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.

24 June 2021

• A Senate panel is investigating the Bolsonaro administration’s handling of coronavirus. Luís Ricardo Miranda, an official at the logistics department, said Alex Lial Marinho, an aide Bolsonaro’s close ally, former Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello, to buy higher-priced Bharat Biotech vaccines after ignoring offers from Pfizer. Miranda went to Bolsonaro in March to discuss his concerns – with documentation, who said he would speak to the head of Brazil’s federal police.  Bolsonaro’s Secretary of the Presidency, Onyx Lorenzoni, denied influence peddling, suggesting that Miranda’s allegations were based on forged documents. Bolsonaro faces questions about his response to Miranda’s allegations, and Pazuello faces criminal and civil probes into how he handled the pandemic while he was minister of health. Source

• A new cluster of COVID-19 cases in Sydney, originating with an unvaccinated airport limousine driver who tested positive for the Delta variant, has grown to 49 cases, triggering a travel ban, mandatory masking and contact tracing. Some cases have been linked with contacts lasting just a few seconds inside stores and cafes, with officials expecting additional cases in the coming days. Source

• The WHO regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, reports that the continent’s weekly coronavirus cases – driven by the Delta variant –  outpaced vaccinations as eighteen countries have used 80 percent of their vaccine stocks. Source

• The International Monetary Fund is finishing a proposal for issuing $650 billion in reserve funds to poor countries, which they could use to pay for health care and vaccines – and pay down their debt. Achim Steiner, the administrator of the United Nations Development Program, described it as “potentially the largest capital allocation since the end of World War II.” Source

• Latin America’s Inter-American Development Bank is in negotiations with Argentina, Panama and vaccine makers, seeking to give each country $50 to $100 million in credit for purchasing vaccines – and to help resolve indemnity obligations imposed by pharmaceutical companies. Source

Associated Press reported on COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths among fully vaccinated versus unvaccinated people in the US. During May 2021, 18,000 people died; 150 of them were fully vaccinated, translating to 0.08 percent. CDC Director, Dr Rochelle Walensky, said “nearly every death, especially among adults, due to COVID-19, is, at this point, entirely preventable,” calling these deaths “…particularly tragic.” Source

Current Biology publishes findings on a coronavirus epidemic that occurred 20,000 to 25,000 years ago in East Asia. The virus left an evolutionary imprint on the DNA of people who are alive today – 42 genes evolved in response to the ancient epidemic; these may be promising targets for new drugs. Source

• Researchers from Imperial College publishes findings on Long COVID, a community-based survey drawn from data on half a million people in England’s Real-Time Assessment of Community Transmission-2 (REACT-2) between September 20202 and February 2021. They assessed prevalence and co-occurrence of symptoms among 92,116 people reporting at least one symptom of COVID-19. Overall, 28,713 – or 37.7 percent – had at least one symptom for three months or more, and 11,241 – 14.8% – had at least three symptoms. For many people, symptoms that persisted for 12 weeks did not improve for up to 22 weeks.

The risk for persistent COVID-19 symptoms increased with age, and was higher for women, people hospitalized with COVID-19, obese or overweight people, smokers, vapers, low-income people, and healthcare and care home workers. The authors estimated that up to two million people in England may have Long COVID, noting that managing Long COVID “…will remain a major challenge for health services in the next stage of the pandemic.” Source

• The Washington Post  reports that the pandemic has left one in five Brazilians without income, 19 percent enduring hunger and 7,000 removed from informal settlements in São Paulo and Manaus – a practice that the country’s Supreme Court has suspended until the end of the year, which President Bolsonaro described as “…the end of private property …a terrible decision.” Source

• The US FDA grants emergency use authorization for tocilizumab, an anti-IL-6 monoclonal antibody, for adults and children age 2 and above, who are hospitalized with COVID-19, receiving systemic corticosteroids and require supplemental oxygen, non-invasive or invasive mechanical ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). The EUA was based on results from four clinical trials, two of which showed that it reduced progression to mechanical ventilation and/or death within 28 days. Source

23 June 2021

• Australia announces that it will give up to 2.6 million doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus each week, mainly to people over age 60, until October, when it will only administer the vaccine “subject to request.” Source

• The US CDC reports that coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have caused myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis, an inflammation of the lining around the heart. The side effect is most common among young men (under age 30) and more likely to occur after the second vaccine dose. Overall, there have been 1,200 cases – or 12.6 cases per million second doses administered. Most cases have been mild; symptoms such as fatigue, chest pain and abnormal heart rhythm quickly clear up and most people recover fully.

