Rani Molla in Vox:
This year, mercifully, saw quite a few notable improvements over the last. In 2021, vaccines became widely available, and many of the experiences we had to forgo in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, have begun to return in the second. Unemployment is low, and wages are rising. That’s not to say we’re out of the woods with the pandemic. In fact, more Americans died of Covid-19 in 2021 than in 2020. And, motivated by widespread misinformation, a sizable portion of the eligible population still has not gotten a vaccine, even as variants like delta and omicron make it hard to feel at ease. Meanwhile, the richest Americans are accumulating even more wealth, and high inflation rates are making everyone’s money worth less. Of course, many of this year’s trends existed long before the pandemic, though the public health crisis has certainly kicked some into high gear. What follows is a series of charts that attempt to illustrate some of the major trends of 2021. All data is from what was available in mid-December.
Vaccination rates are rising, but they may never be high enough
Currently, about 61 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated, while 72 percent have received at least one dose. That rate is lower than much of the rest of the developed world, trailing China, Canada, and the UK, among others. While vaccination numbers have steadily ticked upward, thanks to a combination of public health campaigns and employer mandates, a good chunk of Americans — 13 percent — say they’ll never get the vaccine.