COVID-19 Timeline: September 2020

October 4, 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 September 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.

September 1: “First U.S. COVID-19 Reinfection Case Identified in Nevada Study” by Deena Beasley, Reuters

Researchers for the first time have identified someone in the United States who was reinfected with the novel coronavirus, according to a study that has not yet been reviewed by outside experts.

September 1: “Human Trials of Oxford Coronavirus Vaccine Have Begun in the US” by Michael Le Page, New Scientist

A large trial of a coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford has begun in the US. With similar trials already under way in the UK and Brazil, hopes are rising that we could find out if the vaccine works before the end of the year.

September 2: “Covid-19 Deaths Significantly Reduced by Use of Steroids, Analysis Says” by Joseph Walker, The Wall Street Journal

A new analysis of several studies in which steroid drugs were used to treat severely ill Covid-19 patients found the drugs significantly helped reduce patient deaths, bolstering earlier, preliminary evidence for the benefit of these medications.

September 3: “NIH Panel Counters FDA: No Solid Data on Plasma for COVID-19” by Marcia Frellick, Medscape

Current data are insufficient to recommend either for or against using convalescent plasma to treat patients who have COVID-19, the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel said Tuesday.

September 3: “HCWs, First Responders Should Be First to Get COVID-19 Vaccines: Panel” by Julie Steenhuysen and Michael Erman, Reuters

Healthcare workers and first responders who are at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19 should be at the front of the line for vaccines when they become available, an independent expert panel tapped by top U.S. health officials said on Tuesday.

September 4: “Russians Publish Early Coronavirus Vaccine Results” by Carl Zimmer, The New York Times

On Friday, a team of Russian scientists published the first report on their Covid-19 vaccine, which had been roundly criticized because of President Vladimir Putin’s decision last month to approve it before clinical trials had proved it safe and effective.

September 9: “AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine Study Put on Hold Due to Suspected Adverse Reactions in Participants in the U.K.” by Rebecca Robbins, Adam Feuerstein, and Helen Branswell, STAT News

A large, Phase 3 study testing a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford at dozens of sites across the U.S. has been put on hold due to a suspected serious adverse reaction in a participant in the United Kingdom.

September 14: “China Has Quietly Vaccinated More than 100,000 People for Covid-19 Before Completing Safety Trials” by Lili Pike, Vox

Individuals received one of two Sinopharm vaccines in development in an emergency use program launched by the Chinese government in late July, which also authorized a third vaccine, CoronaVac, developed by the privately owned drugmaker Sinovac Biotech. Under Chinese vaccine law, such authorization is allowed within a certain scope and time frame during a health emergency.

September 14: “Scientists Relieved as Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Restarts—But Question Lack of Transparency” by David Cyranoski and Smriti Mallapaty , Nature

The UK trial of a leading coronavirus vaccine, which was abruptly halted last week because of safety concerns, restarted on Saturday, after the university conducting the trial said an independent committee found that it was safe to do so.

September 16: “Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Reaches Initial Goal of 30,000 Volunteers” by WFAA

Pfizer announced on Wednesday that it has reached its initial goal of 30,000 participants for the phase 3 trial of its coronavirus vaccine.

September 18: “Nursing Homes Given Federal Go-Ahead to Allow More Visitors” by Ina Jaffe, NPR

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which regulate nursing facilities, are lifting the ban on visitors, effective immediately. CMS imposed the restriction in March in an effort to control outbreaks of the coronavirus.

September 18: “Europe Coronavirus Cases Surge as Countries Prepare Drastic Measures Against Second Wave” by Soo Kim, Newsweek

Coronavirus cases in Europe have climbed past five million, with over 300,000 new infections reported last week alone across the region. Between September 7 and September 13, Europe reported 323,536 new COVID-19 cases, according to the latest report Thursday from the WHO.

September 22: “WHO Unveils Global Plan to Fairly Distribute COVID-19 Vaccine, But Challenges Await” by Kai Kupferschmidt, Science

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that countries representing close to two-thirds of the world’s population have joined its plan to buy and fairly distribute COVID-19 vaccines around the globe.