CDC researchers concluded that the benefits of vaccination outweigh risks, estimate that a million second doses could cause a maximum of 70 cases in boys ages 12-17, while preventing 5,700 coronavirus infections, 215 hospitalizations and two deaths from COVID-19. Notably, COVID-19 can cause heart problems, and is far more likely to do so than the vaccines. Source

New England Journal of Medicine publishes information on immune responses among 101 transplant recipients given three doses of mRNA coronavirus vaccine. The first two doses were given 1 month apart, and the third dose was administered 2 months later. The third dose significantly increased immune response, although the authors cautioned that masking and other precautions remain necessary for immunocompromised people. Source

• WHO reports that its prequalification inspection team uncovered issues with production of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, including how vials were filled at the Pharmstandard-UfaVITA filling plant (which does not produce the vaccines). The WHO’s pre-qualification team also had concerns about sterility, including clothing that workers wore; it observed that measures to mitigate cross-contamination were inadequate, and had issues with data integrity and test results during quality controls, and with tracing and identifying batches of vaccines made at the facility. Pharmstandard-UfaVITA issued a statement listing the concerns and the actions it had taken in response to correct them. Source

• US congressional investigators expanded their inquiry into Emergent BioSolutions, the government contractor paid $628 million, mainly for reserving vaccine production capacity at its Baltimore plant – where tens of millions of coronavirus vaccines were ruined. Emergent also signed billion-dollar contracts with AstraZeneca and J & J to produce coronavirus vaccines, and the government is looking into its relationship with those companies. The government has asked AstraZeneca and J & J to document their oversight of vaccine production at the Emergent plant, and for all records on their decisions to hire Emergent.

The New York Times reported that both companies – and the government – had found deficiencies at the plant during the summer of 2020. AstraZeneca’s audit noted that Emergent had not documented mitigation of high-risk contamination hazards; instead, it modified criteria but still failed tests. J & J’s audit reported that the firm’s strategy to control contamination was insufficient and that reports monitoring bacteria and other contaminants were filed months late. Source

• Andrea Ammon, director of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control warns that all EU residents should be fully vaccinated as soon as possible to prevent the Delta variant – which is expected to comprise 90 percent of infections by August – from spreading across the continent. Most EU countries have fully vaccinated less than 30% of their populations. Source

• A year ago, sequenced viral samples from China’s early COVID-19 cases vanished mysteriously from an online scientific database. Jesse Bloom, a Seattle researcher, found 13 of the original sequences in Google cloud storage. The sequences may provide information about when and how the virus made the leap from a bat (or other animal) and human beings, and they support the suggestions that several coronaviruses may have been circulating in Wuhan before the human outbreak linked to animal and seafood markets in December 2019.

The author describes these samples as a “…gold mine for anyone seeking to understand spread of the virus,” noting that there was no reason to delete them, and that “.. the trusting structures of science have been abused to obscure sequences relevant to the early spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan.”  Source

• The White House announces that it is sending three million doses of the J & J coronavirus vaccine to Brazil in the coming days. Source

22 June 2021

• The United Nations World Food Program announces that tens of millions of people in 43 countries -an increase of 50 percent over 2019 – may be facing famine in the near future and it is already reality for over 550,000 people in Ethiopia, Madagascar, South Sudan and Yemen. The pandemic has disrupted supply chains and stalled agricultural production, leading to soaring food prices. “Forty-one million people are literally knocking on famine’s door,” said David Beasley, the World Food Program’s Executive Director, who estimated that $6 billion is needed to prevent this catastrophe. Source

