COVID-19 Timeline: March 2021

January 13, 2022

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 March 2021 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.

March 1: “The Latest: First US J&J Vaccine Doses Shipping Sunday Night” by Associated Press

Nearly 4 million doses of the newest COVID-19 vaccine will be shipped Sunday night, and will begin to be delivered to states for injections starting on Tuesday. The White House said the entire stockpile of the newly approved single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will go out immediately.

March 1: “How Inequality Gets Built into America’s Vaccination System” by Maryam Jameel and Caroline Chen, ProPublica

In many regions of the U.S., it’s much more difficult to schedule a vaccine appointment if you do not have access to the internet. In some areas, drive-through vaccinations are the only option, excluding those who do not have cars or someone who can give them a ride. In other places, people who do not speak English are having trouble getting information from government hotlines and websites.

March 1: “Vulnerable Inmates Left in Prison as Covid Rages” by Roni Caryn Rabin, The New York Times

The coronavirus has infected more than 620,000 inmates and correctional officers in the nation’s prisons, jails and detention centers, according to a New York Times database. Nearly 2,800 inmates and guards have died, making correctional facilities among the most significant battlefronts of the pandemic, along with nursing homes and schools.

March 1: “High Staff Turnover at U.S. Nursing Homes Poses Risks for Residents’ Care” by Reed Abelson, The New York Times

Extraordinarily high turnover among staffs at nursing homes likely contributed to the shocking number of deaths at the facilities during the pandemic, the authors of a new study suggested.

March 1: “States Easing Virus Restrictions Despite Experts’ Warnings” by Heather Hollingsworth and Tammy Webber, Associated Press

With the U.S. vaccination drive picking up speed and a third formula on the way, states eager to reopen for business are easing coronavirus restrictions despite warnings from health experts that the outbreak is far from over and that moving too quickly could prolong the misery.

March 2: “Israel’s “Green Pass” Is an Early Vision of How We Leave Lockdown” by Cat Ferguson and Joshua Mitnick, MIT Technology Review

Some proponents, including those on one side of a fierce debate in Thailand, have focused on ending quarantines for international travelers to stimulate the hard-hit tourism industry. Others imagine following Israel’s lead, creating a two-tiered system that allows vaccinated people to enjoy the benefits of a post-pandemic life while others wait for their shots.

March 2: “Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Reduces Infection Risk After One Dose: UK Study” by Kate Kelland, Medscape

A single dose of Pfizer and BioNtech’s COVID-19 vaccine cuts the number of asymptomatic infections and could significantly reduce the risk of transmission of the virus, results of a UK study found on Friday.

March 2: “Doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Vaccine Pile Up in Europe Amid Government Restrictions” by Stacy Meichtry and Bjoran Pancevski, The Wall Street Journal

Europe’s reluctance to distribute millions of doses of AstraZeneca PLC’s Covid-19 vaccine is coming under pressure after the French government authorized use of the shot for some older people.

March 2: “Virus Variant Races Through Italy, Especially Among Children” by Frances D’Emilio, ABC News

The variant of the coronavirus discovered in Britain is prevalent among Italy’s infected schoolchildren and is helping to fuel a “robust” uptick in the curve of COVID-19 contagion in the country, the health minister said Tuesday.

March 2: “Abortion Concerns Prompt Archdiocese Warning on Vaccine” by Kevin McGill, ABC News

Roman Catholic leaders in St. Louis and New Orleans are advising Catholics that the COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, newly approved for use in the U.S., is “morally compromised” because it is produced using a cell line derived from an aborted fetus. The New Orleans archdiocese says the decision to receive a vaccine is one of individual conscience.

March 2: “Chinese Vaccines Sweep Much of the World, Despite Concerns” by Huizhong Wu and Kristen Gelineau, Associated Press

China’s vaccine diplomacy campaign has been a surprising success: It has pledged roughly half a billion doses of its vaccines to more than 45 countries, according to a country-by-country tally by The Associated Press.

March 3: “Covid-19 Vaccinations Proceed Slowly Among Older Latino, Black People” by Daniela Hernandez, The Wall Street Journal

Across the country and age groups, vaccination rates are lower among minority groups than among white people, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The nonprofit reported last week that vaccination rates among elderly Black and Latino people were lower than those for elderly white people in South Carolina and Washington, the two states reporting comprehensive data.

