COVID-19 TIMELINE

COVID-19 has made it clear that public health is essential to economic recovery.
The notion that we must choose between them is ridiculous – and has had deadly consequences.

The timeline plots the history of COVID-19, from the first reported case to current events,
which are kept regularly updated.

It can be viewed chronologically, as things happened, or by most recent events first.
Here you can find more a detailed introduction and a guide to abbreviations.

This timeline will be updated approximately weekly throughout 2021.
Please check back for the latest developments.

4 July 2021

• Police in Mumbai have arrested 14 people and are continuing to investigate nearly a dozen private vaccination sites that have been giving people salt water injections instead of coronavirus vaccines, charging between $10 and $17 per dose. Over 2,600 people received injections of what they thought was Covishield at these facilities during the last two months. Police in the state of West Bengal are also investigating a vaccination scam. Source

• Britain reports nearly 25,000 daily cases of coronavirus. Source

• Mucormycosis – also called black fungus- has been reported in three COVID-19 patients in Afghanistan. The  bone- and tissue-eating fungus, which is fatal in more than 50 percent of cases, is likely due to unsanitary hospital conditions and overuse of steroids. Source

• The UAE becomes the world’s most-vaccinated country, having given 15.5 million doses, enough to cover 72.1% of its 10 million residents with a two-dose regimen. Source

• Moscow is now requiring residents to show a QR code to verify that they have been vaccinated, recently tested negative, or have recovered from COVID-19 before they can enter bars and restaurants. Only 2.5 million passes have been issued in a population of 12 million. Source

• Although WHO say evidence on ivermectin for preventing and/or treating COVID-19 is not conclusive, the antiparasitic drug is selling out in Indonesia. Source

• The veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis donated 11,000 doses of an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed for mink. The shots went to zoos, animal sanctuaries, universities and other animal conservation sites across the US, including Oakland’s zoo, where Dr. Alex Herman, the vice president of veterinary services said “It means a lot more safety for our beautiful animals,” said “Our very first animals to get vaccinated at the zoo were two of our beautiful and elderly tigers.” Source

3 July 2021

• The USFDA cleared up to 15 million doses of the J & J coronavirus vaccine produced in the Emergent Biosolutions plant responsible for ruining 75 million doses – not enough for J & J to meet its promised deliveries to the EU and US. The batch that was cleared has not been bottled yet, making it likely that it will be exported. The Emergent plant remains closed, since the FDA has not yet certified it to as complaint with good manufacturing practices. Source

• Germany has recommended mixing a first  dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine with a second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which the country’s health experts believe can offer better protection against the Delta variant. Source

• South Africa’s Health Products Regulatory Authority approves SinoVac’s coronavirus vaccine for people ages 18-59. It is also reviewing Sputnik V and Sinopharm’s vaccine. Source

• Anti-Bolsonaro protests spread across Brazil as the Attorney General’s office opens an investigation into Mr. Bolsonaro’s role in a vaccine corruption scandal, where 20 million doses of an unapproved vaccine which was still in clinical trials were purchased although the deal has been suspended. Bolsonaro says that he had no part in the deal, although a lawmaker and his brother, who works at the health ministry, testified that Bolsonaro warned about it. “I have no way of knowing what’s happening in the ministries,” he told supporters on Monday. Source

• Argentina’s President  Alberto Fernandez signed a decree allowing the country to purchase pediatric coronavirus vaccines and pave the way for it to receive donations by removing obstacles in existing legislation. The decree also creates a COVID-19 reparation fund for indemnity demands from by people able to prove they suffered damages from a coronavirus vaccine. Currently, 9 percent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated and  38 percent of them have been given one dose. Source

• Strive Masiyiwa, a telecommunications billionaire and philanthropist who is helping the African Union to secure coronavirus doses, says that “The U.S. government has really stepped up…” while “…not a single dose, not one vial has left a European factory for Africa,” he said. “Now is the time for Europe to open up its production facilities so that we can buy vaccines.” Currently,  less than 1.1 percent of  the continent’s 1.2 billion people are fully vaccinated, according to Africa’s CDC. Source

2 July 2021

• Zydus Cadilla announces that it has applied for emergency use approval for its experimental coronavirus vaccine, ZyCoV-D, the first-ever plasmid DNA vaccine for human use. The vaccine was 67 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in trials of 28,000 people – 1,000 of them ages 12- 18. There is no published, peer-reviewed data on the vaccine. Source