• Cuban health authorities announce that the domestically produced, three-shot Abdala vaccine was 92 percent effective against COVID-19 in late-stage clinical trials. Source

• India administers 8.6 million doses of coronavirus vaccine in a single day to usher in its new free-of-charge policy. Local news reports suggest that the opening-day total was only possible because vaccines were held back for days in some states ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing party. As an example, in Madhya Pradesh, vaccinations diminished to just 692 a day until Monday, when 1.6 million doses were suddenly administered. The surge in vaccination may not last long, as India is short on vaccines. Less than five percent of India’s 1.4 billion people have been fully vaccinated, and only 20 percent have gotten a first shot. Source

• As the Philippines battles coronavirus, President Rodrigo Duterte threatens to jail anyone who refuses to be vaccinated, urging anyone who did not want to be vaccinated to “leave the Philippines,” and go elsewhere, like India or America. The country’s vaccination efforts have been hindered by distribution bottlenecks and public fears after the government stopped a dengue immunization program in 2017 after dozens of children died from a severe form of the disease linked with the vaccine. Source

• Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of health-emergencies program at WHO, warns that the Delta variant “…is faster, it is fitter, it will pick off the more vulnerable more efficiently than previous variants, and therefore if there are people left without vaccination, they remain even at further risk.” Source

• Although it is in the midst of its worst-ever outbreak of coronavirus, Thailand opens the “Phuket Sandbox” to fully vaccinated tourists from low- or medium-risk countries. They will be required to wear tracking wristbands during their mandatory 14-day stay. “Sandbox” visitors can then travel to the rest of Thailand after multiple Covid-19 tests. Only 45 percent of Phuket’s residents have been vaccinated – with the potentially less-effective Sinovac vaccine. Source

• Dr. Bruce Aylward, a WHO senior advisor, noted that of the 80 low-income countries in COVAX, “…at least half of them do not have sufficient vaccines to be able to sustain their programmes right now…well over half of countries have run out of stock and are calling for additional vaccine.” He added that shortages have forced some countries to buy vaccines priced above market value. Source

• The White House admits that President Biden does not expect 70 percent of adults in the US to have gotten at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by 4 July; the country will achieve this among people aged 27 and over, and in 67 percent of all adults. Source

• Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, former prime minister Raila Odinga and other politicians came to Kisumu during a national holiday in May, disregarding  warnings from health advisors. They drew huge crowds – mostly maskless and weeks later, a surge in coronavirus cases, driven by the Delta variant. Health officials fear a disaster, given that doctors are already exhausted, healthcare workers lack PPE, medical supplies and vaccines are scarce and hospitals are turning people away because they do not have beds or oxygen. Dr. Onyango Ndong’a, chairman of the local chapter of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union said “We are covering for government inadequacies. We are tired now. We are stretched.” Source

• Chile’s President, Sebastian Pinera, said the country is considering whether to give people a third booster dose of coronavirus vaccine. The country relied on  Sinovac’s CoronaVac; a real-life study there found that two doses of the vaccine were 67 percent effective for preventing symptomatic COVID-19, 85% effective for preventing hospitalization, and 80% effective at preventing death. Researchers are now looking at duration of protection from the vaccine; they suspect that people who were vaccinated during Q1 of 2021 may need a booster by September; they are also concerned about the vaccine’s effectiveness against variants. Although Chile has not reported cases of the Delta variant, it has been detected in neighboring countries.  Source

• Ivermectin, a medicine used to treat parasites in people and animals, has also demonstrated that it reduces viral load and duration of symptoms in people with mild COVID-19. It will be studied with the antiviral favipiravir in the Platform Randomized Trial of Treatments in the Community for Epidemic and Pandemic Illnesses, which is the world’s largest clinical trial of potential COVID-19 treatments in outpatients. Source

21 June 2021

• GSK and VIR issue a press release with final results from the 1,057-person, phase III  COMET-ICE Trial of the monoclonal antibody sotrovimab in people with COVID-19 at high risk for progressing to hospitalization. Use of sotrovimab decreased hospitalization for over 24 hours or death by 79 percent; overall, 6 patients in the sotrovimab arm were hospitalized versus 30 patients who received placebo. Side effects were mild-to-moderate. Laboratory studies have shown that sotrovimab is active against the Alpha, Beta, Delta, Epsilon, Gamma and Iota variants although whether this data translates into clinical impact is not known. Studies of intramuscular sotrovimab for preventing and  treating mild-to-moderate COVID-19 are planned.