March 3: “Covid-19 Variant in Brazil Overwhelms Local Hospitals, Hits Younger Patients” by Samantha Pearson and Ryan Dube, The Wall Street Journal

Researchers and doctors are sounding the alarm over a new, more aggressive coronavirus strain from the Amazon area of Brazil, which they believe is responsible for a recent rise in deaths, as well as infections in younger people, in parts of South America.

March 3: “COVID-19 Pandemic Fuels Attacks on Health Workers Globally” by Helen Wieffering and Joshua Housing, Medscape

Two Nigerian nurses were attacked by the family of a deceased COVID-19 patient. One nurse had her hair ripped out and suffered a fracture. The second was beaten into a coma. Following the assaults, nurses at Federal Medical Centre in the Southwestern city of Owo stopped treating patients, demanding the hospital improve security. Almost two weeks passed before they returned to work with armed guards posted around the clock.

March 3: “Los Angeles County Finds Fewer Cases Among Health Care Workers as More Get Vaccinated” by Eileen Sullivan, The New York Times

What was once a flood of health care workers catching the coronavirus in Los Angeles County has now slowed to a trickle, in large part because the vast majority of them have been vaccinated, local public health officials said. Reports of new virus cases among health care workers in the county have fallen by 94 percent since late November, just before vaccination began.

March 3: “India’s Covid-19 Vaccine Is Found Effective, Boosting National Efforts” by Eric Bellman, The Wall Street Journal

India’s Bharat Biotech said its Covid-19 vaccine has proven 81% effective at protecting people in a large clinical trial, a report that could invigorate India’s inoculation drive and vaccine-diplomacy efforts.

March 3: “Covid Deaths High in Countries with More Overweight People, Says Report” by Sarah Boseley, The Guardian

Countries with high levels of overweight people, such as the UK and the US, have the highest death rates from Covid-19, a landmark report reveals, prompting calls for governments to urgently tackle obesity, as well as prioritising overweight people for vaccinations.

March 5: “Study Tracks Delayed Local Reactions in 12 Recipients of Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine” by Reuters Staff, republished in Medscape

Local reaction to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine can appear up to 11 days after vaccination and symptoms can persist for as long as 11 days, a team of Boston doctors warns in an online letter to The New England Journal of Medicine.

March 5: “A New Study of Athletes’ Hearts After Covid Shows Encouraging Results” by Andrew Beaton and Louise Radnofsky, The Wall Street Journal

The scary question that leagues like the NBA, NFL and MLB faced as they returned to play over the past year was how prevalent heart damage would be among players who tested positive for Covid-19. They now have an encouraging answer: It’s rare.

March 5: “Doctors Tally COVID-19’s Toll on Hospitalized Patients: ‘It’s Costly and It’s Deadly’” by Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times

A new study of nearly 200,000 adults hospitalized with COVID-19 in hundreds of medical centers across the U.S. found that the oldest patients were 19 times more likely to die than the youngest patients. Overall, death rates declined significantly over six months — an encouraging sign that as health workers learned more about the disease, they got better at keeping sick patients alive.

March 5: “Teacher Vaccinations Go Untracked Amid School Reopening Push” by Casey Smith, Associated Press

The national rush to vaccinate teachers in hopes of soon reopening pandemic-shuttered schools is running into one basic problem: Almost no one knows how many are getting the shots, or refusing to get them. States and many districts have not been keeping track of school employee vaccinations, even as the U.S. prioritizes teachers nationwide.

March 5: “Ghana Greets Historic Vaccine Delivery with a Dose of Skepticism” by Malaka Gharib and Suzette Lohmeyer, NPR

Ghana, characterized as a lower middle-income country by the World Bank, received 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine — part of an initial 2.4 million doses to be shipped by COVAX in 2021. But it’s one thing to have a supply of vaccines; it’s another to administer them.

March 5: “Life, Death and Grief in Los Angeles” by Meridith Kohut and Fernanda Santos, Los Angeles Times

By mid-February, the virus had killed Black residents at nearly twice the rate and Latinos at nearly three times the rate of white Angelenos. It had exposed not just a sharp racial and ethnic divide but also the longstanding neglect of people who clean homes, care for the elderly and people with disabilities, sort and deliver packages and prepare, cook and serve the food we eat.

March 8: “Russian Disinformation Campaign Aims to Undermine Confidence in Pfizer Other Covid-19 Vaccines, U.S. Officials Say” by Michael R. Gordon and Dustin Volz, The Wall Street Journal

Russian intelligence agencies have mounted a campaign to undermine confidence in Pfizer Inc.’s and other Western vaccines, using online publications that in recent months have questioned the vaccines’ development and safety, U.S. officials said.

