Arizona continues to experience a high number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. With waning vaccine efficacy and a potentially short duration of acquired immunity, herd immunity is not achievable. As time progresses, more individuals will become susceptible. While the previously vaccinated and previously infected will remain mostly protected from severe outcomes, they will contribute to community transmission.
There was a 15% decrease in COVID cases last week with little reduction in testing and declining test positivity. There was also a slight ebb in hospital occupancy indicating that transmission is temporarily slowing in advance of the coming Omicron wave.
January 2022 is poised to be the worst of the entire pandemic in terms of hospitalizations and deaths as three events collide: 1) the tail of the Delta wave; 2) the amplification of what will be a very large Omicron wave; and 3) below average but meaningful seasonal influenza.
Given how poorly prepared Arizona is… it’s going to be an ugly January for unvaccinated persons, folks that will need care for injuries, accidents, and people requiring hospital care for things unrelated to COVID.