COVID-19 Timeline: August 2020
October 4, 2021
At Bioethics.com 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 August 2020 and were originally posted at Bioethics.com. 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.
August 4: “US Launches Advanced Trials of Antibody Treatment for Covid-19 Patients” by Amanda Watts, Jacqueline Howard, and Jen Christensen, CNN
Two new trials soon will be underway in the United States to investigate antibody treatment approaches for Covid-19 patients. The National Institutes of Health announced on Tuesday that it is launching two advanced trials to test monoclonal antibodies in patients with Covid-19, one for patients with mild disease and another for patients who are hospitalized.
August 4: “US to Pay Johnson and Johnson $1 Billion for COVID-19 Vaccine” by Voice of America
The U.S. has agreed to pay Johnson and Johnson more than $1 billion to create 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in a deal announced Wednesday by the company. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is in its experimental phase, currently using early-stage human trials in the U.S. and Belgium.
August 6: “India Becomes Third Country to Pass Two Million Cases” by Soutik Biswas, BBC
More than two million Indians have now tested positive for Covid-19, according to official figures. The country confirmed the last million cases in just 20 days, faster than the US or Brazil which have higher numbers. Testing has been expanded considerably in India in recent weeks but the situation varies across states.
August 7: “Covid-19 Patients Not Showing Symptoms May Carry Just as Much Virus as Those Who Do, New Study Finds” by Jacqueline Howard, CNN
Covid-19 patients not showing symptoms may have similar amounts of the novel coronavirus in their bodies as those who do show symptoms, according to a new study from South Korea. This would suggest that they could still spread the virus to others.
August 7: “Scientists May Be Using the Wrong Cells to Study Covid-19” by Roxanne Khamsi,
By now there’s little doubt about hydroxychloroquine: It doesn’t work for treating Covid-19. But there’s a bigger, more important lesson hidden in the story of its failure—a rarely mentioned, but altogether crucial, error baked into the early research. The scientists who ran the first, promising laboratory experiments on the drug had used the wrong kind of cells.
August 11: “‘A Smoking Gun’: Infectious Coronavirus Retrieved from Hospital Air” by Apoorva Mandavilli, The New York Times
Skeptics of the notion that the coronavirus spreads through the air — including many expert advisers to the World Health Organization — have held out for one missing piece of evidence: proof that floating respiratory droplets called aerosols contain live virus, and not just fragments of genetic material. Now a team of virologists and aerosol scientists has produced exactly that: confirmation of infectious virus in the air.
August 11: “Exclusive: Over 900 Health Workers Have Died of COVID-19. And the Toll Is Rising.” by Danielle Renwick, The Guardian, and Shoshana Dubnow, Kaiser Health News
More than 900 front-line health care workers have died of COVID-19, according to an interactive database unveiled Tuesday by The Guardian and KHN.
August 11: “Russia Approves Coronavirus Vaccine Before Completing Tests” by Andrew E. Kramer, The New York Times
Russia has become the first country in the world to approve a vaccine for the coronavirus, President Vladimir V. Putin announced on Tuesday, though global health authorities say the vaccine has yet to complete critical, late-stage clinical trials to determine its safety and effectiveness.
August 12: “The Pandemic Appears to Have Spared Africa So Far. Scientists Are Struggling to Explain Why” by Linda Nordling, Science
Although Africa reported its millionth official COVID-19 case last week, it seems to have weathered the pandemic relatively well so far, with fewer than one confirmed case for every thousand people and just 23,000 deaths so far. Yet several antibody surveys suggest far more Africans have been infected with the coronavirus—a discrepancy that is puzzling scientists around the continent.
August 18: “CDC Study Finds Hispanics Hit Disproportionately Hard by Workplace Outbreaks” by Rachel Treisman, NPR
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published on Monday is the latest to confirm that the coronavirus disproportionately impacts communities of color in the U.S. The study looked at COVID-19 cases associated with workplace outbreaks in certain industries in Utah between March and June. It found that Hispanic and nonwhite workers made up 73% of those cases — despite representing just 24% of the workforce in sectors where outbreaks occurred.
August 24: “Hong Kong Researchers Report First Documented Coronavirus Re-Infection” by Reuters
A Hong Kong man who recovered from COVID-19 was infected again four-and-a-half months later in the first documented instance of human re-infection, researchers at the University of Hong Kong said on Monday.
August 26: “More Mixed Results for Remdesivir: Moderate COVID-19 Patient” by Marcia Frellick, Medscape
A 5-day course of remdesivir (Veklury) is associated with statistically significant improvement among patients hospitalized with moderate COVID-19 in comparison with standard care, a company-sponsored randomized trial shows. However, experts said the clinical benefit of the drug for these patients is ambiguous, given the small difference between trial groups.
August 26: “Two European Patients Reinfected with Coronavirus” by Anthony Deutsch and Philip Blenkinsop, The Globe and Mail
Two European patients are confirmed to have been re-infected with the coronavirus, raising concerns about people’s immunity to the virus as the world struggles to tame the pandemic.
August 26: “Many People of Color, Immigrants Among 1,080 US Health Workers Lost to COVID” by Danielle Renwick, The Guardian, and Shoshana Dubnow, Kaiser Health News
More than 1,000 front-line health care workers reportedly have died of COVID-19, according to Lost on the Frontline, an ongoing investigation by The Guardian and KHN to track and memorialize every U.S. health care worker who dies from the coronavirus.