COVID-19 Timeline: April 2022

October 4, 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 highlight news from April 2022 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.

Apr 1: “Shanghai Hospital Harbors Unreported Covid-19 Outbreaks, Deaths” by Wenxin Fan, Wall Street Journal

Many patients have died in recent days at a large Shanghai elderly-care hospital that is battling a Covid-19 outbreak, according to people familiar with the situation, a sign that a new wave of infections is hitting China’s financial capital harder than authorities have publicly disclosed.

Apr 1: “’Recognition of Failure’: A Shift Urged in Global Vaccination Strategy” by Daniel Payne and Erin Banco, Politico

Global health organizations are considering changing their Covid-19 vaccination pledges — a move that could leave millions of people without first shots as countries reprioritize at-risk groups in the coming months, according to four people familiar with the matter.

April 4: “Shanghai Extends Lockdown as City Tests Its 25 Million Residents for Covid” by Wenxin Fan, Wall Street Journal

Shanghai extended lockdown measures as it concluded a day of testing of all 25 million of its residents for Covid-19 Monday [April 4], aided by thousands of medical workers who arrived over the weekend from across the country.

April 4: “New Laws Let Visitors See Loved Ones in Health Care Facilities, Even in an Outbreak” by Stephanie Colombini, NPR

Hospitals and long-term care facilities set pandemic restrictions on visitors to protect patients and staffers from infection. But supporters of these news laws say they want to ease the restrictions because the rules may have harmed patients.

April 4: “U.S. Nursing Home Deaths Appear to Be at Pandemic Lows.” by Reed Abelson, New York Times

Deaths at American nursing home residents from Covid appear to be at their lowest levels since the coronavirus first swept the United States more than two years ago, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

April 6: “Omicron BA.2 Variant Pressures Parts of U.S.” by Jon Kamp and Brianna Abbott, Wall Street Journal

The Omicron BA.2 variant is increasing its share of U.S. cases and putting particular pressure on parts of the Northeast, where wastewater readings and Covid-19 cases have ticked upward again from low levels.

April 6: “The F.D.A. Suspends Use of a Glaxo Antibody Drug in the U.S. as an Omicron Subvariant Spreads.” by Adeel Hassan, New York Times

Federal regulators said they were suspending use of a monoclonal antibody drug known as sotrovimab to treat high-risk Covid-19 patients in the United States because it was unlikely to be effective against the Omicron subvariant known as BA.2.

April 7: “Betrayal, Guilt, Shame: Trauma Among Health Care Workers Comparable to That of Combat Vet” by Erika Edwards, NBC News

In a study published Tuesday in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers reported that the levels of mental health distress felt by doctors, nurses, first responders and other health care personnel early in the pandemic were comparable to what’s seen in soldiers who served in combat zones.

April 7: “Shanghai Residents Plead for Help Online as Daily Covid-19 Count Nears 20,000” by Liyan Qi, Wall Street Journal

Nearly a week into a citywide lockdown to combat a Covid-19 outbreak, many of Shanghai’s 25 million residents turned to social media for help to get food, medicine or, if they are taken away for quarantine, advice on what to do with their pets.

April 7: “Up to 65% of Africans Have Had COVID, Far More Than Thought” Associated Press

The World Health Organization said that up to 65% of people in Africa have been infected with the coronavirus and estimates the number of actual cases may have been nearly 100 times more than those reported.

April 8: “New Crop of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines Could Be Easier to Store, Cheaper to Use” by Jon Cohen, Science

More than a dozen new mRNA vaccines from 10 countries are now advancing in clinical studies, including one from China that’s already in a phase 3 trial. Some are easier to store, and many would be cheaper.

April 11: “Nursing Homes Face Growing Number of Lawsuits from Covid-19 Fallout” by Jacob Gershman, Wall Street Journal

The surge of suits, spurred by a repeal of liability protections and statutory deadlines to file the suits, largely accuses nursing homes of failing to properly curb the spread of disease, identify infected residents and treat their illnesses.

April 11: “New Drug Slashed Deaths Among Patients with Severe Covid, Maker Claims” by Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times

The new drug, sabizabulin, reduced deaths among hospitalized Covid-19 patients so drastically in a clinical trial that independent safety monitors recommended stopping it early, officials at Veru Inc., the drug’s maker, said. The trial was halted on Friday.

April 12: “Covid-19 Vaccines Carry Low Risk of Heart Conditions, Studies Find” by Peter Loftus and Renee Onque, Wall Street Journal

The risk of developing inflammatory heart conditions after Covid-19 vaccination is relatively low, two large studies found, especially when compared with the heart-related risks from Covid-19 disease itself and from vaccines against other diseases.

