COVID-19 Timeline: August 2021

June 2, 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 August 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.

August 1: “‘War Has Changed’: CDC Says Delta as Contagious as Chicken Pox” by Damian McNamara, Medscape

“Internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) documents support the high transmission rate of the Delta variant and put the risk in easier to understand terms. In addition, the agency released a new study that shows that breakthrough infections in the vaccinated make people about as contagious as those who are unvaccinated.”

August 1: “Florida Breaks Record for COVID-19 Hospitalizations” by Mike Schneider, Associated Press

“A day after it recorded the most new daily cases since the start of the pandemic, Florida on Sunday broke a previous record for current hospitalizations set more than a year ago before vaccines were available.”

August 2: “Covid-19 Vaccine Health Pass Fuels French Protests” by Sam Schechner, The Wall Street Journal

“French protesters took to the streets for the third consecutive Saturday to protest new restrictions on people unvaccinated against Covid-19, a growing movement that threatens to complicate the country’s coronavirus response.”

August 2: “US Hits 70% Vaccination Rate—A Month Late, Amid a Surge” by Mike Catalini, Associated Press

“The U.S. on Monday finally reached President Joe Biden’s goal of getting at least one COVID-19 shot into 70% of American adults — a month late and amid a fierce surge by the delta variant that is swamping hospitals and leading to new mask rules and mandatory vaccinations around the country.”

August 3: “NYC, Big Employers Taking Hard Line Against Vaccine Holdouts” by Mike Catalini and Karen Matthews, ABC News

“New York on Tuesday became the nation’s first big city to announce it will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination at restaurants, shows and gyms, joining the growing list of state and local governments and large employers taking a hard line against both the surging delta variant and vaccine holdouts.”

August 3: “Flawed Ivermectin Preprint Highlights Challenges of COVID Drug Studies” by Sara Reardon, Nature

“Throughout the pandemic, the anti-parasite drug ivermectin has attracted much attention, particularly in Latin America, as a potential way to treat COVID-19. But scientists say that recent, shocking revelations of widespread flaws in the data of a preprint study reporting that the medication greatly reduces COVID-19 deaths dampens ivermectin’s promise — and highlights the challenges of investigating drug efficacy during a pandemic.”

August 4: “Covid-19 Patients Overwhelm Busy Hospitals as Delta Variant Spreads” by Melanie Evans and Julie Wernau, The Wall Street Journal

“The latest wave of Covid-19 hospitalizations is crashing into patients returning for care for other ailments, overtaxing some facilities and exhausting their doctors and nurses.”

August 4: “Covid: WHO Calls for Booster Pause to Vaccinate Poorer Nations” BBC

“The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a suspension on booster vaccines for Covid-19 until at least the end of September.  WHO Chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a pause would allow for at least 10% of the population in every country to be vaccinated.”

August 5: “Novavax Seeks OK for COVID Vaccine in Needy Countries First” by Lauran Neergaard, ABC News

“Vaccine maker Novavax announced Thursday it has asked regulators in India, Indonesia and the Philippines to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine — offering its shot to some low-income countries before rich ones with ample supplies.”

August 6: “Masks Are Back, Maybe for the Long Term” by Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic

“These accessories were meant to be deployed until something better came along, and the most unpalatable aspect of the CDC’s new mask ask might be the uncertainty it comes with. This time, there’s no well-signed off-ramp. The vaccines are already here; they’ve already been made available to most Americans. We hit the milestones we laid out and still feel stuck.”

August 6: “South Africa Trial Shows J&J Vaccine Effective Against Delta Variant” by Natalie Prieb, The Hill

“Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine is effective at preventing severe disease among those infected with the delta variant, according to a large-scale trial in South Africa.”

August 6: “China Pledges 2 Billion Vaccines Globally Through Year’s End” by Huizhong Wu, Associated Press

“A pledge by China to supply 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to other countries this year expands the commitments made by a nation that is already the largest exporter of the shots by far.”

