Utah's Salt Lake County Health Department set off a social media tweetstorm by posting a table showing residents' vaccination rates by zodiac sign, with local Leos ranking first, at 70% vaccinated, and Scorpios last, at 46%.
The astrologically inclined rushed to glean meaning from the results. Some attributed the high vaccination rates of the top three groups — all fire signs — to their reputation for determination and drive.
On Twitter and Reddit, sign-stereotype jokes ensued. "Fellow Scorpios, WTH?! You can't sustain an ancient blood feud if you get COVID. Sheesh! Vengeance isn't going to wreak itself." And: "We Aries want to be in control, the best way to do that with Covid is to get vaccinated — both doses asap!"
Number geeks, predictably, questioned the validity of the data ("garbage in, garbage out"). Though the health department had accurate birthdates for the vaccinated cohort, it lacked birthdates of all county residents. So it had made its calculations using an unattributed chart of each zodiac sign's percentage of the U.S. population from a Texas professor's random blog post.
Questioning the reliability of that source, one truth-seeking tweeter reran the calculations with birthdate numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Social Security Administration. The resulting difference in vaccination rates between the signs was a far less shocking 8 percentage points.
But the indignant, fact-checking tweet received only 12 likes compared with 5,000-plus for the health department's chart. The public, it seemed, was about as concerned with the validity of Salt Lake County's correlation of zodiac signs to vaccine rates as the idea that astrology might affect one's life in any possible way.
The health department suggested that naysayers had taken their chart more seriously than they'd intended, tweeting: "What we're really doing is finding new and different ways to keep our community talking about vaccination when there is significant message fatigue around the topic."
Perhaps horoscope writers will take up the task, urging on Scorpios with "You will get vaccinated today" directives.