March 8: “Alaska’s Remote Villages Race Against Time and History” by Mike Baker and Serge F. Kovaleski, The New York Times

In a state where the Indigenous population has been ravaged by global disease outbreaks for generations, the coronavirus pandemic has killed Alaska Natives at quadruple the rate of white residents. The virus has taken hold in remote communities, setting up an urgent race between infections and vaccinations during a season in which weather can limit travel, the sun may only wink above the horizon and large, multigenerational families are crowded indoors.

March 8: “The Lost Year: What the Pandemic Cost Teenagers” by Alec MacGillis, ProPublica

In Hobbs, New Mexico, the high school closed and football was cancelled, while just across the state line in Texas, students seemed to be living nearly normal lives. Here’s how the pandemic school closures exact their emotional toll on young people.

March 8: “Fully Vaccinated People Can Gather Without Masks, CDC Says” by Mike Stobbe, Associated Press

Fully vaccinated Americans can gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing, according to long-awaited guidance from federal health officials. The recommendations also say that vaccinated people can come together in the same way — in a single household — with people considered at low-risk for severe disease, such as in the case of vaccinated grandparents visiting healthy children and grandchildren.

March 9: “Russia’s Covid-19 Vaccine Is Embraced Abroad, Snubbed at Home” by Georgi Kantchev, The Wall Street Journal

(The Wall Street Journal) – Last summer, Russia was the first nation to announce its approval of a Covid-19 vaccine. Dozens of countries from Mexico to Iran have since ordered millions of doses of the shot, known as Sputnik V. But at home, Russia’s vaccination campaign has sputtered in the midst of one of the world’s highest levels of vaccine hesitancy.

March 9: “FDA Warns Against Using Ivermectin to Treat COVID-19” by Marcia Frellick, Medscape

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued guidance warning consumers against using the antiparasitic drug ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19. The agency says it issued the guidance on Friday in light of growing interest in the drug as a COVID-19 treatment and multiple reports of patients hospitalized or needing medical support “after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses.

March 9: “CDC Data Strengthens Link Between Obesity and Severe COVID” by Damian McNamara, Medscape

Officials have previously linked being overweight or obese to a greater risk for more severe COVID-19. A report today from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adds numbers and some nuance to the association. Data from nearly 150,000 US adults hospitalized with COVID-19 nationwide indicate that risk for more severe disease outcomes increases along with body mass index (BMI).

March 9: “The Pandemic Can’t End While Wealthy Nations Hoard Shots” by Maryn McKenna, Wired

The first year of the pandemic was an emergency. The arrival of vaccines that might end the emergency relaxes the pressure a bit—and in the pause, problems that got submerged in last year’s chaos are now bubbling up. Even though vaccines are still scarce—in the US, most people who want a shot still can’t get one—the rich nations of the world have promised manufacturers to buy many times more doses than they need. That is threatening to choke off vaccine supply needed by the global south.

March 9: “‘War Doesn’t Even Compare’: A Year in the Life of a Traveling Nurse” by Ari Shapiro and Farah Eltohamy, NPR

The American Association of Colleges of Nurses says that several factors are contributing to the shortage in nurses, including insufficient enrollment and faculty at nursing schools to meet the demand, a significant number of nurses reaching retirement age, and high stress levels that are driving nurses to leave the profession. And on top of that, health care workers are also falling ill and dying from the virus.

March 10: “Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Neutralizes Brazil Variant in Lab Study” by Michael Erman, Medscape

The COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE was able to neutralize a new variant of the coronavirus spreading rapidly in Brazil, according to a laboratory study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Monday.

March 10: “Five-Day Course of Oral Antiviral Appears to Stop SARS-CoV-2 in Its Tracks” by Heather Boerner, Medscape

A single pill of the investigational drug molnupiravir taken twice a day for 5 days eliminated SARS-CoV-2 from the nasopharynx of 49 participants.

March 10: “Drugmaker Lilly Says Covid Treatment Slashed Hospitalization and Deaths” by Medical Xpress

US drugmaker Eli Lilly’s combination of two synthetic antibodies reduced hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk patients recently diagnosed with COVID-19 by 87 percent in trials, the company said Wednesday. The results come from a Phase 3 clinical trial of 769 people aged 12 and over with mild-to-moderate COVID-19, who were considered high-risk because of their age or underlying conditions.