August 9: “The U.S. Is Now Averaging 100,000 New COVID-19 Infections a Day” NPR

“The U.S. is now averaging 100,000 new COVID-19 infections a day, returning to a milestone last seen during the winter surge in yet another bleak reminder of how quickly the delta variant has spread through the country.”

August 9: “Clarity on COVID Count: Pandemic’s Toll on Seniors Extended Well Beyond Nursing Homes” by Judith Graham, Medscape

“Older adults living in their own homes and apartments had a significantly heightened risk of dying from covid last year — more than previously understood, it shows.”

August 9: “Report: FDA to Unveil Booster Dose Strategy by Early September” by Ed Cara, Gizmodo

“U.S. health officials are reportedly getting close to issuing a verdict on the immediate need for booster vaccines against covid-19.”

August 9: “Remember Beta? New Data Reveal Variant’s Deadly Powers” by Ewen Callaway, NPR

“People infected with the Beta coronavirus variant are more likely to need critical care and to die than are people infected with other variants.”

August 10: “Fake COVID-19 Vaccination Cards Worry College Officials” by Roselyn Romero, Associated Press

“As the delta variant of the coronavirus sweeps across the United States, a growing number of colleges and universities are requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for students to attend in-person classes. But the new mandate has opened the door for those opposed to getting the vaccine to cheat the system, according to interviews with students, education and law enforcement officials.”

August 10: “Hospitals Run Low on Nurses as They Get Swamped with COVID” by TERRY SPENCER, JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER and ANDREW SELSKY, Associated Press

“The rapidly escalating surge in COVID-19 infections across the U.S. has caused a shortage of nurses and other front-line staff in virus hotspots that can no longer keep up with the flood of unvaccinated patients and are losing workers to burnout and lucrative out-of-state temporary gigs.”

August 10: “U.S. to Ship 8.5 Million Vaccine Doses to Mexico as COVID Cases Surge” by Yacob Reyes, Axios

“The United States will send 8.5 million more doses of the coronavirus vaccine to Mexico as the country experiences a third wave of infections, AP reports.”

August 11: “Texas Hospitals Are Near Capacity as Covid-19 Surges Again” by Elizabeth Findell, The Wall Street Journal

“Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday asked hospitals to delay elective medical procedures, as rising Covid-19 cases bring hospitals in many parts of the nation’s second-largest state to capacity.”

August 11: “Fresh U.K. Covid-19 Data Boosts Hopes That Delta Variant Can Be Held in Check” by Jason Douglas and Karina Shah, The Wall Street Journal

“The latest surge of Covid-19 cases in the U.K. is giving rise to growing optimism among doctors and scientists that the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus can be held at bay with high levels of vaccination and public caution.”

August 11: “Ambulances Wait Outside Hospitals as COVID Infections Spread” by Kelli Kennedy and Adriana Gomez Licon, Associated Press, posted on Medscape

“COVID-19 cases have filled so many Florida hospital beds that ambulance services and fire departments are straining to respond to emergencies.”

August 12: “Covid-19 Vaccine Scammers Target Authorities in Dozens of Countries Including Italy and Columbia” by Jared S. Hopkins, Kim Mackrael and Giovanni Legorano, The Wall Street Journal

“Criminal organizations and individuals claiming access to Covid-19 vaccines have contacted authorities in dozens of countries hoping they will sign illegitimate contracts for millions of dollars, according to documents and people familiar with the attempts.”

August 12: “How Do Vaccinated People Spread Delta? What the Science Says” by Nidhi Subbaraman, Nature

“When early field data showed that vaccinating people cuts transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, researchers were cautiously optimistic. But they warned that many of those studies, although promising, took place before the fast-spreading Delta variant proliferated worldwide.”

August 13: “CDC: More Than 1 Million Have Received Unauthorized Third Dose” by Carolyn Crist, Medscape

“The number includes people who received the two-shot Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and then received another dose, but it doesn’t count people who may have received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and then received a second dose of either Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.”

