COVID-19 Timeline: October 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 October 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.

October 5: “Trump to Be Discharged from Walter Reed, Doctor Says, But ‘Might Not Be Entirely Out of the Woods’” by Andrew Joseph, STAT News

Trump was hospitalized at Walter Reed Friday after experiencing a drop in his oxygen levels that required supplemental oxygen to be given, his medical team and the White House have said. Trump first started feeling symptoms on Thursday, and tested positive for the coronavirus that night.

October 7: “Eli Lilly Says Its Monoclonal Antibody Cocktail Is Effective in Treating Covid-19” by Matthew Herper, STAT News

Eli Lilly said Wednesday a monoclonal antibody treatment is effective in reducing levels of the virus that causes Covid-19 in patients, and also appears to prevent patients from visiting the emergency room or hospital.

October 8: “‘Rural Surge’ Propels India Toward More Covid-19 Infections Than U.S.” by Karen Deep Singh and Jeffrey Gentleman, The New York Times

The defiance of the coronavirus rules is being reflected across rural India, and it is propelling this nation’s virus caseload toward the No. 1 spot globally. Infections are rippling into every corner of this country of 1.3 billion people. The Indian news media is calling it “The Rural Surge.”

October 8: “US Medical Supply Chains Failed, and COVID Deaths Followed” by Juliet Linderman and Martha Mendoza, ABC News

The Associated Press and “FRONTLINE” launched a seven-month investigation — filing Freedom of Information Act requests, testing medical masks, interviewing dozens of experts from hard-hit hospitals to the White House — to understand what was behind these critical shortages. Medical supply chains that span oceans and continents are the fragile lifelines between raw materials and manufacturers overseas, and health care workers on COVID-19 front lines in the U.S. As link after link broke, the system fell apart.

October 12: “Remdesivir Effective, Well-Tolerated in Final Trial Report” by Ted Bosworth, Medscape

A final report from the multinational placebo-controlled ACTT-1 trial confirms that remdesivir is effective and well tolerated for shortening the time to recovery from COVID-19 infection.

October 13: “Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine Study Paused Due to Unexplained Illness in Participant” by Matthew Herper, STAT News

The study of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine has been paused due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.

October 14: “3 Covid-19 Trials Have Been Paused for Safety. That’s a Good Thing” by Carl Zimmer, The New York Times

Clinical trials experts said these delays were comforting, in a way: They show that the researchers were following proper safety procedures. But for now, details about the nature of the volunteers’ illnesses are scant.

October 14: “Central Europe, Spared in Spring, Suffers as Virus Surges” by Marc Santora and Hana de Goeij, The New York Times

Much of Central Europe locked down quickly in the spring, before the coronavirus took root, and largely avoided widespread infection during the first wave of the pandemic. But now — from the Polish port city of Gdansk on the Baltic to the ancient fortress town of Kotor on the Adriatic in Montenegro — the virus is sweeping across the region.

October 14: “Russia Approves 2nd Virus Vaccine After Early Trials” by Daria Litvinova, ABC News

Russian authorities have given regulatory approval to a second coronavirus vaccine after early-stage studies, two months after a similar move prompted widespread criticism from scientists both at home and abroad.

October 16: “Eli Lilly to Continue Other COVID-19 Antibody Drug Trials After Pausing One on Safety Concerns” by Carl O’Donnell and Michael Erman, Medscape

Eli Lilly & Co on Wednesday said that other trials of its experimental COVID-19 antibody drug bamlanivimab will continue apace after it paused one ongoing trial of the drug, citing safety concerns.

October 16: “WHO Study Finds Remdesivir Didn’t Help COVID-19 Patients” by Jamey Keaten and Marilynn Marchione, Associated Press

A large study led by the World Health Organization suggests that the antiviral drug remdesivir did not help hospitalized COVID-19 patients, in contrast to an earlier study that made the medicine a standard of care in the United States and many other countries.

