COVID-19 Timeline: June 2022

December 28, 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 June 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.

June 1: “Omicron Is Outrunning the Vaccines Designed to Fight It” by Caitlin Owens, Axios

Efforts to update COVID vaccines can’t seem to keep up with changes in the virus itself. State of play: New variants appear to be even more immune-resistant than the original Omicron strain, raising the possibility that even retooled vaccines could be outdated by the time they become available this fall.

June 1: “South Africa Was Hit by a Wave of Coronavirus Infections, Despite Most People Having Antibodies” by Livia Albeck-Ripka, New York Times 

Coronavirus infections surged in South Africa in recent months despite research suggesting that about 98 percent of the population had some antibodies from vaccination, previous infection, or both.

June 1: “Covid-19 Can Leave You Infectious After Five or Even 10 Days” by Brianna Abbott, Wall Street Journal 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends five days from first symptoms or diagnosis as a minimum isolation period before infected people can return to public activities while maintaining certain precautions. Yet some people continue to test positive for the Covid-19 virus on rapid tests beyond those five days. Some even test positive after 10 days and after symptoms have resolved.

June 1: “WHO believes COVID ‘Getting Worse, Not Better’ in North Korea” by Maria Cheng, Associated Press 

At a press briefing on Wednesday, WHO’s emergencies chief Dr. Mike Ryan appealed to North Korean authorities for more information about the COVID-19 outbreak there, saying “we have real issues in getting access to the raw data and to the actual situation on the ground.”

June 1: “Shanghai Starts Coming Back to Life as COVID Lockdown Eases” by Emily Wang Fujiyama,  Associated Press 

Traffic, pedestrians and joggers reappeared on the streets of Shanghai on Wednesday [June 1] as China’s largest city began returning to normalcy amid the easing of a strict two-month COVID-19 lockdown that has drawn unusual protests over its heavy-handed implementation.

June 2: “COVID-Fatigued Health Workers Are Mobilizing” by Arielle Dreher, Axios 

Health care workers nationwide are organizing and pushing for workplace changes like better pay or more favorable staffing ratios after waves of pandemic-fueled burnout and frustration.

June 3: “Dogs Can Detect Covid with High Accuracy, Even Asymptomatic Cases” by Aria Bendix, NBC News 

A study published Wednesday [June 1] in the journal Plos One offers further evidence that dogs can indeed be trained to detect Covid. The dogs tested in the research accurately identified 97 percent of positive cases after sniffing human sweat samples. That made them more sensitive than some rapid antigen tests.

June 3: “FDA Scientists Say Novavax’s Covid-19 Vaccine Is Effective, But Also Raise Concerns” by Matthew Herper, STAT News 

Scientists at the Food and Drug Administration said the Covid-19 vaccine developed by the biotech Novavax was effective at preventing disease but questioned how effective it is against currently circulating strains — and raised concerns about the potential for a rare side effect.

June 6: “Beijing Relaxes Covid Measures as Fears of Another Outbreak Linger.” by John Liu, New York Times 

The Chinese capital relaxed pandemic rules at midnight on Monday, including a ban on dining in, after a partial lockdown that lasted more than a month.

June 7: “BA.4, BA.5 Variants Rise Among U.S. Covid-19 Cases” by Jon Kamp, Wall Street Journal 

Omicron Covid-19 variants BA.4 and BA.5 are on the rise in the U.S., adding two more highly contagious versions of the virus to the mix that has fueled a springtime surge in cases.

June 7: “U.S. Has Wasted More Than 82 Million COVID Vaccine Doses” by Ivana, Saric Axios 

Over 82 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines distributed across the country have gone to waste since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

June 8: “Moderna Says Updated COVID Shot Boosts Omicron Protection” by Lauren Neergaard, Associated Press 

Moderna’s preliminary study results show people given the combination shot experienced a higher boost in omicron-fighting antibodies than if they just got a fourth dose of the original vaccine.

June 9: “Virus Testing the New Normal as China Sticks to ‘Zero-COVID’” by Ken Moritsugu, Associated Press 

Thousands of coronavirus testing sites have popped up on sidewalks across Beijing and other Chinese cities in the latest development in the country’s “zero-COVID” strategy.

June 9: “WHO: COVID Origins Unclear But Lab Leak Theory Needs Study” by Maria Cheng and Jamey Keaten, Associated Press 

More than two years after coronavirus emerged in China and after at least 6.3 million deaths have been counted worldwide from the pandemic, the World Health Organization is recommending in its strongest terms yet that a deeper probe is required into whether a lab accident may be to blame.

June 9: “COVID and Smell Loss: Answers Begin to Emerge” by Michael Marshall, Nature 

Researchers are finally making headway in understanding how the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus causes loss of smell. And a multitude of potential treatments to tackle the condition are undergoing clinical trials, including steroids and blood plasma.

June 10: “A Negative COVID Test Has Never Been So Meaningless” The Atlantic 

Tests are not and never have been perfect, but since around the rise of Omicron, the problem of delayed positivity has gained some prominence.

June 10: “Coronavirus Infection During Pregnancy Linked to Brain Development Problems in Babies” by Sumeet Kulkarni, Los Angeles Times 

Babies whose mothers were infected with the coronavirus during pregnancy may face a higher risk of brain development disorders such as autism and bipolar disorder, a new study that examined more than 7,500 births suggests.