August 13: “FDA Authorizes Covid-19 Boosters for Certain Immunocompromised” by Felicia Schwartz and Stephanie Armour, The Wall Street Journal

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized booster shots for certain people with weakened immune systems, likely the launch of broader efforts to better protect against evasive variants like Delta.”

August 13: “Do Mandatory Vaccines Violate Human Rights” by Sarah Todd, Quartz

“One of the most common arguments raised by dissenters is that vaccine mandates infringe upon unvaccinated people’s human rights and civil liberties.”

August 16: “New Covid-19 Hospitalizations for 30- to 39-Year-Olds at Record Rate” by Melanie Evans and Taylor Umlauf, The Wall Street Journal

“Hospitalizations of Covid-19 patients in their 30s have hit a new record, U.S. government data show, a sign of the toll that the highly contagious Delta variant is taking among the unvaccinated.”

August 16: “More Than 25% of Kids with COVID-19 Spread It to Others in Household, Study Finds” by Brian P. Dunleavy, UPI

“One in four children with COVID-19 spreads the disease to other members of their households, with the highest risk for virus transmission among infants, a study published Monday by JAMA Pediatrics found.”

August 16: “Rich Nations Dip into COVAX Supply While Poor Wait for Shots” by Maria Cheng and Lori Hinnant, Associated Press

“An international system to share coronavirus vaccines was supposed to guarantee that low and middle-income countries could get doses without being last in line and at the mercy of unreliable donations. It hasn’t worked out that way.”

August 16: “The Newest Disease Detection Tool for Covid and Beyond: Poop” by Anna Maria Barry-Jester, Kaiser Health News

“Since reopening campus at the University of California-San Diego last summer, university officials have relied on the tried-and-true public health strategies of testing and contact tracing. But they have also added a new tool to their arsenal: excrement.”

August 17: “Forget Beating Covid-19. Europe Is Preparing to Live with It.” by Jason Douglas and Eric Sylvers, The Wall Street Journal

“The battle against Covid-19 is shifting into long-term, low-intensity mode in Europe, as countries including Germany, Italy and France go from seeking to end the pandemic to preparing to live with it.”

August 17: “U.S. to Advise Boosters for Most Americans 8 Months After Vaccination” by Sharon LaFraniere, The New York Times

“The Biden administration has decided that most Americans should get a coronavirus booster vaccination eight months after they received their second shot, and could begin offering third shots as early as mid-September, according to administration officials familiar with the discussions.”

August 17: “US Pediatric Hospitals in Peril as Delta Hits Children” by Brenda Goodman, Medscape

“Roughly 1800 kids were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United States last week, a 500% increase in the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations for children since early July, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

August 17: “As Vaccines Wane, Immune System Still Has Weapons Against Delta” by Damian McNamara, Medscape

“More recent studies — but not all — show waning effectiveness of the mRNA vaccines to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection, especially with high levels of the Delta variant going around. At the same time, the vaccines continue to offer robust protection against severe COVID-19 outcomes.”

August 17: “Texas Adding Five Mortuary Trailers as COVID-19 Cases Rise” by Celine Castronuovo, The Hill

“The federal government is working to fulfill a request from Texas for five mobile mortuary trailers as state health officials expect the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths to rise amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.”

August 17: “Pfizer Submits Initial Data for COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Authorization” Reuters, posted on Medscape

“Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE have submitted to U.S. regulators the initial data from an early-stage trial toward seeking authorization of a booster dose of their COVID-19 vaccine, the drugmakers said on Monday.”

August 18: “US COVID-19 Cases Back to Pre-Vaccination Levels” by Carolyn Crist, Medscape

“For the first time since early February, the U.S. reported more than 900,000 COVID-19 cases last week, rising back to pre-vaccination levels, according to USA Today. The U.S. now represents 20% of the COVID-19 cases being reported globally.”

August 18: “WHO Condemns Rush by Wealthy Nations to Give Covid Vaccine Booster” The Guardian

“The World Health Organization has condemned the rush by wealthy countries to provide Covid-19 vaccine booster shots while millions of people around the world have yet to receive a single dose.”

