Coyoteblog (somewhat prematurely, I think) declares the pandemic over, at least in Arizona, this based on Arizona Department of Health hospitalization data. The obvious rejoinder to this is that we have previously seen downturns in hospitalization, but this time we have vaccinations. Arizona recently surpassed 40% of its population with one or more jabs, which the ADH boils down to 26.8% of its population vaccinated.
Costco may have quietly come to their own conclusions on this matter:
A sign that the end (of the pandemic) must surely be nigh. pic.twitter.com/YUf3LZdUUm— Joanna Robinson 🇺🇸✌️🏳️🌈 (@jowrotethis) March 14, 2021
There's reason for hope. Hopefully next month we start seeing the large vaccine increases promised back in February. Of course, this won't help if we continue to see vaccine hesitancy in younger groups — or in ethnic groups otherwise disinclined to get vaccinated. This is already being chalked up to, in part, Russian disinformation (some of which is probably due to Sputnik V vaccine marketing). But none of this makes sense against the background of historical influenza vaccination uptake.
In the Kaiser Family Foundation's most recent poll, 51% of whites, 52% of Hispanics, but only 42% of blacks either had already been vaccinated or planned to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Yet, if you look back a ways — to this 2013 NIH study on influenza vaccination — you would see that whites lead inoculations in all age categories, with blacks trailing around 10% and Hispanics a similar percentage. As only 32.2% of whites 18-64 got inoculated in the 2010-11 season, that means about a 20-point shift in confidence and/or necessity. That's pretty impressive when you consider all the shade thrown at the vaccines as "rushed" or whatever other imagined flaws they might have.