• The BBC reports that sources in India say it will not recognize the EU digital vaccine pass unless the EU recognizes India’s Covishield and Covaxin and accept its government-issued certificates. Austria, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland have expanded eligibility to include Covishield, and Estonia will accept all Indian-made vaccines. Source

• The US delivered 2.5 million doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine to Pakistan, in partnership with COVAX, Unicef and Pakistan’s government. Source

• Germany has ordered 204 million doses of coronavirus vaccines: 18.3 million from J&J; 31.8 million from Moderna; and 70 million from Sanofi, Novavax and Valneva. Nearly 85 million of the doses will come from Pfizer/BioNTech, as they are already contracted through the EU. Source

• Scientific experts are questioning whether WHO should lead the next probe on COVID-19’s origins, Lawrence Gostin, Director of the WHO Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights at Georgetown University, said “We will never find the origins relying on the World Health Organization,” suggesting that countries either combine their intelligence or revise international health laws to further empower WHO – or create a new entity to conduct the investigation. Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers, said that determining the origins of the virus is more than a scientific question, with political dimensions that exceed WHO’s expertise. Source

• In Myanmar, where the Delta variant is likely to be driving a positivity rate above 20 percent, the military crackdown has led doctors and other healthcare workers to strike and COVAX to delay a vaccine shipment. Hospitals are full of people with severe COVID-19, and people are avoiding healthcare facilities, fearing arrest or worse from the troops occupying them. Source

• Six fully vaccinated people in Seychelles have died from COVID-19; five were vaccinated with Covishield and one with Sinopharm’s vaccine, and all of them had underlying conditions. Source

• Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, announces that the country is cutting the number of international arrivals by 50 percent until the end of 2021 and the country will change its strategy from preventing transmission of the virus to minimizing serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 by increasing vaccination rates. There are still 34,000 Australians trying to return to their home country. Source

• A pre-print article reports results from a 25,798-person phase III trial of Bharat Biotech’s experimental coronavirus vaccine, BBV152, noting that efficacy against asymptomatic COVID-19 was 63.3 percent; symptomatic COVID-19 was 77.8 percent and efficacy against severe disease was 93.4 percent with an overall efficacy against the Delta variant of 65.2 percent. Common side effects included injection site pain, fever, headache and muscle aches, most mild or moderate. Source

1 July 2021

• J & J issues a press release to announce that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine generates immune responses against the Delta variant (as well as Alpha, Beta, Epsilon, Gamma and Kappa) and that protection increases over time and persists for eight months (the maximum length of follow-up). Source

• CureVac issues a press release to announce the final results from its 40,000-person phase III trial of its experimental mRNA coronavirus vaccine, CVnCoVso, noting an overall efficacy of 48% against COVID-19 of any severity. The vaccine’s efficacy against COVID-19 increased to 53% among people ages 18-60; in this group it was 77% effective against severe disease, and 100% effective against hospitalization and death. Only nine percent of study participants were over age 60, which did not enable a statistically significant determination of efficacy. CureVac is working on a second-generation coronavirus vaccine in partnership with GSK; it is expected to enter clinical trials in Q3 of 2021. Source

• ANG-3777, a drug developed for treating organ damage and fibrotic disease, has failed in a trial for people with severe COVID-19 and pneumonia who are at risk for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). There were more deaths among people who received ANG-3777 than those who did not. Source

• Spain reports a surge in coronavirus cases among young, unvaccinated people; overall, over the past two weeks, the number of cases per 100,000 people rose from 92.5 to 117.7, but cases among those ages 12-19 increased by 44 in one day, reaching 287.8 per 100,000 and those among people ages 20-29 increased by 42 in just one day, reaching 293.3 per 100,000. Source

• Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli of Norway, chair of the WTO council overseeing the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). convenes a meeting in Geneva after the first round of small-group discussions about the proposed waiver on intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines. During the discussions, the US joined Brazil, the EU, Japan, Mexico, Switzerland and the UK, among others – in supporting a waiver for all “health products and technologies” used “for the prevention, treatment or containment of COVID-19.” South Africa alluded to a list of “priority medical devices” that the WHO issued in December, including ventilators, patient monitors and medical and surgical masks, as well as the raw materials needed to make the vaccines.