The FDA granted an EUA for sotrovimab in May of 2021, and the companies plan to file for full approval in the second half of 2021. EMA initiated a rolling review in May 2021. Source

• New Zealand grants provisional authorization for use of  Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine in children ages 12-15. The country has already ordered 10 million doses, according to the news agency — enough to cover its 4.9 million residents. Source

• One of the coronavirus vaccines Cuba is developing, Soberana 2, demonstrated 62 percent efficacy in an interim analysis of a phase III trial among participants who got two of the three recommended doses. Vicente Vérez Bencomo, director-general at the country’s Finlay Institute of Vaccines, expects results from the three-dose regimen to “of course be superior”. Cuban officials have expressed openness to said licensing the intellectual property around the vaccines, including a small margin of profit to subsidize the country’s universal healthcare system. WHO is  in the early stages of assessing Cuba’s vaccines. Source

• Colombia becomes the tenth country to surpass 100,000 deaths from COVID-10. Less than 10 percent of the country’s 51 million residents have been vaccinated. The crisis- and a pandemic- related tax overhaul have led to demonstrations as police violence increases. The New York Times reports that officers have opened fire on peaceful demonstrations, shot tear gas from armored vehicles and beaten, detained and killed protesters. Source

• Cuba announces 1,561 new COVID-19 cases, its highest-ever daily total. Source

• Coronavirus cases among players, delegation members and workers at Brazil’s Copa América soccer tournament reach 140. Source

20 June 2021

• The South China Morning Post reports that China has administered one billion vaccines, accounting for a third of the global total. Source

• Viet Nam – which is battling an outbreak of the Delta variant, was given 500,000 doses of Sinopharm’s  coronavirus vaccine. The donated doses will be used in Chinese citizens who live in Viet Nam, Vietnamese people who plan to work or study in China, and people living near China’s border. Currently, 2.4 million of the country’s 98 million people have gotten one dose of vaccine and 115,315 are fully vaccinated. Source

• The US is increasingly unlikely to meet President Biden’s goal of having 70 percent of all adults receive at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by 4 July. The President now is warning people about the fast-spreading Delta variant, present in 25 states, which people remain vulnerable to until they are fully vaccinated. Source

• In Brazil, COVID-19 deaths surpass 500,000 while the country suffers through its worst drought in nearly 100 years – which may worsen the nation’s coronavirus epidemic. Fires in the Amazon region, usually set by farmers or ranchers, may be difficult to control and their smoke and ash may worsen COVID-19 and increase the risk of death. Source

• India is now battling an epidemic of mucormycosis (also known as ‘black fungus’) among 30,000 COVID-19 patients.  The fungus is transmitted through spores that are found in homes and hospitals. COVID-19 patients treated with higher doses of steroids for longer durations than recommended may have become more susceptible to mucormycosis, especially people with diabetes. If untreated, the fungus, which eats bones and tissue, attacks the gastrointestinal tract, the lungs, the skin and the sinuses, often spreading to the eye socket and the brain; the mortality rate is 50 percent. Treatment involves disfiguring surgery and amphotericin B, an expensive and scarce medicine. Source

• In the US, many undocumented immigrants lack access to health care, leading them to delay treatment for COVID-19 or to use unproven remedies; the New York Times reports that vendors at a large California flea market are selling different antibiotics, the antiparasitic drug ivermectin, the malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine and injections of dexamethasone for $25, as well as herbal supplements.  Source

19 June 2021

Lancet publishes results from a single-arm, 54-person sub-study of the safety and immunogenicity of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in men living with HIV. All participants were on antiretroviral therapy, with an undetectable viral load and a CD4 cell count >350 cells (with a median CD4 cell count of 694·0 cells/ μL).