March 10: “Nursing Home Residents Can Get Hugs Again, Feds Say” by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press

Nursing home residents vaccinated against COVID-19 can get hugs again from their loved ones, and all residents may enjoy more indoor visits, the government said Wednesday in a step toward pre-pandemic normalcy. The policy guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, comes as coronavirus cases and deaths among nursing home residents have plummeted in recent weeks at the same time that vaccination accelerated.

March 10: “Health Officials Debate Vaccine Priority for People with Pre-Existing Conditions” by Caitlin Owens, Axios

Most states are making people with underlying conditions eligible for coronavirus vaccines, but which conditions differ by state and sometimes even by county, the New York Times reports. The big picture: With health care workers and the oldest Americans increasingly vaccinated, public health officials are grappling with who should be next in line — a decision that could have life-or-death consequences.

March 11: “‘Reassuring’ Data on COVID-19 Vaccines in Pregnancy” by Laird Harrison, Medscape

Pregnant women can safely get vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for COVID-19, surveillance data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest.

March 11: “Denmark, Norway and Iceland Suspend AstraZeneca COVID Shots After Blood Clot Reports” by Reuters

Health authorities in Denmark, Norway and Iceland on Thursday suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine following reports of the formation of blood clots in some people who had been vaccinated. Austria earlier stopped using a batch of AstraZeneca shots while investigating a death from coagulation disorders and an illness from a pulmonary embolism. Still, the European medicine regulator EMA said the vaccine’s benefits outweighed its risks and could continue to be administered.

March 12: “Novavax’s Covid-19 Vaccine Effective in U.K. Study” by Peter Loftus, The Wall Street Journal

Novavax Inc. released final results from clinical studies indicating its Covid-19 vaccine was effective against the coronavirus and a variant that emerged in the U.K., but less so against another variant in South Africa.

March 12: “EU Regulator Investigates COVID Vaccines for Link to Bleeding Disorder” by Reuters

The European Union’s drugs regulator is investigating whether any of the three COVID-19 vaccines approved in the bloc might be linked to a blood clotting deficiency that can cause internal bleeding. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Friday that several cases of immune thrombocytopenia, a lack of platelets in the blood that can lead to bleeding and bruising, had been reported under its vaccine safety monitoring process.

March 12: “Global Rise in Childhood Mental Health Issues Amid Pandemic” by John Leicester, Associated Press

For doctors who treat them, the pandemic’s impact on the mental health of children is increasingly alarming. The Paris pediatric hospital caring for Pablo has seen a doubling in the number of children and young teenagers requiring treatment after attempted suicides since September. Doctors elsewhere report similar surges, with children — some as young as 8 — deliberately running into traffic, overdosing on pills and otherwise self-harming. In Japan, child and adolescent suicides hit record levels in 2020, according to the Education Ministry.

March 15: “Pfizer/BioNTech Say Data Suggests Vaccine 94% Effective in Preventing Asymptomatic Infection” Michael Erman and Maayan Lubell, Reuters, republished in Medscape

Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE said on Thursday that real-world data from Israel suggests their COVID-19 vaccine is 94% effective in preventing asymptomatic infections, meaning it could significantly reduce transmission. The companies also said the latest analysis of the Israeli data shows the vaccine was 97% effective in preventing symptomatic disease, severe disease and death.

March 15: “South Africa’s Drop in Covid-19 Cases Adds to Questions About Waves of Infections” by Gabriele Steinhauser, The Wall Street Journal

Then something unexpected happened: Covid-19 cases started dropping. Since mid-January, confirmed Covid-19 infections in South Africa have fallen from a record of nearly 22,000 a day to around 1,000, without a large-scale vaccination campaign or stringent lockdown.

March 15: “China Asks Visa Applicants to Get Inoculated with Chinese-Made Vaccines.” by Keith Bradsher, The New York Times

China raised the stakes in the international vaccine competition on Saturday, saying that foreigners wishing to enter the Chinese mainland from Hong Kong will face fewer paperwork requirements if they are inoculated with Chinese-made coronavirus vaccines. The policy announcement, which covers foreigners applying for visas in the Chinese territory, comes a day after the United States, India, Japan and Australia announced plans to provide vaccines more widely to other countries.