The EU, which supports a proposal to boost global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines without suspending intellectual property protections, raised concerns that products developed during any waiver period would eventually lose their eligibility for patent protection, if unlicensed use of those products becomes too widespread during that time.

Delegations from South Africa, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and other countries maintained that the EU’s proposal should not be pushed as an alternative to their waiver, because it would do nothing to change the IP laws that are a barrier to combatting the virus’ continued spread around the world. Source

• As the Delta variant continues to spread, Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, announced mosques, schools, shopping malls and sports facilities in Bali and Java will be closed until 20 July – including during  Eid al-Adha, a major event in the country. Source

• In the EU, digital certificates to enable travel in the bloc go into effect. The certificates show that people have either been fully vaccinated (with shots from AstraZeneca, J & J, Moderna, and Pfizer/BioNTech), tested negative or have immunity after a recent recovery from COVID-19, exempting them from from most travel or quarantine restrictions. But countries have not agreed on who is responsible for checking the certificates, where they should be checked, or when – and people who received Covishield, the version of AstraZeneca’s vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India and widely used by COVAX, are not eligible because the EMA has not approved it. Source

• With just over three weeks before the Olympics open in Tokyo, the capital city is facing a surge of coronavirus, driven by the Delta variant. In just one week, cases increased from 95 to 714. Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister of economic revitalization, announced earlier in the week that a new state of emergency may have to be declared if cases don’t decrease. Only 14.6 million of the country’s 126 million residents have been fully vaccinated, although Japan has been vaccinated a million people per day.

Despite the recent surge in cases, the IOC, Japan’s government, Tokyo’s Metropolitan Government and the local Olympic organizing committee insist that the Games can go ahead safely if health guidelines are followed – but most Tokyo residents oppose them, fearing a super-spreader event. Source

• Romania and Bulgaria have stockpiles of coronavirus vaccines that are rapidly approaching their expiry dates, although vaccination rates in both countries are low – just 24 percent of Romania’s population has been fully vaccinated and half of that amount in Bulgaria due to distrust of authorities and concerns about vaccine safety. Bulgaria plans to donate 150,000 doses, most of which are AstraZeneca, to neighboring Balkan countries, while Romania the government is working with doctors in rural communities to boost vaccination rates. Source

• Israel reports 307 coronavirus cases, its highest rate in three months, as the Delta variant spreads. The country has reimposed an indoor masking mandate and is racing to vaccinate children, as officials consider closing Ben Gurion airport and bringing back the “Green Pass” for fully vaccinated people. Source

• In Portugal, where 34 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, a surge of infections caused by the Delta variant has led to 11 pm to 5am curfews in Lisbon, Porto and other busy tourist areas. Source

30 June 2021

• Globally, over three billion doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered, although distribution remains unequal. Source

• Brazil has suspended a $324 million deal with India’s Bharat Biotech for 20 million doses of Covaxin, after whistleblowers disclosed irregularities with the agreement – including discrepancies in payment, the number of doses and intermediary companies, and that the vaccine has not been approved by Brazil’s regulatory agency – and that the price was higher than one offered multiple times by Pfizer. Source

• Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube announced that the government has purchased two million doses of Sinovac’s coronavirus vaccine (adding to the two million doses that the country has already purchased), and 1.5 million doses of the Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine to be delivered  during Q3 of 2021. To date, Zimbabwe, which is home to 15 million people, has given a first dose to 770,709 of them, while  544,888 people have received both shots.  Source

• Development of Altimune’s AdCOVID, an intranasal formulation of an experimental coronavirus vaccine, is halted after it fails to generate adequate immune responses in a phase I trial. Source

• GSK Singapore and Vir announce an Advance Purchase Agreement with Singapore’s Government for the monoclonal antibody sotrovimab, pending interim authorization by the country’s Health Sciences Authority. Sotrovimab is given as a single dose to people with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who are at risk of progressing to severe disease. Source

• During his annual televised call-in show, Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, urges people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Source

29 June 2021

• WHO urges all people, including those who have been fully vaccinated, to continue wearing masks, in contrast to the CDC, which has not changed its guidance despite the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant in the US and over 80 other countries. Source