September 22: “AztraZeneca, Under Fire for Vaccine Safety, Releases Trial Blueprints” by Denise Grady, Katherine J. Wu, Sharon LaFraniere, The New York Times

AstraZeneca revealed details of its large coronavirus vaccine trials on Saturday, the third in a wave of rare disclosures by drug companies under pressure to be more transparent about how they are testing products that are the world’s best hope for ending the pandemic.

September 23: “64 High-Income Nations Join Effort to Expand Global Access to Covid-19 Vaccines, But U.S. and China Do Not” by Helen Branswell, STAT News

Countries representing about 64% of the world population have signed up to expand global access to Covid-19 vaccines by funding a purchasing pool organized by the World Health Organization and other nonprofit groups, leaders of the effort announced Monday. Not among the countries: the United States, which had previously said it is not taking part in the so-called COVAX Facility, or Russia nor China, both of which have already issued emergency use licenses for Covid-19 vaccines.

September 23: “Colleges’ Opening Fueled 3,000 COVID Cases a Day, Researchers Say” by Michael McAuliff, Kaiser Health News

Reopening colleges drove a coronavirus surge of about 3,000 new cases a day in the United States, according to a draft study released Tuesday.

September 24: “Report: FDA to Release Tougher COVID Vaccine Rules” by Carolyn Crist, Medscape

As soon as this week, the FDA is expected to issue tougher guidelines for an emergency use authorization of a coronavirus vaccine, according to The Washington Post. The new standards will likely make approval more difficult, and a vaccine won’t likely be cleared before Election Day, the newspaper reported.

September 24: “As Pandemic Deaths Add Up, Racial Disparities Persist—And in Some Cases Worsen” by Daniel Wood , NPR

Data gathered early in the pandemic showed that communities of color are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 across the United States. But incomplete data left a muddy picture of these disparities. Today, as the U.S. has surpassed 200,000 COVID-19 deaths, and reached nearly 7 million confirmed cases, racial data is more complete, and the trend is crystal clear: People of color get sick and die of COVID-19 at rates higher than whites and higher than their share of the population.

September 28: “New Document Reveals Scope and Structure of Operation Warp Speed and Underscores Vast Military Involvement” by Nicholas Florko, STAT News

Operation Warp Speed’s central goal is to develop, produce, and distribute 300 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine by January — and the military is intimately involved, according to Paul Mango, HHS’ deputy chief of staff for policy.

September 29: “Worldwide Death Toll from Coronavirus Eclipses 1 Million” by Adam Geller and Rishabh R. Jain, Associated Press

The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus has eclipsed 1 million, nine months into a crisis that has devastated the global economy, tested world leaders’ resolve, pitted science against politics and forced multitudes to change the way they live, learn and work.

September 29: “Regeneron’s Covid-19 Antibody May Help Non-Hospitalized Patients Recover Faster, Early Data Show” by Matthew Herper, STAT News

New data from the biotechnology firm Regeneron seem likely to add to the excitement about drugs called monoclonal antibodies as treatments for Covid-19, but experts caution more data will be needed to know how potentially beneficial the medicines are.

September 29: “COVID-19 Cases Rising Among US Children as Schools Reopen” by Lindsey Tanner, Associated Press

After preying heavily on the elderly in the spring, the coronavirus is increasingly infecting American children and teens in a trend authorities say appears driven by school reopenings and the resumption of sports, playdates and other activities. Children of all ages now make up 10% of all U.S cases, up from 2% in April, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported Tuesday.

September 30: “Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Appears Safe, Shows Signs of Working in Older Adults: Study” by Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters

Results from an early safety study of Moderna Inc’s MRNA.O coronavirus vaccine candidate in older adults showed that it produced virus-neutralizing antibodies at levels similar to those seen in younger adults, with side effects roughly on par with high-dose flu shots, researchers said on Tuesday.

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