March 15: “COVID-19 Data Miss a Lot of People–Raising Questions” by Suzette Lohmeyer, NPR

What does it take to make good data? That’s an important question, especially after a year of watching COVID-19 statistics being lobbed around by the minute. We need good data to see how this year has gone and to know what action to take in the future. Unfortunately, says Dr. Paul Spiegel of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Humanitarian Health, in lower-income countries and among certain at-risk populations, reliable data aren’t always available.

March 15: “Germany, Italy, France Suspend AstraZeneca Shots Amid Safety Fears, Disrupting EU Vaccinations” by Thomas Escritt and Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters

Germany, France and Italy said on Monday they would suspend AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots after several countries reported possible serious side-effects, but the World Health Organization. (WHO) said there was no proven link and people should not panic.

March 16: “Moderna Begins Testing Covid Vaccine in Babies and Children” by Denise Grady, The New York Times

The drug company Moderna has begun a study that will test its Covid vaccine in children under 12, including babies as young as six months, the company said on Tuesday. The study is expected to enroll 6,750 healthy children in the United States and Canada. Moderna declined to say how many had already signed up or received the first shots, according to a spokeswoman, Colleen Hussey.

March 16: “China Approves a Fifth Covid-19 Vaccine” by Sui-Lee Wee, The New York Times

China has approved its fifth Covid-19 vaccine, one produced by Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical Co. and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It was developed by a team led by George Gao, the head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

March 17: “CDC’s ‘Huge Mistake’: Did Misguided Mask Advice Drive Up COVID Death Toll for Health Workers?” by Christina Jewett, Kaiser Health News, republished in Medscape

Recent studies have determined that a basic cough produces about 20 times more particles than intubation, a procedure one doctor likened to the risk of being next to a nuclear reactor. Other new studies show that patients with covid simply talking or breathing, even in a well-ventilated room, could make workers sick in the CDC-sanctioned surgical masks. The studies suggest that the highest overall risk of infection was among the front-line workers — many of them workers of color — who spent the most time with patients earlier in their illness and in sub-par protective gear, not those working in the covid ICU.

March 17: “J&J Jab Effective in Countries with Variants: WHO Experts” by Medical Xpress

The WHO’s expert vaccine advisers on Wednesday recommended Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 jab for use in countries where coronavirus variants of concern are circulating. The World Health Organization gave its seal of approval on Friday to the vaccine, which has the advantages of being a single-shot jab that can be stored at regular refrigeration rather than ultra-cold temperatures.

March 18: “AstraZeneca Vaccine Protection Level Just 10% Against South African COVID-19 Variant” by Rueters Staff, republished in Medscape

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine developed with the University of Oxford has an efficacy of only 10.4% against the South African variant of the virus, according to data published online Wednesday by The New England Journal of Medicine.

March 18: “The Kids Are Definitely Not All Right” by Bryan Walsh, Axios

A new survey of people in eight countries finds that mental wellness took a dive in 2020, with the worst effects found among the young. Why it matters: Few people’s mental health escaped unscathed from the effects of the pandemic, but the gap between the state of the young versus older adults could mean serious problems down the road.

March 18: “Lessons from the COVID-19 Crisis: Overcrowding Hospitals Cost Lives” by Will Stone, NPR

Now two recent studies quantify the consequences of flooding hospitals with COVID-19 patients and add urgency to continued efforts to keep cases and hospitalizations down. The research, from both the United States and the United Kingdom, shows that when ICUs fill up, COVID-19 patients’ chances of dying from the disease rise dramatically — despite improvements in treatment and care developed since last spring.

March 19: “AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Vaccine Cleared by EU After Blood-Clot Concerns” by Daniel Michaels, The Wall Street Journal

The European Union’s health agency said the Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca PLC was “safe and effective” and didn’t increase the risk of blood clots, a decision that prompted several major bloc members to say they would resume inoculation campaigns. 

March 19: “COVID-19 Virus Reinfections Rare, But Riskiest After Age 65” by Damian McNamara, Medscape

The first large study of its kind reveals that SARS-CoV-2 reinfections remain rare, although people older than 65 are at higher risk. When researchers analyzed test results of 4 million people in Denmark, they found that less than 1% of those who tested positive experienced reinfection.

March 19: “Doctor Who Gave Expiring COVID Doses Still in Legal Limbo” by Marcia Frellick, Medscape

The Texas Medical Board has dropped its investigation of Hasan Gokal, MD, after finding insufficient evidence that he violated the Medical Practice Act when he gave vaccine doses to people outside the vaccination event he was leading, as the doses were about to expire. However, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg and prosecutor Kim Smith continue to pursue a criminal indictment from a grand jury against Gokal.