August 18: “In a Handful of States, Early Data Hint at a Rise in Breakthrough Infections” by Apoorva Mandavilli, The New York Times

“Breakthrough infections in vaccinated people accounted for at least one in five newly diagnosed cases in six of these states and higher percentages of total hospitalizations and deaths than had been previously observed in all of them, according to figures gathered by The New York Times.”

August 19: “Pfizer’s Covid-19 Booster Shot Improves Immunity, Israeli Study Suggests” by Dov Lieber, The Wall Street Journal

“Early data from Israel suggests a booster shot of Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine can significantly improve immunity in those aged 60 and above, as the U.S. and other countries plan additional doses to increase protection against the highly infectious Delta variant.”

August 19: “’It’s Soul-Draining’: Health Workers Deployed to Covid Hot Zones Are Overwhelmed by Death Among the Unvaccinated” by Lev Facher, STAT News

“STAT’s rare access to a Covid-19 intensive care ward, a glimpse inside a hospital under siege, highlights the devastation being wrought not only on patients, but also on health workers.”

August 20: “The Health Case for Getting Kids Back to School in Person” by Drew Altman, Axios

“Parents are much more likely to report their kids are experiencing negative effects if they are going to school virtually during the pandemic than if they attend school in person.”

August 20: “With No Beds, Hospitals Ship Patients to Far-Off Cities” by Heather Hollingsworth and Jim Salter, Associated Press

“Many overwhelmed hospitals, with no beds to offer, are putting critically ill COVID-19 patients on planes, helicopters and ambulances and sending them hundreds of miles to far-flung states for treatment.”

August 20: “WHO Issues Call for Experts to Help with COVID Origins Probe” ABC News

“The World Health Organization has issued a call for experts to join a new advisory group it’s forming, in part to address the agency’s fraught attempts to investigate how the coronavirus pandemic started.”

August 23: “US Regulators Give Full Approval to Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine” by Lauren Neergaard and Mathew Perrone, Associated Press

“The U.S. gave full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine Monday [August 23], potentially boosting public confidence in the shots and instantly opening the way for more universities, companies and local governments to make vaccinations mandatory.”

August 23: “India Approves World’s First DNA-Based COVID-19 Vaccine” by Oriana Gonzalez, Axios

“India’s drug regulator on Friday granted emergency approval to the world’s first DNA-based coronavirus vaccine.”

August 24: “Unvaccinated 29 Times More Likely to Be Hospitalized with COVID-19, CDC Study Says” by Marisa Fernandez, Axios

“Infection and hospitalization rates in late July were five and 29 times higher respectively among unvaccinated people in Los Angeles County than the fully vaccinated, according to a new report out Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

August 24: “Many School Districts Keep Covid-19 Closure Thresholds Flexible” by Ben Chapman, Lee Hawkins and Yoree Koh, The Wall Street Journal

“As districts around the country reopen amid rising cases and hospitalizations, many haven’t developed formal contingency plans that lay out what it will take for them to close a school or quarantine students.”

August 24: “As Delta Spread, Covid-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Against Infection Fell from 90% to 66% in One Key Study” by Andrew Joseph, STAT News

“The effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines at preventing infection fell in one study of U.S. frontline workers from roughly 90% to 66% as the Delta variant emerged and became dominant in the country, an updated report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Tuesday indicated.”

August 25: “J&J Says Covid-19 Booster Prompts Strong Immune Response” by Felicia Schwartz, The Wall Street Journal

“Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday that a second dose of its Covid-19 vaccine was found in a study to generate a strong immune response, justifying a booster shot.”

August 25: “Taiwan to Get BioNTech Shots Early as China Delays Approval-Source” by Yimou Lee, Reuters

“Taiwan could get its first delivery of BioNTech SE’s COVID-19 vaccines one month ahead of schedule as a delay in regulatory approval of the shot for use in mainland China made a surplus available for the island, a source told Reuters.”

