Covid-19 Timeline: The Beginning of the Pandemic

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The beginnings of the coronavirus outbreak are somewhat hazy, although most people agree that the local government in Wuhan missed the opportunity to curb the outbreak leading to massive suffering. At bioethics.com we started posting information on what is now known as COVID-19 in January 2020, although there were headlines about a pneumonia-like disease spreading in Southeast China in December 2019. These posts focus on the bioethical issues that medical professionals, bioethicists, public health officials, and scientists grappled with as SARS-CoV-2 swept the globe.

December 2019

January 2020

  • January 8: WHO Says Mysterious Illness in China Likely Being Caused by New Virus (STAT News)
  • January 20: Deadly Mystery Virus Reported in 2 New Chinese Cities and South Korea (The New York Times)
  • January 21: Health Officials Confirm First U.S. Case of China Coronavirus, Expand Screening (Reuters)
  • January 23: The WHO Declines to Declare China Virus Outbreak a Global Emergency (STAT News)

February 2020:

  • February 5: Health Officials Err on Side of Caution to Contain Viral Outbreak (The Wall Street Journal)
  • February 11: Disease Caused by Novel Coronavirus Officially Has a Name: Covid-19 (STAT News)
  • February 12: The Coronavirus Cruise Ship Quarantine Is a Scary Public Health Experiment (Vox)
  • February 14: Chinese Bioethicists: Silencing Doctor Impeded Early Control of Coronavirus (Hastings Center)
  • February 21: The Coronavirus Is Picking Up Steam Outside China, Narrowing Chances of Eliminating It (STAT News)
  • February 24: WHO Tells Countries to Prepare for Coronavirus Pandemic, But Insists It’s Too Soon to Make That Call (STAT News)
  • February 25: NIH Clinical Trial of Remdesivir to Treat COVID-19 Begins (NIH)

March 2020

  • March 11, 2020: WHO Declares the Coronavirus Outbreak a Pandemic (STAT News)
  • March 12, 2020: U.S. in Crisis Mode as Coronavirus Cases Soar, Travel Restrictions Loom (Reuters)
  • March 12, 2020: Researchers Rush to Test Coronavirus Vaccine in People without Knowing How Well It Works in Animals (STAT News)
  • March 13, 2020: President Trump Just Declared the Coronavirus Pandemic a National Emergency. Here’s What That Means (STAT News)
  • March 18, 2020: Hospital Workers Are Making Their Own Face Masks Using Craft Supplies (Gizmodo)
  • March 18, 2020: WHO to Launch Multinational Trial to Jumpstart Search for Coronavirus Drugs (STAT News)
  • March 18, 2020: The Value and Ethics of Using Phone Data to Monitor Covid-19 (Wired)
  • March 23, 2020: FDA Relaxes Clinical Trial Rules for Covid-19 Emergencies (Bloomberg)
  • March 24, 2020: The Hardest Questions Doctors May Face: Who Will Be Saved? Who Won’t? (The New York Times)
  • March 25, 2020: The US Is Fast-Tracking a Coronavirus Vaccine, But Bypassing Safety Standards May Not Be Worth the Cost (The Conversation)
  • March 27, 2020: Telemedicine Surges, Fueled by Coronavirus Fears and Shift in Payment Rules (Kaiser Health News)
  • March 27, 2020: Hospitals Consider Changes to Do-Not-Resuscitate Situations Amid Coronavirus Pandemic (CNN)
  • March 30, 2020: Coronavirus: Poverty and Ethics (Buenos Aires Times)
  • March 31, 2020: Coronavirus: US Navy Captain Pleads for Help Over Outbreak (BBC
  • March 31, 2020: A New Covid-19 Problem: Shortages of Medicines Needed for Placing Patients on Ventilators (STAT News)

April 2020

  • April 1: Some Coronavirus Patients Show Signs of Brain Ailments (The New York Times)
  • April 2: For Homeless People, Covid-19 Is Horror on Top of Horror (Wired)
  • April 3: Teargas, Beatings and Bleach: the Most Extreme Covid-19 Lockdown Controls Around the World (The Guardian)
  • April 6: The Ethics of Wearing (or Not Wearing) a Face Mask During the Coronavirus Pandemic (Time)
  • April 7: China’s Virus Pandemic Epicenter Wuhan Ends 76-Day Lockdown (Medical Xpress)
  • April 8: ‘PTSD Waiting to Happen’: Bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel on the Realities of Coronavirus Triage (New York Magazine)
  • April 9: In Fight Against COVID-19, Nurses Face High-Stakes Decisions, Moral Distress (Medical Xpress)
  • April 9: NIH Begins Trial to Test Hydroxychloroquine for Treating COVID-19 (Reuters)
  • April 13: How Apple and Google Are Enabling Covid-19 Contact-Tracing (Wired)
  • April 13: The Lonely Reality of Grieving Online During Social Isolation (MIT Technology Review)
  • April 16: ‘We Are Dead’: People with Disabilities Fear They Will Be on Losing End of Doctors’ Life-or-Death Choices Amid Coronavirus Crisis (USA Today)
  • April 17: China’s Virus Death Toll Revised Up Sharply After Review (Associated Press)
  • April 24: World Must Ensure Equal Access for All to COVID-19 Vaccines, Drugs: WHO (Reuters)
  • April 27: The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Forcing U.S. Doctors to Ration Care for All Patients (TIME)
  • April 27: Consumer Beware: Coronavirus Antibody Tests Are Still a Work in Progress (Kaiser Health News)
  • April 29: Critical Study of Gilead’s Covid-19 Drug Shows Patients Are Responding to Treatment, NIH Says (STAT News)
  • April 29: New Coronavirus Safety Measures Pose Challenges for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (NPR)
  • April 30: Suicides of Two Health Care Workers Hint at the Covid-19 Mental Health Crisis to Come (STAT News)