March 22: “AstraZeneca: US Data Shows Vaccine Effective for All Adults” by Maria Cheng and Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press

AstraZeneca reported Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine provided strong protection among adults of all ages in a long-anticipated U.S. study, a finding that could help rebuild public confidence in the shot around the world and move it a step closer to clearance in the U.S.

March 23: “U.S. Health Officials Raise Concerns Over AstraZeneca Vaccine Data” by Jenny Strasburg, Thomas M. Burton, and Joseph Walker, The Wall Street Journal

In an early-morning statement, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said it had been informed by the independent data-monitoring board working with AstraZeneca on the U.S. trials that the drug company might have used out-of-data information in its public disclosure of the vaccine’s effectiveness.

March 23: “AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine 79% Efficacious in Phase 3 Interim Results” by Damian McNamara, Medscape

AstraZeneca today announced interim results of their phase 3 US study, which indicate 79% overall efficacy of their vaccine against symptomatic COVID-19, 80% in people aged 65 years and older, and 100% efficacy against severe or critical disease and hospitalization. The vaccine’s efficacy was consistent with regard to ethnicity and age, according to the company.

March 23: “A Rapid COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Backfired in Some US States” by Carla K. Johnson and Nicky Forster, Associated Press

Despite the clamor to speed up the U.S. vaccination drive against COVID-19 and get the country back to normal, the first three months of the rollout suggest faster is not necessarily better. A surprising new analysis found that states such as South Carolina and Florida that raced ahead of others to offer the vaccine to ever-larger groups of people have vaccinated smaller shares of their population than those that moved more slowly and methodically, such as Hawaii and Connecticut.

March 24: “Variants of SARS-CoV-2 Variants Emerge in Brazil” by Brenda Goodman and Roxana Tabakman, Medscape

The unchecked spread of the more contagious SARS-CoV-2 variants in Brazil appears to have created even more dangerous versions of the virus that causes COVID-19. The changes are documented by a team of researchers from FIOCRUZ, a large public health research lab run by Brazil’s Ministry of Health.

March 24: “Brighter Outlook for US as Vaccinations Rise and Deaths Fall” by Julie Watson and Carla K. Johnson, Associated Press

More than three months into the U.S. vaccination drive, many of the numbers paint an increasingly encouraging picture, with 70% of Americans 65 and older receiving at least one dose of the vaccine and COVID-19 deaths dipping below 1,000 a day on average for the first time since November. Also, dozens of states have thrown open vaccinations to all adults or are planning to do so in a matter of weeks.

March 25: “India Cuts Back on Vaccine Exports as Infections Surge at Home” by Jeffrey Gettleman, Emily Schmall, and Mujib Mashal, The New York Times

With its own battle against the coronavirus taking a sharp turn for the worse, India has severely curtailed exports of Covid-19 vaccines, triggering setbacks for vaccination drives in many other countries.

March 25: “Pfizer and BioNTech to Begin Testing Covid-19 Vaccine in Children” by Matthew Herper, STAT News

Pfizer and BioNTech said Thursday they are beginning a study aimed at showing their Covid-19 vaccine can be used in children as young as 6 months. The study follows the launch of a separate and ongoing trial in children ages 12 to 15, which was fully enrolled in January.

March 26: “Women in 40s, 50s Who Survive COVID More Likely to Suffer Persistent Problems: UK Studies” by Kate Kelland, Medscape

Women in their 40s and 50s appear more at risk of long-term problems following discharge from hospital after COVID-19, with many suffering months of persistent symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness and brain fog, two UK studies found on Wednesday.

March 26: “Serbia Vaccinates Migrants Amid Surge in COVID-19 Cases” by Ivana Bzganovic, ABC News

Bashir Ahmad Shirzay lived through wars in Afghanistan, survived a harrowing journey to reach Europe and has no intention of taking a gamble with the coronavirus. He was among the first to roll up his sleeve for a COVID-19 shot on Friday as Serbia became the first European country to vaccinate people living in its refugee camps and asylum centers, according to United Nations officials.

March 29: “‘Strong Immune Response’ from One Dose of Pfizer Vaccine: Study” by Peter Russell, Medscape

People previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 showed higher antibody and T-cell responses after one dose of Pfizer’s BNT162b2 messenger (mRNA) vaccine compared with people who had a first dose without previously contracting the virus, according to research led by the universities of Sheffield and Oxford.