August 25: “New U.S. Intelligence Report Doesn’t Provide Definitive Conclusion on Covid-19 Origins” by Michael R. Gordon and Warren P. Strobel, The Wall Street Journal

“A new assessment by U.S. spy agencies of the origins of Covid-19 that was delivered to the White House Tuesday didn’t yield a definitive conclusion on whether the new coronavirus jumped to humans naturally, or via a lab leak, in part because of the lack of detailed information from China, two senior U.S. officials said.”

August 26: “New NY Governor Adds 12,000 Deaths to Publicized COVID Tally” by Marina Villeneuve, Associated Press

“Delivering another blow to what’s left of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s legacy, New York’s new governor acknowledged on her first day in office that the state has had nearly 12,000 more deaths from COVID-19 than Cuomo told the public.”

August 27: “CDC Alerts Doctors After Sharp Increase in Ivermectin Use for COVID” by Brenda Goodman, Medscape

“The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning physicians to be on the lookout for cases of ivermectin overdose, as people increasingly self-prescribe the drug in an effort to prevent or treat COVID-19.”

August 27: “As Hospitals Fill, More Ambulances Forced to Wait” by Marisa Fernandez, Axios

“It’s not just the hospitals feeling pressure from the Delta wave — this time around, local ambulance companies are overwhelmed, too. Why it matters: Across the U.S., wait times for EMS have skyrocketed.”

August 27: “AP Source: COVID Vaccination Site Opens at Dulles for Arriving Afghans” by Aamer Madhani, Associated Press

“The U.S. government has opened a mass COVID-19 vaccination site for arriving Afghans near Dulles International Airport, where thousands fleeing the Taliban are now arriving daily, a senior administration official said Friday.”

August 27: “Moderna Completes Submission for Full FDA Approval of Covid-19 Vaccine; Pfizer Seeks Approval for Booster Dose” by Jamie Gumbrect and Jen Christensen, CNN

“Moderna said it has requested priority review from the FDA. The company began submitting data for its Biologics License Application, or BLA, to the FDA in June.”

August 30: “Long COVID Symptoms Can Persist for More Than 1 Year, Study Shows” by Megan Brooks, Medscape

“Nearly one half of people who are hospitalized with COVID-19 suffer at least one lingering symptom 1 year after discharge, according to the largest study yet to assess the dynamic recovery of a group of COVID-19 survivors 12 months after the illness.”

August 30: “U.S. Covid-19 Hospitalizations Approach a Peak as Delta Variant Spreads” by Melanie Evans, Andrew Mollica, Anthony DeBarros and Jon Kamp, The Wall Street Journal

“Covid-19 hospitalizations nationwide crossed above 100,000 this week for the second time in the pandemic, overwhelming caregiver capacity in several states. Keeping ahead of demand is harder now than during earlier surges, according to doctors, nurses and hospital executives.”

August 30: “Immune Response to COVID-19 Vaccines Declines After Two Months, Study Finds” by Brian P. Dunleavy, UPI

“Antibody levels drop by 20% two months after receipt of the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in adults previously infected with the virus, a study published Monday by Scientific Reports found.”

August 30: “Ida Slams Louisiana Hospitals Brimming with Virus Patients” by Rebecca Santana and Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press

“Ida struck as hospitals and their intensive care units were filled with patients from the fourth surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, sparked by the highly contagious delta variant and low vaccination rates across Louisiana.”

August 30: “Sinopharm Covid Vaccine Seen as Less Effective in Bahrain Study” by Stephen Kalin, The Wall Street Journal

“The Covid-19 vaccine made by China’s Sinopharm was less effective than others at preventing infection, hospitalization and death, especially among people over 50, according to a study by the kingdom of Bahrain and Columbia University researchers.”

August 31: “CDC Panel Unanimously Backs Pfizer Vax, Fortifying FDA Approval” by Brenda Goodman, Medscape

“An independent expert panel within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has studied the potential benefits and risks of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and voted unanimously to recommend the shots for all Americans ages 16 and older.”

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