The magnitude and persistence of vaccine-induced immune responses among trial participants did not differ by HIV status. Side effects were similar, regardless of HIV status, although people living with HIV had a lower incidence of side effects from the second dose. The authors noted that the study was too small to report on protection from infection with SARS-CoV-2, the immune responses among people living with HIV were similar to those among vaccinated HIV-negative study participants. Source

• A study from the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health monitored post-vaccine antibody responses among 1,000 people who received coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech or Sinovac; it found “substantially higher” antibody levels among people who received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and suggested that some Sinovac recipients may require a third shot. Source

• WHO Chief Scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, says “science is still evolving” on the need for coronavirus booster shots, and that WHO guidance will be informed by data from countries that provide extra inoculations, especially to vulnerable people. Source

• As part of US President Joe Biden’s pledge to donate 25 million doses of coronavirus vaccine, the country sent 2.5 million doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine – more than triple the amount it had previously promised – to Taiwan. Source

• In Brazil, only 12 percent of the country is fully vaccinated, and less than 30 percent have had their first vaccine. Concern about vaccines from AstraZeneca and Sinovac, which make up 96 percent of the country;s supply, have led people to insist on the Pfizer.BioNTech shot. “At first, people were afraid to get CoronaVac, because it’s Chinese, and now it’s Astra because of the reactions,” said Luiz Carlos de Souza e Silva, a nurse at one of Rio’s public clinics. Source

• Brazil’s health ministry announces that 82 people connected with the Copa América  soccer tournament have tested positive for COVID-19, including 37 players and staffers and 45 workers. Source

• In the Maldives, home to one world’s highest per capita caseloads in May, a shortage of healthcare workers has led the country to send students, retired nurses and inexperienced volunteers to care for hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the nation’s capital. Source

18 June 2021

• Portugal reports 1,300 new daily cases of coronavirus, most in areas near Lisbon and half caused by the Delta variant, sending Lisbon into a weekend lockdown. Source

• Millions of doses of the J & J one-shot coronavirus vaccine are close to expiry in the US, where demand for it is low. Source

• Russia is facing a surge of coronavirus, driven by the highly contagious Delta variant; the outbreak has centered in Moscow, where a record-breaking 9,056 daily cases were reported. Only 9.9 percent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated, with many people mistrusting domestically produced vaccines – their only option. Source

• The Biden administration is replacing its donation of coronavirus vaccines from AstraZeneca produced at the now-closed Emergent Biosolutions plant in Maryland, since FDA has still not cleared them. Instead, shots from  J & J, Moderna  and Pfizer/BioNTech will be donated, pending permission from their manufacturers. Source

• Healthcare workers in Indian-controlled areas of Kashmir are being attacked for videotaping people getting vaccinated – some inside of their homes. “It is as if they are not coming to vaccinate people, but to do P.R. for India,” said Imad Ahmad Reshi, a college student in the northern Kashmir town of Baramulla. Source

• A deal allowing Palestine access to as many as 1.4 million surplus doses of coronavirus vaccines from Israel  (to be replaced when Palestine’s own supply arrives later this year) collapsed just hours after it was announced. After it received the first tranche, the Palestinian authority nixed the deal, saying the doses did not conform to the agreement, and that they were too close to their expiry date to be administered in time.

An Israeli official, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the initial batch vaccines would expire at the start of July – giving Palestinian health workers enough time to administer them, and that the authority was aware of their expiry dates, claiming it rejected them because Palestinians thought the vaccines were poor quality. Source

• The EU recommends lifting the ban against US tourism, leaving visitors from the US with a negative PCR test free to visit, even if they are unvaccinated. Each member state can impose its own restrictions, including quarantine and additional testing. Source

17 June 2021

• Globally, more than 2.5 billion coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered. Source

• The US announces that it will spend three billion dollars to develop oral antivirals for COVID-19, which could fight the virus during early infection. The funding will accelerate clinical trials of promising candidates for COVID-19 and support research on other drugs that could potentially stop future viral pandemics. Source