Nature Medicine reports that COVID-19 has led to a significant reduction of life expectancy in Brazil – in some states, it has dropped to what it was 20 years ago. They note that a rebound to pre-pandemic levels is unlikely to happen quickly because coronavirus cases remain high, vaccination rates are low, and other healthcare services have been disrupted, including cancer screenings and childhood immunizations, and people’s health is likely to have worsened due to treatment interruptions, lack of physical activity and Long COVID. In addition, the pandemic has worsened Brazil’s economic crisis, and reductions in the healthcare budget are likely to have a negative impact on infant mortality, access to primary healthcare and avoidable deaths. Source

• The Washington Post reports that within hours of an announcement from Moscow’s mayor mandating coronavirus vaccines for 60 percent of people with public-facing jobs, ads for fake vaccination certificates appeared on social media for just $25. Source

• Namibia, home to Africa’s worst coronavirus outbreak, is now using the vaccine doses it had reserved for second shots for first doses, as per advice from WHO. Less than one percent of the country’s population has been vaccinated. Doctors are calling for a nation-wide lockdown as  the positivity rate reached 45 percent, PPE and oxygen are in short supply, and hospitals and funeral homes are being overwhelmed. Source

• Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, announces that visitors from the UK are now required to provide proof of full vaccination (with vaccines from AstraZeneca, J & J, Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Sinopharm and Sinovac) against coronavirus or a negative PCR test result to enter the country. He announced this measure in order to protect both residents and visitors, given the rising infection rates in the United Kingdom. Source

• Abu Dhabi announces unvaccinated people (except for children under age 15 and people who are exempt) will not be allowed to enter universities, schools, nurseries, gyms and shopping centers as of 20 August. Source

• Moderna issues a press release announcing that their coronavirus vaccine showed neutralizing activity against all variants studied, including different versions of the Beta variant, and the Delta, Eta and Kappa variants, based on serum samples from eight people in a phase I trial of the vaccine. Source

• As the Delta variant spreads across the Asia Pacific region, governments are taking action to stop it: Malaysia’s nationwide stay-at-home order has been extended indefinitely; officials in Hong Kong have banned flights from the UK; soldiers in Bangladesh are preparing to patrol the streets to enforce the stay-at-home order and Australia extended its lockdown to Brisbane and Perth. Source

• AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine is on the list of vaccines that confer eligibility for an EU digital travel certificate. But the EU has excluded Covishield, the version of the vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India and used by COVAX. The African Union has criticized the EU, saying that excluding Covishield could cause discrimination against travelers from Africa, and that it endangered “equitable treatment of persons having received their vaccines in countries profiting from the EU-supported COVAX Facility, including the majority of the African Union (AU) Member States.” Source

• NIH issues a press release announcing that although the J & J coronavirus produces fewer neutralizing antibodies against variants, it produced similar overall immune responses (against the Alpha, Beta and Gamma variants and the original version of SARS-CoV-2. The researchers suggest that lower levels of neutralizing antibodies may be protective against COVID-19 – or that non-neutralizing antibodies and T cell responses contribute to protection against COVID-19. Source

28 June 2021

Nature publishes data on immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 from 180 healthcare workers who received both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. They found that the vaccine induced strong immune responses in everyone who received it; that it was effective against the Alpha variant, but less so against the Beta variant (although 92 percent of people who were vaccinated showed immune responses against it). Source

• The University of Oxford issues a press release with results from the 4-week dosing arm of the Com-COV study, which mixed the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Mixing vaccines generated robust immune responses, especially when the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was given first. The researchers noted that mixing doses generated higher antibody levels and T cell responses than two doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, while two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech generated the highest antibody response, and highest T cell responses were generated by giving a dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca followed by a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Results from the trial’s 12-week dosing interval group are due soon. Source

• Three weeks before the Olympics begin, coronavirus cases in Tokyo are creeping upwards Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said “We must be on a high state of alert in dealing with the virus.” He added that he would be nimble in adjusting policies to deal with the situation. Source

• In Australia, where only six percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, Sydney and Darwin go into lockdown, while Perth and Canberra impose mask mandates for the first time. Source

• Abu Dhabi starts using facial scanners in airports and malls to detect people with COVID-19. The scanners measure electromagnetic waves, which change if viral RNA is present in a person’s body, and can accurately identify 93.5 percent of infected people. Source

Nature publishes an article demonstrating that mRNA-based coronavirus vaccines induce persistent immune responses that may last for years, although boosters may be needed for people with weakened immune systems, the elderly and those on immunosuppressants. Source