March 29: “Covid-19 Shots for Children Hold Key to Herd Immunity” by Brianna Abbott and Jason Douglas, The Wall Street Journal

Countries are racing to immunize adults against Covid-19 and move toward a more normal future. To achieve the vaccination rates that health authorities are aiming for, the shots must eventually reach the arms of children and teenagers, too.

March 29: “Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines Highly Effective After First Shot in Real-World Use,–U.S. Study” by Ankur Banerjee and Vishwadha Chander, Reuters

COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc with BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc reduced risk of infection by 80% two weeks or more after the first of two shots, according to data from a real-world U.S. study released on Monday. The risk of infection fell 90% by two weeks after the second shot, the study of nearly 4,000 U.S. healthcare personnel and first responders found.

March 29: “Support for Covid-19 Vaccine Passports Grows, with European, Chinese Backing” by Drew Hinshaw and Jason Douglas, The Wall Street Journal

Many international travelers will likely need to prove they are vaccinated or free of Covid-19 if they plan trips later this year, after the European Union and China both said they would move ahead with plans for “vaccine passports.”

March 29: “Scandal Over COVID Vaccine Trail at Peruvian Universities Prompts Outrage” by Luke Taylor, Nature

A clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccines in Peru has sparked outrage and triggered a series of high-profile resignations at universities and in government. Politicians, researchers and some of their family members who were not enrolled as trial participants nevertheless received vaccines — breaching standard protocols.

March 29: “‘I’m Empty.’ Pandemic Scientists Are Burning Out–And Don’t See an End in Sight” by Meredith Wadman, Science

From academic research centers to intensive care units (ICUs) to scientific journals to government agencies, scientists fighting the pandemic say they are hitting a wall, 16 months after the first report of a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China, introduced the virus that would upend their lives.

March 29: “More Than a Dozen States Open Vaccines to All Adults” by Michelle R. Smith and Terry Tang, Associated Press

More than a dozen states will open vaccine eligibility to all adults this week in a major expansion of COVID-19 shots for tens of millions of Americans amid a worrisome increase in virus cases and concerns about balancing supply and demand for the vaccines.

March 30: “Getting One Vaccine Is Good. How About Mix-and-Match?” by Carl Zimmer, The New York Times

In January, Britain made a change to its vaccine guidelines that shocked many health experts: If the second dose of one vaccine wasn’t available, patients could be given a different one. The new rule was based on sheer guesswork; there was no scientific data at the time demonstrating that mixing two coronavirus vaccines was safe and effective. But that may change soon.

March 30: “The Fourth Surge Is Upon Us. This Time, It’s Different.” By Zeynep Tufekci, The Atlantic

The United States has an advantage that countries such as Canada, France, Germany, and Italy, who are also experiencing surges from this variant, don’t. The Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines work very well against this variant, and the U.S. has been using them to vaccinate more than 3 million people a day.

March 31: “Canada’s Nursing Homes Have Worst Record for COVID-19 Deaths Among Wealthy Nations: Report” by Julie Ireton, CBC

Canada has the worst record for COVID-19 deaths in long-term care homes compared with other wealthy countries, according to a new report released on Tuesday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). The study found that the proportion of deaths in nursing homes represented 69 per cent of Canada’s overall COVID-19 deaths, which is significantly higher than the international average of 41 per cent.

March 31: “Pfizer Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine Protects Younger Teens” by Lauren Neergaard and Matthew Perrone, Associated Press

Pfizer announced Wednesday that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and strongly protective in kids as young as 12, a step toward possibly beginning shots in this age group before they head back to school in the fall.

March 31: “Dramatic Drop in Common Viruses Raises Question: Masks Forever?” by Blake Farmer, Kaiser Health News

A study released this month in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, led by researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, found that across 44 children’s hospitals the number of pediatric patients hospitalized for respiratory illnesses is down 62%. The number of kids in the U.S. who have died of the flu this season remains in the single digits.

March 31: “Covid-19 Was the Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S. in 2020, Federal Health Researchers Report.” by Roni Caryn Robin, The New York Times

Covid-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2020, displacing unintentional injuries and trailing only heart disease and cancer, federal health researchers reported on Wednesday. 

 

Return to Timeline

Posted by

Posted in Covid-19