• The UK government issues a press release with findings from the 12th report of the REACT-1 study, which found that coronavirus cases have increased by 50% since the last study in May, with 1 of 670 people infected. Nearly 109,000 people volunteered to be tested between 20 May and 7 June.  The highest prevalence was found among people ages 5-12 and 18 to 24, and prevalence among people ages 5 to 49 was 2.5 times higher than that among people ages 50 and over. The Delta variant accounted for 90 percent of cases. Source

• As the coronavirus surges in Moscow, the city government mandated vaccinations for many workers in education, entertainment, health care, and hospitality, hairdressers and taxi drivers – comprising two million people – and continuing until at least 60 percent of  employees have been vaccinated. Source

• The US Embassy in Kabul goes into lockdown as Afghanistan faces a third wave of coronavirus infections and military forces leave the country. The Embassy sent a notice saying “Military hospital I.C.U. resources are at full capacity, forcing our health units to create temporary on-compound Covid-19 wards to care for oxygen-dependent patients.”  There has been one death, with several other people medically evacuated and 114 infected people isolating. Overall, 95 percent of cases were among unvaccinated people; notably, 90 percent of embassy staffers were vaccinated. Source

• With the Olympics just five weeks away, Japan’s government announced that it is relaxing emergency measures in Tokyo – although some restrictions remain there –  and other areas as coronavirus cases are in decline. Source

• A Belgian court has ruled on the European Commission’s suit against AstraZeneca (for failing to deliver 300 million doses of coronavirus vaccine it promised in a contract; Associated Press reports that it only delivered 30 million doses, while AstraZeneca says it delivered over 70 million doses). Astra’s CEO, Pascal Soriot said the contracts were not legally binding due to a “best effort” clause in the text.

• The court ruled that AstraZeneca must deliver 80.2 million doses of the vaccine to the EU by 27 September; if delivery deadlines are not met, the company will have to pay €10 for every delayed dose. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said “This decision confirms the position of the Commission: AstraZeneca did not live up to the commitments it made in the contract. It is also a clear recognition that our Advance Purchase Agreements have a sound legal basis. It is good to see that an independent judge confirms this.”

AstraZeneca’s general counsel Jeff Pott said that  “AstraZeneca has fully complied with its agreement with the EC and we will continue to focus on the urgent task of supplying an effective vaccine, which we are delivering at no profit to help protect people in Europe and around the world from the deadliest pandemic in a generation.” Source

• Delays in an anticipated delivery of 835,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine from COVAX, intended as a second dose for 760,000 health and frontline workers, have led South Korea to offer the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for a second dose. The country is a planning a clinical trial mixing the AstraZeneca vaccine with a second dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech in 500 military personnel, looking at immune responses. Source

• In Indonesia, over 350 doctors and other healthcare workers who were fully vaccinated with Sinovac’s coronavirus vaccine have COVID-19, and dozens of them have been hospitalized. The outbreak is being driven by the Delta variant. Source

• Australia no longer recommends the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people ages 50-59, noting that the country has recorded a higher risk for rare blood clots with low platelets in this age group than what has been reported internationally. There have been 60 confirmed or probable cases of blood clots linked with the vaccine from early April to 16 June, including seven in the past week in people aged 50 to 59. Source

16 June 2021

• In the US, deaths from COVID-19 surpass 600,000. The first reported death in the country occurred in February 2020; it took 89 days to reach 100,000 deaths on 27 May; 118 days to reach 200,000 deaths on 22 September ; 83 days to reach 300,000 deaths on 14 December; 36 days to reach 400,000 deaths on 19 January 2021; 34 days to reach a half-million deaths on 22 February  and 114 days to reach 600,000. Source

• Fair Health publishes a White Paper with an analysis of US private healthcare claims among people with “long-haul COVID”, following 1,959,982 COVID-19 patients from February to December of 2020. Overall, 23.2 percent of whom had at least one post-COVID condition. These conditions were most common among people who had been hospitalized (50 percent), followed by non-hospitalized people who experienced COVID-19 symptoms (27.5 percent) and people were asymptomatic (19 percent). The five most common post-COVID conditions were pain, breathing difficulties, hyperlipidemia, malaise and fatigue, and hypertension.