• Oxford University issues a press release with findings that delaying the second dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for up to 45 weeks enhanced immune responses – and may be beneficial. Administering a third dose of the vaccine at least six months after the second dose increased antibodies to a level above what was seen a month after their second dose, suggesting that if the vaccine’s effectiveness  wanes it could be boosted with a third dose. Source

• Italy, Spain and France are no longer requiring people to wear masks outside. Source

• As Bangladesh reaches 900,000 cases of COVID-19, it is returning to a national lockdown which has sent tens of thousands of migrant laborers from Dhaka, the capital, to their home villages. Source

• In the US, some infectious disease specialists are recommending that people who got the J & J single-dose coronavirus vaccine may need a booster dose to protect against the Delta variant, although the CDC has not recommended it. “There’s no doubt that the people who receive the J&J vaccine are less protected against disease,” says Dr Michael Lin, who is an Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Bioengineering at Stanford University, “From the principle of taking easy steps to prevent really bad outcomes, this is really a no brainer.” Jason Gallagher, an infectious disease specialist at Temple University said, “… the Delta variant that’s spreading … and really quickly taking over in the U.S. looks a little more concerning in terms of the breakthrough infections with the single-dose vaccines.” Source

27 June 2021

• South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, moved the country to alert level four, banned alcohol and public gatherings, closed schools and limited travel within the country to stop the country’s third wave of coronavirus. Source

• Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel tests positive for COVID-19 days after going to a face-to-face meeting of European Council. Source

• The New York Times reports that at least 59 people with COVID-19 were climbing Mt Everest. Nepal’s government implemented testing, mask and social-distancing requirements, stationed medical personnel at the Everest base camp and had helicopters ready to pick up climbers with COVID-19, but it denied  that anyone on the mountain had the virus – even while people were being airlifted to hospitals and expeditions were cancelled. Some expedition agencies say that COVID-19 was rampant in the base camp, where a record-breaking 408 climbers were and that they were pressured to hide infections. Source

• Participants in a 2,250-person phase II/III  trial of a new AstraZeneca vaccine designed to work against new coronavirus variants receive their first shot. The study is open to adults who are fully vaccinated or unvaccinated in Brazil, Poland, South Africa and the UK. Source

• Namibia, which is currently home to Africa’s most severe coronavirus epidemic, will halt first vaccine doses on 29 June, as vaccine supplies from COVAX have run out, out and other deliveries are delayed. Source

26 June 2021

• Indonesia reports a record-breaking 20,574 daily coronavirus cases and 355 deaths, bringing the country’s total cases to 2,053,995 and deaths to 55,949 – both are the highest in Southeast Asia. Source

• In South Africa’s Gauteng province, coronavirus cases are surging and expected to be twice as high as they were during the country’s first and second waves as overwhelmed hospitals are short on staff. Shabir Madhi, professor of vaccinology at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand, noted that at current staffing levels, only about 100 of about 1,000 extra beds that have been specially equipped for Covid-19 are able to be used. It seems the province forgot to budget or employ staff to manage those facilities,” Madhi said. “It needs to happen by this weekend or else we are going to be in deep trouble.” Source

• The premier of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, announces a two-week lockdown for greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong until midnight on Friday 9 July. Source

• German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Europe remains “on thin ice” as experts predict that the Delta variant will become dominant across the continent in the coming months. Source

• Matt Hancock, Britain’s Health Minister, resigns the day after a tabloid publishes photos of him embracing a co-worker in violation of the country’s social-distancing guidelines. Source

• Spain announces that tourists from Australia, China, Israel, Japan, Thailand, the UK and the US can enter the country without proof of coronavirus vaccination or a negative test result. Source

• Latin America has become home to the longest-lasting school shutdowns; in some places, for nearly 16 months; 100 million children in the region are in full or partial remote learning – and some have no access to education, including five million children in Brazil. In addition, children are leaving primary and secondary schools in droves to earn money; Mexico says 1.8 million children and young people have dropped out, while Ecuador lost 90,000  primary and secondary school students and Peru lost 170,000. Source

25 June 2021

• WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warns that the Delta variant is “the most transmissible,” spreading across at least 85 countries, and worsened by lack of coronavirus vaccines in poor countries. Dr Bruce Aylward, WHO senior advisor, says that COVAX has “…zero doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, zero doses of Pfizer vaccine, zero doses of (J &J) vaccine. Every single one of our suppliers is unable to supply us during this period because others are making demands …who are vaccinating very young populations that are not at risk.” Source