October 16: “Pfizer Won’t Apply for Covid-19 Vaccine Authorization Before Mid-November, CEO Confirms” by Matthew Herper, STAT News

Pfizer confirmed Friday it expects to seek emergency authorization of its experimental vaccine against Covid-19, if it is effective, in the third week of November.

October 16: “China Rapidly Expands Use of Experimental COVID-19 Vaccines” by Huizhong Wu, Associated Press

China is rapidly increasing the number of people receiving its experimental coronavirus vaccines, with a city offering one to the general public and a biotech company providing another free to students going abroad. The city of Jiaxing, south of Shanghai, is offering a vaccine under development by Sinovac, it said in an announcement Thursday.

October 20: “‘At a Breaking Point’: New Surge of Covid-19 Cases Has States, Hospitals Scrambling, Yet Again” by Andrew Joseph, STAT News

As hospitalizations for Covid-19 inch up around the country, some states are readying plans for field hospitals. Communities are delaying reopening plans and even imposing new measures, though some governors remain opposed to additional restrictions.

October 20: “U.K. to Infect Healthy Volunteers in Covid-19 Vaccine Research Trials” by STAT News

U.K. researchers are preparing to infect healthy young volunteers with the virus that causes Covid-19, becoming the first to announce plans to use the controversial technique to study the disease and potentially speed up development of a vaccine that could help end the pandemic. This type of research, known as a human challenge study, is used infrequently because some consider the risk involved in infecting otherwise healthy individuals to be unethical.

October 21: “The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Caused Nearly 300,000 More Deaths Than Expected in a Typical Year” by Lenny Bernstein, The Washington Post

The coronavirus pandemic has left about 299,000 more people dead in the United States than would be expected in a typical year, two-thirds of them from covid-19 and the rest from other causes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday. The CDC said the novel coronavirus, which causes covid-19, has taken a disproportionate toll on Latinos and Blacks, as previous analyses have noted. But the CDC also found, surprisingly, that it has struck 25- to 44-year-olds very hard: Their “excess death” rate is up 26.5 percent over previous years, the largest change for any age group.

October 21: “Some California Hospitals Refused Covid-19 Transfers for Financial Reasons, State Emails Show” by Melanie Evans, Alexandra Berzon, and Daniela Hernandez, The Wall Street Journal

Several large Southern California hospital systems improperly refused or delayed accepting Covid-19 patients based on their insurance status, according to internal emails among local and state government, hospital and emergency-response officials, leaving severely ill patients waiting for care and adding strain on hospitals overrun by the pandemic. Disaster-response experts said the refusals and delays exposed ways that some hospitals have put finances ahead of pandemic relief.

October 22: “Brazil Confirms Death of Volunteer in COVID-19 Vaccine Trial” by Leoleli Schwartz, Medscape

The Brazilian National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) announced today that it is investigating data received on the death of a volunteer in a clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca

October 27: “Eli Lilly Said Its Antibody Treatment Does Not Work on Patients Hospitalized with Covid-19” by Katie Thomas, The New York Times

The drug maker Eli Lilly said on Monday that its antibody treatment was ineffective on patients hospitalized with advanced Covid-19 and that a government-sponsored trial would not administer the drug to new participants.

October 27: “Nurses Are High Risk for Covid among Health Workers, C.D.C. Says” by Reed Abelson, The New York Times

Among health care workers, nurses in particular have been at significant risk of contracting Covid-19, according to a new analysis of hospitalized patients by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings were released Monday as a surge of new hospitalizations swept the country, with several states hitting record levels of cases.

October 30: “Over 3 Million Cases of Coronavirus Reported in Mideast” by
Medical Xpress

The number of reported coronavirus cases has gone over 3 million in the Middle East, an Associated Press count showed Friday, with the true number likely even higher. Across the Mideast, there have been over 75,000 deaths attributed to the virus by health authorities, the AP count relying on reported figures by individual countries shows.

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