Females were more likely to develop post-COVID conditions than males. The most common post-COVID conditions among females were thyroid issues, depression, migraine or headache, anxiety, anemia, eye issues, adjustment disorders, vertigo, skin issues, and intestinal issues. The most common post-COVID conditions among makes were heart disease, kidney failure, respiratory distress, death after 30 days, blood clots, diabetes, hypertension, tic disorders, cardiac inflammation, hyperlipidemia, stroke, and respiratory disorder. Sleep disorders, abnormal organ tests and hearing loss were equally common among females and males.

The odds of death 30 days after diagnosis were 46 times higher for people who had been hospitalized for COVID-19 versus those who were not hospitalized. The causes of death were sepsis, unspecified respiratory failure, cardiac arrest, aneurysms (brain, aortic, etc.) and pneumonia, acute kidney failure, endocarditis, pulmonary embolism and acute myocardial infarction. Most of the deaths occurred in people ages 60 and over, a majority in males. Source

• Globally, Africa is the only area where coronavirus cases increased over the past week, the continent has a 44 percent increase in new cases, reaching 95,000 and a 20 percent increase in COVID-19 deaths, reaching 1,400. Because testing rates in the region are low, it is likely that many more cases may be going undiagnosed. Source

• CureVac issues a press release with the second batch of interim results from a 40,000- person phase IIb/III trial of its experimental mRNA coronavirus vaccine, CVnCoV. The vaccine was 47 percent effective against COVID-19 disease of any severity; it did not meet prespecified statistical success criteria. Overall, 134 cases occurred at least two weeks after the second vaccine; 124 of them were sequenced. Only one case was the original version of SARS-CoV-2; 57 percent of cases were caused by variants of concern, while the other cases were caused by less well-known variants. The release noted that CureVac is developing second-generation mRNA coronavirus vaccines – and others that could prevent multiple infections – in partnership with GSK, and expects to launch a phase I trial of a second-generation vaccine in Q3 of 2021. Source

New England Journal of Medicine publishes results from the 289-person, randomized controlled, double-blind STOP COVID trial of the Janus kinase inhibitor tofacitinib a, in hospitalized adults with COVID-19 pneumonia. Death or respiratory failure through day 28 – the trials’ two main endpoints – occurred in 18.1 percent of the tofacitinib group vs. 29 percent of the placebo group. The authors suggest JAK inhibitors may be an additional therapeutic option COVID-19 pneumonia in patients who are not receiving mechanical ventilation. Source

• South African President Cyril Ramaphosa moved the country’s virus alert level from two to three, and announced additional measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, including limiting alcohol sales for off-site consumption to Monday through Thursday; extending a 10pm until 4am curfew, and limiting public gatherings to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Source

• The US CDC has classified the Delta variant, which rose from 2.7 percent of US cases to nearly 10 percent in a matter of weeks, as a variant of concern due to its increased transmissibility, and because  of the possibility that certain antibody treatments may be less effective against it. Source

• In Pakistan, low vaccination rates have led government officials in Punjab and Sindh to announce that they will block cellphone service  to people who refuse to get vaccinated against coronavirus; Sindh is also planning to withhold wages  from unvaccinated government employees. Source

• The UK RECOVERY Trial announces preliminary results of treatment with the monoclonal antibody combination of casirivimab and imdevimab (also known as REGEN-COV) in hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19. Although the treatment did not benefit everyone, it did reduce duration of hospitalization and progression to invasive mechanical ventilation or death in people who did not mount an immune response to COVID-19. Sir Martin Landray, RECOVERY’s Joint Chief Investigator, said  the results were “‘excellent news – it is the first time that any antiviral treatment has been shown to save lives in hospitalised COVID-19 patients.” Source

• The New York Times reports that five top executives at Emergent Biosolutions were given nearly eight million dollars in bonuses and stock awards, even as its Baltimore plant ruined 75 million doses of J & J coronavirus vaccines and has remained shut during an ongoing investigation. The company generated record profits from a federal contract awarded by the Trump administration, which did seek other bids, despite regulators noting quality shortcomings at Emergent-owned sites in recent years. Source