May 2020:

  • May 5: Pfizer Begins Human Testing for Experimental Coronavirus Vaccine in the US (CNBC)
  • May 6: Doctors Lambaste Federal Process for Distributing Covid-19 Drug Remdesivir (STAT News)
  • May 6: Researchers Report “Unprecedented Cluster” of Inflammatory Problems in Children Amide Pandemic (CNN)
  • May 13: Strains in Hard-Hit Mumbai Complicate India’s Virus Recovery (ABC News)
  • May 13: Record Death Tolls in Mexico and Brazil Add to Fears of Covid-19 Surge in Latin America (The Guardian)
  • May 14: NIH Begins Clinical Trial of Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin to Treat COVID-19 (Medical Xpress)
  • May 15: Mortality Rates Hint at Even Higher Coronavirus Death Toll (Medical Xpress)
  • May 18: How to Address the Coronavirus’s Outsized Toll on People of Color (Nature)
  • May 19: Global Trial to Assess Chloroquine Against COVID-19 in Health Workers (UPI)
  • May 20: A New Entry in the Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine: Hope (New York Times)
  • May 22: What a Big New Study on Malaria Drugs as Covid-19 Treatments Tells Us—And What It Doesn’t (STAT News)
  • May 22: South America Is a New COVID ‘Epicentre’, African Deaths Still Low: WHO (Reuters)
  • May 25: When a COVID-19 Vaccine Becomes Available, Who Should Get It First? (STAT News)
  • May 25: Ten Reasons Why Immunity Passports Are a Bad Idea (Nature)
  • May 27: British Regulator Says ‘COPCOV’ Hydroxychloroquine Trial Paused (Reuters)

June 2020

  • June 4: Lancet, New England Journal Retract Covid-19 Studies, Including One That Raised Safety Concerns About Malaria Drugs (STAT News)
  • June 8: Abortion Opponents Protest COVID-19 Vaccines’ Use of Fetal Cells (Science)
  • June 12: 1st Known U.S. Lung Transplant for COVID-19 Patient Performed in Chicago (NPR)
  • June 12: Moderna to Start Final Testing Stage of Coronavirus Vaccine in July (Reuters)
  • June 19: Italy Sewage Study Suggests COVID-19 Was There in December 2019 (Reuters)
  • June 25: U.S. Officials Change Virus Risk Groups, Add Pregnant Women (ABC News)
  • June 29: Researchers Report Nearly 300 Cases of Inflammatory Syndrome Tied to Covid-19 in Kids (STAT News)

July 2020

  • July 1: Global COVID-19 Prevention Trial of Hydroxychloroquine to Resume (Medscape)
  • July 1: Covid-19 Vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech Shows Positive Results (STAT News)
  • July 20: Covid-19 News: Oxford Vaccine Is Safe and Induces Immune Response (New Scientist)
  • July 21: U.S. Accuses Hackers of Trying to Steal Coronavirus Vaccine Data for China (New York Times)
  • July 31: ‘A Huge Experiment’: How the World Made So Much Progress on a Covid-19 Vaccine So Fast (STAT News)

August 2020

  • August 4: US Launches Advanced Trials of Antibody Treatment for Covid-19 Patients (CNN)
  • August 6: India Becomes Third Country to Pass Two Million Cases (BBC)
  • August 11: ‘A Smoking Gun’: Infectious Coronavirus Retrieved from Hospital Air (New York Times)
  • August 11: Russia Approves Coronavirus Vaccine Before Completing Tests (New York Times)
  • August 12: The Pandemic Appears to Have Spared Africa So Far. Scientists Are Struggling to Explain Why (Science)
  • August 24: Hong Kong Researchers Report First Documented Coronavirus Re-Infection (Reuters)
  • August 26: More Mixed Results for Remdesivir: Moderate COVID-19 Patients (Medscape)

