New cases of the COVID-19 virus have dwindled down in Charlestown to about one or two per day, and testing remains low but steady in screening about 150 people per week in the Town.
There were 182 confirmed cases in the Town since the outbreak started as of June 4, according to new data released by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) last Friday. That was an increase of 10 cases from the previous week, with 153 new people tested in the current week’s statistics. That was up slightly from the 125 people tested in the previous week, but was still low comparatively to other neighborhoods in the city.
That said Charlestown still has the fewest cases of any neighborhood and the third lowest infection rate (93.7 per 10,000).
It also has a very low positivity rate for those tested, at 14.8 percent. That is a critical measure of how prevalent the virus is within a community, and Charlestown’s numbers are only behind Fenway (14 percent) and Downtown/Beacon Hill/Back Bay (11.7 percent).
Other communities, even neighboring East Boston remain double Charlestown positivity rate on testing, though it and others have tested vastly more people within their neighborhoods.
East Boston had tested 5,024 residents by June 4, with a 30.9 percent positivity rate. That was the highest rate in the city, but it is down substantially from a high of nearly 50 percent a month ago. The positive rate is on the downward slope all over the City.
Testing has been an issue in Charlestown since the beginning of the pandemic, and a test site wasn’t set up here until a few weeks ago. Even so, it’s capacity to test is about 60 per week. Charlestown has completed the lowest number of test by far, at 1,250 since the pandemic began. The next lowest was Fenway at 2,079 as of June 4. Still, even as about 150 per week have been tested, the positive rate has not increased, but decreased. That could signal that there was never a heavy concentration of the COVID-19 virus in the Town throughout the pandemic. More testing in diverse locations will be necessary to determine that, to make sure there are not hidden hot spots within the neighborhood.
• Infection Rates by Race
The infection rates by race are new statistics being shared, and they show an interesting view of how the concentration of the virus affects those of different races and ethnicities.
The infection rate for Black/African Americans sits at 268.6 per 10,000, which is about triple the infection rate of white residents (89.8 per 10,000) and more than quadruple the rate of Asian residents (60.9 per 10,000). Latino residents are just behind Black/African Americans that with a rate of 213.2 per 10,000.
However, it is notable that the rates must be viewed with “caution,” according to the BPHC, as there is missing data. Some 15 percent of cases have come in without any racial data.
It is a known story, but another way to look at how the rates are so much higher in some racial groups than others.
• Male Vs. Female
Something that will be interesting for public health researchers to delve into is the anomaly in Boston of more women becoming infected than men. This has been the case since the surge in April and is counter to what has been seen across the world as the virus seems to hit men harder in other locales.
As of June 4, 50.9 percent of cases in Boston were in women, while 47.7 occurred in men.
Within that data, the infection rates have moved up and down between men and women for weeks – sometimes women being higher and sometimes men.
This week, the infection rate for men was 188.4 per 10,000. For women, it was lower at 186.1 per 10,000.
• Older Folks Are More Likely to Get It
The percent of cases is still highest in the 50-59 year age group, who has 17.5 percent of cases overall. Infection rates are at 300 per 10,000 or above in all age groups 50 and above.
Naturally, the 80 and over age group is double that group, at 612.3 per 10,000. However, they account for only 9.3 percent of the total number of positive cases.
Boston is a young city by age strata.
Meanwhile, the youngest Bostonians, ages 0-19, make up 4.7 percent of cases and have an infection rate of 42.7 per 10,000.