• WHO urges wealthy countries to prioritize countries in Latin America for coronavirus vaccine donations due to high transmission and mortality rates. Over the last week, there were 1.1 million new cases and 31,000 in the region. Source

• The US agrees to purchase 200 million doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, with an option to include new variant-fighting boosters and pediatric doses – bringing the country’s total procurement to 500 million doses. Moderna said it expected to deliver 110 million doses in Q4 of 2021, and the remaining 90 million in  Q1 of 2022. Source

• Although AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine is approved in Japan, it is not being given there despite the country’s slow rollout, due to concerns about rare blood clots with low platelets. Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi announced that Japan is sending one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Viet Nam, in addition to giving Taiwan more than a million doses earlier in the month. The country is planning to make additional vaccine donations to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand; none have been made through COVAX. Source

• In Taiwan, where less than 5 percent of the population has been vaccinated against coronavirus, leaders blame “Chinese intervention” for their inability to purchase vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech. China considers the accusation to be “fabricated out of nothing.” A Chinese company says it has exclusive commercial rights to distribute the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in Taiwan – which is an unpalatable option for the country Source

• Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s former aide, Dominic Cummings, posted a text message from Mr. Johnson, describing the government’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, with a profanity, as “totally hopeless.” Source

15 June 2021

• Former US FDA Commissioner Dr Stephen Hahn joins the venture outfit Flagship Pioneering, which founded mRNA vaccine maker Moderna as the CMO of its Preemptive Medicine and Health Security initiative. Source

• ENA Respiratory issues a press release to announce that it has secured AU$32 million ($1,001,497) from Brandon Capital Partners, Minderoo Foundation, and Uniseed to develop NNA-051, an experimental nasal spray to activate innate immunity in the nose and plans to initiate a phase I trial in the coming weeks.  Source

Clinical Infectious Diseases publishes research looking at early cases of SARS-CoV-2 in the US before testing was widespread, performing antibody testing on frozen serum samples from 24,079 participants in the All of Us cohort, which enrolled adults from all 50 US states. The findings suggest that the virus could have been present weeks before it was recognized in Illinois (late December 2019),  Massachusetts and Wisconsin (late December 2019- January 2020), Pennsylvania (early February 2020) and Mississippi (early March 2020). The researchers noted that seven of the nine SARS-CoV-2 seropositive participants were Black or Hispanic/Latino/Spanish, underscoring the impact of structural discrimination against racial and ethnic minority groups on viral circulation. Source

• Dubai’s Health Authority announces that 20 percent of people testing positive for the coronavirus had already been vaccinated (most with China’s Sinopharm) – and half of them have been hospitalized. Although 64 percent of Dubai’s population is fully vaccinated and 83 percent have gotten their first shot, coronavirus cases have been increasing – a similar pattern to that seen in Bahrain, Chile, Seychelles – which also used Chinese coronavirus vaccines. Source

• AstraZeneca announces that AZD7442, a monoclonal antibody cocktail therapy developed to prevent and treat COVID-19, did not prevent infection among people who were exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in a 1,121-person phase III trial. AZD7442 is still under study in five ongoing trials for COVID-19 prevention or treatment. Source 

• French Health Minister Oliver Veran announces that the Delta variant makes up two to four percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, translating to between 50-150 daily cases, adding that “We are in the process of crushing the virus and crushing the pandemic, and we must in no way let the Indian variant get the upper hand so that it leads to another wave of the pandemic.” Source

• A detailed investigation suggests that 100,000  COVID-19 test results issued during the Kumbh festival in Haridwar, India were fake, and had been forgeries from a private agency using non-existent addresses and phone numbers; investigators believe that the problem may be far greater. Source

• One day after India’s big cities relaxed some measures to control coronavirus, crowds throng railway stations and shopping malls, triggering concerns about a third wave of infections. Source

• Russia is experiencing a surge of daily coronavirus – 14,185 cases, including 6,805 in Moscow. Source