April 12: “WHO Says It Is Analyzing Two New Omicron COVID Sub-Variants” by Jennifer Rigby, Reuters

The World Health Organization said on Monday it is tracking a few dozen cases of two new sub-variants of the highly transmissible Omicron strain of the coronavirus to assess whether they are more infectious or dangerous. It has added BA.4 and BA.5, sister variants of the original BA.1 Omicron variant, to its list for monitoring.

April 13: “The Final Pandemic Betrayal” The Atlantic

Under normal circumstances, 10 percent of bereaved people would be expected to develop prolonged grief, which is unusually intense, incapacitating, and persistent. But for COVID grievers, that proportion may be even higher, because the pandemic has ticked off many risk factors. Deaths from COVID have been unexpected, untimely, particularly painful, and, in many cases, preventable.

April 14: “Shanghai Cases Hit Record as Xi Reiterates Urgency of COVID Curbs” by David Kirton, Reuters,

Shanghai is battling China’s worst COVID-19 outbreak since the virus first emerged in Wuhan in late 2019, with its 25 million residents remaining largely under lockdown, though restrictions were partially eased in some areas this week.

April 14: “Pfizer to Seek COVID Booster for Healthy 5- to 11-Year-Olds” by Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press

Pfizer said Thursday [April 14] it wants to expand its COVID-19 booster shots to healthy elementary-age kids. U.S. health authorities already urge everyone 12 and older to get one booster dose for the best protection against the newest variants — and recently gave the option of a second booster to those 50 and older. Now Pfizer says new data shows healthy 5- to 11-year-olds could benefit from another kid-sized shot.

April 14: “2 New Omicron Variants Are Spreading in N.Y. and Elsewhere. Here’s What We Know” by Michaeleen Doucleff, NPR

Known as BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1, the variants are closely related to the BA.2 variant – a version of omicron that has caused surges across Europe and is now dominant across the U.S. Together the two new variants now comprise 90% of cases in central New York.

April 15: “BA.2 Cases Rise, But Few Signs of a Covid-19 Surge So Far” by Jon Kamp and Brianna Abbott, Wall Street Journal

The Omicron BA.2 variant has dominated new infections in the U.S. for weeks without setting off a major surge so far, raising hopes among some public-health experts that the nation might dodge a more significant hit. BA.2 is in particular affecting the Northeast, where virus concentrations in wastewater are rising alongside reported infections in such places as New York, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

April 15: “Anti-Virus Shutdowns in China Spread as Infections Rise” by Joe McDonald, Associated Press

Shanghai is easing rules that confined most of its 25 million people to their homes after complaints they had trouble getting food. But most of its businesses still are closed. Access to Guangzhou, an industrial center of 19 million people near Hong Kong, was suspended this week. Other cities are cutting off access or closing factories and schools.

April 15: “WHO: COVID Cases, Deaths in Africa Drop to Lowest Levels Yet” Associated Press

The number of coronavirus cases and deaths in Africa have dropped to their lowest levels since the pandemic began, marking the longest decline yet seen in the disease, according to the World Health Organization.

April 15: “India’s Drug Regulator Has Ignored Red Alerts on Covaxin, Imperiling Millions of Lives” by Dinesh Thakur, STAT News

In a shocking turn of events, the World Health Organization warned United Nations agencies against procuring Covaxin, India’s indigenously developed and manufactured Covid-19 vaccine, just five months after granting approval to the made-in-India vaccine.

April 15: “Valneva Covid Vaccine Approved for Use in UK” BBC

A new Covid vaccine has been approved for use in the UK by regulators. It is manufactured by Valneva, using more traditional technology – similar to how polio and flu shots are made.

April 18: “BA.2 Proves the Pandemic Isn’t Over, But People Are Over It” by Alex Janin, Wall Street Journal

BA.2 is spreading in the U.S., although few want to talk about it. The Omicron subvariant is contributing to school and work absences, yet two years of dealing with Covid-19 have made people tired of taking precautions, getting tested and asking about other people’s status, say physicians, psychologists and behavioral scientists.

April 18: “Officials Adopt New Message on Covid-19 Behaviors: It’s Your Call” by Jared S. Hopkins, Wall Street Journal

In the latest phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, federal and local officials are telling people to decide for themselves how best to protect against the virus. Health officials are leaving it up to people to assess if they need booster shots, whether to wear a mask and how long to isolate after a positive test.

April 19: “Moderna Announces Step Toward Updating COVID Shots for Fall” by Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press

Moderna hopes to offer updated COVID-19 boosters in the fall that combine its original vaccine with protection against the omicron variant. On Tuesday [April 19], it reported a preliminary hint that such an approach might work.

April 20: “A Year On, We Still Don’t Know the Real Impact of India’s Second Covid Wave” by Manavi Kapur, Quartz

India lost a large number of people to the covid-19 pandemic. Just how large depends on what estimate one reads. And those estimates, such as the Indian ministry of health’s or the World Health Organization’s (WHO), can differ from each other by a couple of millions.

