Georgetown, sometimes considerably more. But they both have generally remained in the middle of the pack or better.

But there have been times when one or both of the sides of Georgetown have been worse than the citywide average on a normalized scale. Above is a chart showing the positive numbers per 10,000 residents, with the black line representing the citywide number. Again, east Georgetown is red and west Georgetown blue. You can see that both have popped above the citywide average at different points throughout the year. East Georgetown popped up in July and November, and west Georgetown did in September and October. But both are currently reporting rates about half the citywide tally.

Test positivity gives a more complicated story. For some reason it spiked to huge numbers in west Georgetown in early July. On July 6th, for instance, west Georgetown reported a one day positive rate of 14%. The weeks around it also had high positive rates. But for most of the summer, both east and west Georgetown reported very low positive rates.

Starting in October, east Georgetown’s positive rate started increasing almost in lockstep with the city average. Although since the end of November, it has stayed about the same as the citywide average spiked again. West Georgetown’s, on the other hand, remained (and still remains) well below the city average since a brief spike in early October.

There’s a lot here to digest (and even more over at the site) but here are a couple quick takeaways:

  • For the most part Georgetown is not suffering the impact of covid as badly as most neighborhoods around DC
  • And in particular, it is not experiencing as sharp a spike in cases as the city has been experiencing since October
  • But the numbers are still going up
  • The arrival of GU students, particularly in the west village, does not seem to have had a noticeable impact on the numbers

So keep it up people! We’re so, so, so close. Just buckle down through winter, order take out, and shop at our small shops (with a mask!). We’re doing well! Let’s keep it up!

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