COVID-19 Timeline: June 2020

October 1, 2021

At we have kept up with the spread of COVID-19 and the related bioethical questions that this pandemic brings. The posts that follow highlights news from June 2020 and were originally posted at 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.

June 4: “Lancet, New England Journal Retract Covid-19 Studies, Including One That Raised Safety Concerns About Malaria Drugs” by Andrew Joseph, STAT News

The Lancet, one of the world’s top medical journals, on Thursday retracted an influential study that raised alarms about the safety of the experimental Covid-19 treatments chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine amid scrutiny of the data underlying the paper. Just over an hour later, the New England Journal of Medicine retracted a separate study, focused on blood pressure medications in Covid-19, that relied on data from the same company.

June 4: “E.R. Visits Drop Sharply During Pandemic” by Reed Abelson, The New York Times

Emergency room visits in the United States have dropped sharply during the pandemic, underscoring concerns that people with serious medical conditions, like heart attacks, are avoiding hospitals, according to a new analysis released on Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

June 8: “Abortion Opponents Protest COVID-19 Vaccines’ Use of Fetal Cells” by Meredith Wadman, Science

Senior Catholic leaders in the United States and Canada, along with other antiabortion groups, are raising ethical objections to promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are manufactured using cells derived from human fetuses electively aborted decades ago.

June 8: “Coronavirus Spread by People with No Symptoms ‘Appears to Be Rare,’ WHO Official Says” by Jacqueline Howard, CNN

The spread of Covid-19 by someone who is not showing symptoms appears to be rare, Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s technical lead for coronavirus response and head of the emerging diseases and zoonoses unit, said during a media briefing in Geneva on Monday. “From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” Van Kerkhove said on Monday.

June 10: “Human Trials Are Beginning Early for One Possible Coronavirus Vaccine, Here’s Where the Others Stand” by Meghan Roos, Newsweek

Human trials for one potential novel coronavirus vaccine will begin two months earlier than anticipated, Johnson & Johnson announced Wednesday. The vaccine the company is creating through Janssen Pharmaceuticals, its drug development arm, joins 10 others that have already entered the clinical stage of development, which means they have received necessary approvals to begin testing on human subjects.

June 11: “Research Involved in Retracted Lancet Study Has Faculty Appointment Terminated, as Details in Scandal Emerge” by Matthew Herper and Kate Sheridan, STAT News

The University of Utah has “mutually agreed” to terminate the faculty appointment of Amit Patel, who was among the authors of two retracted papers on Covid-19 and who appears to have played a key role in involving a little-known company that has ignited a firestorm of controversy.

June 12: “1st Known U.S. Lung Transplant for COVID-19 Patient Performed in Chicago” by Christine Herman, NPR

Doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago announced Thursday they’ve performed the first successful double-lung transplant on a COVID-19 patient in the United States. The woman in her 20s was otherwise healthy but developed a severe case of COVID-19 that resulted in hospitalization, says Dr. Ankit Bharat, Northwestern’s chief of thoracic surgery.

June 12: “Moderna to Start Final Testing Stage of Coronavirus Vaccine in July” by Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters

Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) on Thursday confirmed it plans to start a trial of 30,000 volunteers of its much-anticipated coronavirus vaccine in July as the company enters the final stage of testing. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech said the primary goal of the study would be to prevent symptomatic COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The key secondary goal would be prevention of severe disease, as defined by keeping people out of the hospital.

June 15: “Coronavirus Death Rate Is Higher for Those with Chronic Ills” by Lindsey Tanner, Associated Press

Death rates are 12 times higher for coronavirus patients with chronic illnesses than for others who become infected, a new U.S. government report says. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Monday highlights the dangers posed by heart disease, diabetes and lung ailments.

June 16: “Cheap Drug Is First Shown to Improve COVID-19 Survival” by Marilynn Marchione, Associated Press

Researchers in England say they have the first evidence that a drug [dexamethasone] can improve COVID-19 survival: A cheap, widely available steroid reduced deaths by up to one third in severely ill hospitalized patients.

June 16: “Schools Shut in Beijing as Coronavirus Flares” by Chris Bukley, New York Times

Beijing raised its level of health alert to the second highest on Tuesday, ordering schools to close and urging people to work from home as China’s government pressed to extinguish a spike in coronavirus infections menacing the capital.

June 19: “Italy Sewage Study Suggests COVID-19 Was There in December 2019” by Kate Kelland, Reuters

Scientists in Italy have found traces of the new coronavirus in wastewater collected from Milan and Turin in December 2019 – suggesting COVID-19 was already circulating in northern Italy before China reported the first cases.

June 23: “In Poor Countries, Many Covid-19 Patients Are Desperate for Oxygen” by Donal G. McNeil, Jr., The New York Times

As the coronavirus pandemic hits more impoverished countries with fragile health care systems, global health authorities are scrambling for supplies of a simple treatment that saves lives: oxygen.

June 24: “First Reported US Case of COVID-19 Linked to Guillain-Barre” by Megan Brooks, Medscape

The first official US case of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) associated with COVID-19 has been reported by neurologists from Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, further supporting a link between the virus and neurologic complications, including GBS. As previously reported by Medscape Medical News, physicians in China reported the first case of COVID-19 that initially presented as acute GBS.

June 24: “Mounting Clues Suggest the Coronavirus Might Trigger Diabetes” by Smriti Mallapaty, Nature

Their hunch is based on a handful of people such as Gnadt, who have spontaneously developed diabetes after being infected with SARS-CoV-2, and on evidence from dozens more people with COVID-19 who have arrived in hospital with extremely high levels of blood sugar and ketones which are produced from fatty deposits in the liver.

June 25: “U.S. Officials Change Virus Risk Groups, Add Pregnant Women” by Mike Stobbe, ABC News

The nation’s top public health agency on Thursday revamped its list of which Americans are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness, adding pregnant women and removing age alone as a factor. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also changed the list of underlying conditions that make someone more susceptible to suffering and death. Sickle cell disease joined the list, for example. And the threshold for risky levels of obesity was lowered.

June 29: “Researchers Report Nearly 300 Cases of Inflammatory Syndrome Tied to Covid-19 in Kids” by Helen Branswell, STAT News

Two U.S. research groups have reported finding nearly 300 cases of an alarming apparent side effect of Covid-19 in children, a condition called multisystem inflammation syndrome, or MIS-C.

June 30: “Global COVID-19 Prevention Trial of Hydroxychloroquine to Resume” by Kate Kelland, Reuters

A global trial designed to test whether the anti-malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can prevent infection with COVID-19 is to restart after being approved by British regulators.

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