Americans are done with the pandemic, even though COVID-19 doesn’t appear to be done with them.
Two years after the first case of the virus hit U.S. shores, Americans tired of mask mandates and repeated jabs are just moving on with their lives.
“The vaccination drive in the U.S. is grinding to a halt, and demand has all but collapsed,” the Associated Press reported Thursday.
“The average number of Americans getting their first shot is down to about 90,000 a day, the lowest point since the first few days of the U.S. vaccination campaign, in December 2020. And hopes of any substantial improvement in the immediate future have largely evaporated,” the AP wrote.
Going maskless is now in vogue, even as COVID-19 cases continue to land thousands of Americans in the hospital. “People are just over it. They’re tired of it,” Judy Smith, administrator for a 12-county public health district in northwestern Alabama, told the wire service.
For example, actor Ben Stiller told Howard Stern on his Wednesday satellite radio show that he felt “peer pressure” to not wear a mask while at a recent NBA basketball game in New York. Stiller said he came down with COVID-19 two days later.
COVID-19 is now in its fourth iteration. The media repeatedly painted the Omicron strain as less dangerous, perhaps prompting people to be more cavalier.
“People heard more stories about, well, the Omicron’s not that bad,” Kathy Emmons, executive director of a health department in Wyoming, told the AP. “I think a lot of people just kind of rolled the dice and decided, ‘Well, if it’s not that bad, I’m just going to kind of wait it out and see what happens.’”
The news comes as experts debate whether to advise a fourth shot to be considered “fully vaccinated.”
“As the world approaches the second anniversary of the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic by the World Health Organization, on March 11, more nations are rolling out — or are discussing the possibility of — fourth doses of coronavirus vaccine for their most vulnerable,” CNN reported, noting that a recommendation could come as soon as fall.
“Now, the US Food and Drug Administration ‘is indeed continually looking at the emerging data on the pandemic and variants in the United States and overseas in order to evaluate the potential utility and composition of booster doses,’ FDA spokesperson Alison Hunt wrote in an email to CNN on Friday,” the network reported.
“As more data become available about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, including the use of a booster dose, we will continue to evaluate the rapidly changing science and keep the public informed,” Hunt added. “Any determination that additional booster doses are needed will be based on data available to the agency.”
But other experts say a fourth shot may not be needed for months – or years.
“If you recently got a booster shot to protect against COVID-19, you may not need another for several months, or even several years, new studies suggest,” Business Insider reported on Tuesday.
“According to one study released earlier this week and reported on by Apoorva Mandavilli for The New York Times, receiving three mRNA vaccinations from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna helps the body create a wide array of antibodies that are especially effective in not only preventing death and severe illness, but also in protecting against variants,” the outlet added.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.