• Russia’s coronavirus vaccination mandate for public-facing workers is now extended from Moscow to 17 additional regions as the Delta variant spreads through the country. Currently, approximately 11 percent of Russia’s 144 million residents are fully vaccinated, and 14 percent have gotten at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine. An independent pollster, the Levada Center, said that 60 percent of the population is not willing to be vaccinated. Source

• Japan has dramatically accelerated its coronavirus campaign, reaching a million daily vaccines, but a supply shortage may endanger it. Elderly people have been prioritized, as cases are creeping upward among Tokyo’s young, unvaccinated people. Source

• Pieris Pharmaceuticals announces that it has received a $17 million grant from the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy to develop PRS-220, an inhalable anticalin protein targeting connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) for post-COVID-19 syndrome pulmonary fibrosis or “Long COVID”; a phase I trial will begin in 2022. Source

• Feng Zijian, researcher and former deputy director of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a TV interview that antibodies triggered by two Chinese COVID-19 vaccines made with inactivated virus are less effective against the Delta variant than other versions of SARS-CoV-2, but he noted that they still offer protection, without additional details. Source

• South Africa’s third wave of coronavirus has hit Johannesburg and Gauteng province hard; the military has sent in medical personnel to help overwhelmed hospitals, some so full that they are sending patients to medical facilities that  are hours away in Mpumalanga and North West provinces. Source

• A parliamentary hearing in Brazil on the government’s pandemic response features testimony from bullet-proof vest-clad Congressman Luis Miranda and his brother, Health Ministry staffer Luis Ricardo Miranda. They disclosed pressure by close allies of President Jair Bolsonaro to make a 1.6 billion reais ($323 million) deal with India’s Bharat Biotech for expensive coronavirus vaccines – while the government ignored Pfizer’s repeated lower-priced offers. Although the brothers met with Bolsonaro to warn him about the suspicious contract, nothing was done. Bolsonaro said, “There is nothing wrong with the Covaxin contract, there is no overpricing,” adding “I am incorruptible.” Source

• Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron strongly criticized Greece and other nations for allowing entry to travelers who received Chinese and Russian vaccines, since they are not EMA-approved, and may not be effective against the Delta variant. Source

• U.S. health officials paused distribution of bamlanivimab and etesevimab, Lilly’s combination antibody therapy for COVID-19, due to concerns that the Beta and Gamma variants are resistant to it. Source

• Virologists in India warn that another variant, known as Delta Plus, which has the same mutation in the spike protein as the Beta variant, is likely to be highly contagious. Indian scientists have declared Delta Plus as a “variant of concern.” Delta Plus has already been detected in Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, as well as eleven other countries.  Source

• Indonesia reaches 20,000 cases of coronavirus, its highest-ever daily total as hospitals face oxygen shortages – and doctors are dying from COVID-19. At least 20 of the 401 doctors who died were fully vaccinated with Sinovac’s CoronaVac, raising concerns about its effectiveness.  Source

• Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Pham Minh Chinh, is planning have a locally produced coronavirus vaccine by June 2022. The health ministry is assisting in negotiations between Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and local companies for a technology transfer, and WHO has promised to send experts to the country to help with vaccine production. Source

• Africa’s CDC reports that the Delta variant has been detected in 13 countries, and some, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Zambia, are facing lack of oxygen, overwhelmed hospitals, and exhausted healthcare workers. John Nkengasong, the Director of Africa’s CDC said, “It’s frightening to see what’s happening across the continent. “This third wave is extremely brutal.” Only 1 percent of Africa’s 1.3 billon residents have been vaccinated. He added, “We have to vaccinate at speed and at scale. We are racing against time.” Source

• Israel, which has tamed its epidemic through high vaccination rates, is seeing a spate of new cases at schools, some in people who had been vaccinated (although it is not clear whether they were fully vaccinated). The government reinstated an indoor mask mandate less than two weeks after lifting it. Source

• The US is sending three million doses of the J & J coronavirus vaccine to Afghanistan in the coming weeks. Source

• The US is sending 15 million doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine to Honduras as part of the COVAX delivery. Source

• Coronavirus cases at Brazil’s Copa América soccer tournament reach 166. Source