April 20: “Shanghai Allows 4 Million Out of Homes as Virus Rules Ease” by Joe McDonald, Associated Press

Shanghai allowed 4 million more people out of their homes Wednesday [April 20] as anti-virus controls that shut down China’s biggest city eased, while the International Monetary Fund cut its forecast of Chinese economic growth and warned the global flow of industrial goods might be disrupted.

April 21: “Should People Wait Until the Fall for a Second Booster? CDC Panel Weighs In” by Erika Edwards, NBC News

Just weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a second Covid-19 booster dose for people ages 50 and above, independent advisers to the agency are seeking to clear up confusion over which people in that age group may truly need that shot now and who could possibly wait until the fall for another dose.

April 21: “Surprisingly Low Shanghai COVID Death Count Spurs Questions” by Huizhong Wu and Dake Kang, Associated Press

An Associated Press examination of the death toll sheds light on how the numbers have been clouded by the way Chinese health authorities tally COVID-19 statistics, applying a much narrower, less transparent, and at times inconsistent standard than the rest of the world.

April 22: “New Details of Shanghai Nursing Home Covid Deaths Suggest City Is Overwhelmed” by Wenxin Fan, Wall Street Journal

A Wall Street Journal reconstruction of the Donghai hospital outbreak provides a more complete picture of the suffering in China’s financial capital, with at least 40 deaths of Donghai residents alone as of April 6. The deaths came after Covid spread through the hospital, sickening hundreds of patients and staff, according to more than a dozen patient families and health workers, WeChat messages and hospital documents.

April 22: “UK Patient Had COVID-19 for 505 Days Straight, Study Shows” by Laura Ungar, Associated Press

A U.K. patient with a severely weakened immune system had COVID-19 for almost a year and a half, scientists reported, underscoring the importance of protecting vulnerable people from the coronavirus.

April 25: “Covid-19 Cases Jump in Beijing as New Deaths Triple in Shanghai” by Wenxin Fan, Wall Street Journal

Beijing said it is at a critical point in its efforts to halt a Covid-19 outbreak in the city, as new cases spread from school students and a tour group, while deaths in Shanghai more than tripled from a day earlier.

April 25: “Majority of Family Members of Covid Patients Treated in the ICU Reported PTSD Symptoms” by Azma Hasina Mulundika, STAT News

A majority of family members of Covid-19 patients treated in ICUs reported significant symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in the following months, according to a study published Monday that sheds new light on the impact of hospital visitation restrictions during the pandemic.

April 26: “CDC Estimates 3 in 4 Kids Have Had Coronavirus Infections” by Mike Strobbe, Associated Press

They found that signs of past infection rose dramatically between December and February, when the more contagious omicron variant surged through the U.S. The most striking increase was in children. The percentage of those 17 and under with antibodies rose from about 45% in December to about 75% in February.

April 26: “Experts Fear U.S. May Default to Annual Covid Boosters Without Sufficient Data” by Helen Branswell, STAT News

A number of vaccine experts are concerned the United States may be sleepwalking into a policy of recommending annual Covid-19 vaccine boosters — without having generated the evidence to show they are actually needed.

April 26: “Study: Guillian-Barre Risk with COVID-19 Vaccines Low, But Higher with J&J Shot” by Brian P. Dunleavy, UPI

The risk for developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a condition that causes severe muscle weakness, after receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine is small, but higher with the Johnson & Johnson shot, according to a study published Tuesday [April 26].

April 26: “FDA Approves First COVID Treatment for Children Under 12” by Shawna Chen, Axios

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday said it expanded the approval of the COVID-19 treatment Veklury, also known as remdesivir, for children 28 days and older.

April 27: “Court says UK’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Policy Was Illegal” by Jill Lawless, Associated Press

A British court ruled Wednesday [April 27] that the Conservative government acted illegally when it discharged hospital patients into nursing homes without testing them for COVID-19 or isolating them — a policy that led to thousands of deaths early in the pandemic.

April 28: “South Africa’s Latest COVID Surge Blamed on Omicron Mutant” by Andrew Meldrum and Laura Ungar, Associated Press

Cases had been dropping in the country since February. But a new omicron subvariant that scientists call BA.4 began pushing up cases last week and they have risen rapidly since, said Salim Abdool Karim, who previously advised the government on its COVID-19 response.

April 28: “Moderna Seeks to Be 1st with COVID Shot for Littlest Kids” by Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press

Moderna is seeking to be the first to offer COVID-19 vaccine for the youngest American children, as it asked the Food and Drug Administration Thursday [April 28] to clear low-dose shots for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

 

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