September 2020

  • September 1: First U.S. COVID-19 Reinfection Case Identified in Nevada Study (Medscape)
  • September 1: Human Trials of Oxford Coronavirus Vaccine Have Begun in the US (New Scientist)
  • September 2: Covid-19 Deaths Significantly Reduced by Use of Steroids, Analysis Says (Wall Street Journal)
  • September 3: NIH Panel Counters FDA: No Solid Data on Plasma for COVID-19 (Medscape)
  • September 3: HCWs, First Responders Should Be First to Get COVID-19 Vaccines: Panel (Medscape)
  • September 9: AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine Study Put on Hold Due to Suspected Adverse Reactions in Participants in the U.K. (STAT News)
  • September 14: China Has Quietly Vaccinated More than 100,000 People for Covid-19 Before Completing Safety Trials (Vox)
  • September 14: Scientists Relieved as Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Restarts—But Question Lack of Transparency (Nature)
  • September 16: Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Reaches Initial Goal of 30,000 Volunteers (WFAA)
  • September 18: Europe Coronavirus Cases Surge as Countries Prepare Drastic Measures Against Second Wave (Newsweek)
  • September 22: WHO Unveils Global Plan to Fairly Distribute COVID-19 Vaccine, But Challenges Await (Science)
  • September 23: 64 High-Income Nations Join Effort to Expand Global Access to Covid-19 Vaccines, But U.S. and China Do Not (STAT News)
  • September 28: New Document Reveals Scope and Structure of Operation Warp Speed and Underscores Vast Military Involvement (STAT News)
  • September 29: Worldwide Death Toll from Coronavirus Eclipses 1 Million (Associated Press)
  • September 29: Regeneron’s Covid-19 Antibody May Help Non-Hospitalized Patients Recover Faster, Early Data Show (STAT News)
  • September 29: COVID-19 Cases Rising Among US Children as Schools Reopen (Associated Press)
  • September 30: Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Appears Safe, Shows Signs of Working in Older Adults: Study (Reuters)

October 2020

  • October 5: Trump to Be Discharged from Walter Reed, Doctor Says, But ‘Might Not Be Entirely Out of the Woods’ (STAT News)
  • October 7: Eli Lilly Says Its Monoclonal Antibody Cocktail Is Effective in Treating Covid-19 (STAT News)
  • October 8: ‘Rural Surge’ Propels India Toward More Covid-19 Infections Than U.S. (New York Times)
  • October 13: Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine Study Paused Due to Unexplained Illness in Participant (STAT News)
  • October 14: Central Europe, Spared in Spring, Suffers as Virus Surges (New York Times)
  • October 14: Russia Approves 2nd Virus Vaccine After Early Trials (ABC News)
  • October 16: WHO Study Finds Remdesivir Didn’t Help COVID-19 Patients (Associated Press)
  • October 20: ‘At a Breaking Point’: New Surge of Covid-19 Cases Has States, Hospitals Scrambling, Yet Again (STAT News)
  • October 20: U.K. to Infect Healthy Volunteers in Covid-19 Vaccine Research Trials (STAT News)
  • October 30: Over 3 Million Cases of Coronavirus Reported in Mideast (Medical Xpress)

November 2020

  • November 2: Two COVID-19 Outpatient Antibody Drugs Show Encouraging Results (Medscape)
  • November 5: Denmark to Cull 17 Million Mink Amid SARS-CoV-2 Mutation Concerns (The Scientist)
  • November 9: Pfizer Says COVID-19 Vaccine Is Looking 90% Effective (Associated Press)
  • November 9: Scientists Criticize Use of Unproven COVID Drugs in India (Nature)
  • November 10: The Story of mRNA: How a Once-Dismissed Idea Became a Leading Technology in the Covid Vaccine Race (STAT News)
  • November 11: FDA Grants Emergency Use Authorization to Lilly’s Antibody COVID-19 Therapy (Medscape)
  • November 12: Russia’s Claim of a Successful COVID-19 Vaccine Doesn’t Pass the ‘Smell Test,’ Critics Say (Science)
  • November 13: Situation ‘Dire’ as COVID Spike in West, Midwest Worsens, Experts Say (Medscape)
  • November 13: Microsoft: Russian, North Korean Hackers Target Vaccine Work (Associated Press)
  • November 17: COVID-19 Fatality Rate Down 30% Since April Study Finds (Medscape)
  • November 18: Pfizer and BioNTech to Submit Covid-19 Vaccine Data to FDA as Full Results Show 95% Efficacy (STAT News)
  • November 23: COVID-19 Outcomes Tied to Hospital, Not Just Race (Medscape)
  • November 23: AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine is 70% Effective on Average, Early Data Show (STAT News)
  • November 30: ‘Absolutely Remarkable’: No One Who Got Moderna’s Vaccine in Trial Developed Severe COVID-19 (Science)
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