June 13: “Virus Cluster at Nightclub Sets Off New Beijing Clampdown” Associated Press 

China’s capital has put school back online in one of its major districts amid a new COVID-19 outbreak linked to a nightclub, while life has yet to return to normal in Shanghai despite the lifting of a more than two-month-long lockdown.

June 13: “US: Pfizer COVID-19 Shot Appears Effective for Kids Under 5” by Matthew Perrone and Mike Stobbe, Associated Press 

Federal health officials said Sunday that kid-sized doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines appear to be safe and effective for kids under 5, a key step toward a long-awaited decision to begin vaccinating the youngest American children.

June 14: “FDA Advisors Back Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine for Older Kids” by Mike Strobbe, Associated Press 

A government advisory panel Tuesday [June 14] endorsed a second brand of COVID-19 vaccine for school-age children and teens. The Food and Drug Administration’s outside experts voted unanimously that Moderna’s vaccine is safe and effective enough to give kids ages 6 to 17.

June 14: “Pfizer’s Paxlovid Study Fails to Answer Key Questions Over Benefit for Broader Populations” by Matthew Herper and Jason Mast, STAT News 

Pfizer said Tuesday that a much-watched study of its antiviral Paxlovid in patients who have Covid but don’t have risk factors for severe disease failed to show a benefit in speeding alleviation of Covid symptoms, but did seem to prevent doctor’s visits and hospitalizations.

June 15: “FDA Advisory Panel Votes Unanimously That Pfizer and Moderna Shots Be Authorized for Young Children” by Matthew Herper and Helen Branswell, STAT News 

A panel of advisers convened by the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously Wednesday [June 15] to recommend that the Covid vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna be made available to children as young as six months old.

June 16: “WHO: COVID-19 Deaths Rise, Reversing a 5-Week Decline” Associated Press 

In its weekly assessment of the pandemic issued on Thursday, the U.N. health agency said there were 8,700 COVID-19 deaths last week, with a 21% jump in the Americas and a 17% increase in the Western Pacific.

June 16: “N. Korea Reports Another Disease Outbreak Amid COVID-19 Wave” by Hyung-Jin Kim, Associated Press 

North Korea reported a new “epidemic” of an intestinal disease on Thursday, an unusual announcement from the secretive country that is already contending with a COVID-19 outbreak and severe economic turmoil.

June 17: “FDA Authorizes 1st COVID-19 Shots for Infants, Preschoolers” by Lindsey Tanner, Associated Press 

U.S. regulators on Friday authorized the first COVID-19 shots for infants and preschoolers, paving the way for vaccinations to begin next week. The Food and Drug Administration’s action follows its advisory panel’s unanimous recommendation for the shots from Moderna and Pfizer.

June 17: “Japan Has Fewest Covid-19 Deaths Per Capita in OECD, New Data Show” by Miho Inada, Wall Street Journal

Japan has the lowest number of Covid-19 deaths per capita among wealthy nations, according to new data, with health experts citing the country’s mask habit and low obesity rate as possible reasons.

June 17: “Omicron Poses About Half the Risk of Long COVID as Delta, New Research Finds” by Rob Stein, NPR 

The omicron variant is much less likely than delta to cause long COVID, according to the first large-scale study published about the long-term risks posed by omicron. But almost 5% of people who catch omicron still experience fatigue, brain fog, headaches, heart problems or other health issues at least a month after getting infected, the study found.

June 20: “Despite Another Covid Surge, Deaths Stay Near Lows” by Benjamin Mueller, New York Times 

Nearly three months since an ultra-contagious set of new Omicron variants launched a springtime resurgence of cases, people are nonetheless dying from Covid at a rate close to the lowest of the pandemic.

June 21: “Chinese Omicron Study Renews Debate Over ‘Zero Covid’ Policy” by Daisuke Wakabayashi, New York Times 

A new Chinese study about the relatively low risks associated with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has reignited discussion about whether the country’s aggressive response to Covid-19 cases is necessary.

June 24: “Covid-19 Vaccines Prevented Nearly 20 Million Deaths in a Year, Study Estimates” by Akila Muthukumar, STAT News 

Covid-19 vaccines cut the potential global death toll by more than half in the first year they were available, according to a study published Thursday [June 23] in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

June 27: “US Grapples with Whether to Modify COVID Vaccine for Fall” by Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press 

U.S. health authorities are facing a critical decision: whether to offer new COVID-19 booster shots this fall that are modified to better match recent changes of the shape-shifting coronavirus.

June 27: “China’s First mRNA Vaccine Is Close—Will That Solve Its COVID Woes?” by Yvaine Ye, Nature 

The experimental jab, called ArCoV, is a strong candidate to become China’s first approved mRNA vaccine. But what it would mean for the government’s handling of the pandemic is hard to know, say researchers.

June 27: “Pfizer Says Tweaked COVID-19 Shots Boost Omicron Protection” by Lauren Neergaard,  Associated Press 

Pfizer announced Saturday that tweaking its COVID-19 vaccine to better target the omicron variant is safe and works — just days before regulators debate whether to offer Americans updated booster shots this fall.

June 28: “FDA Advisors Recommend Updating COVID Booster Shots for Fall” by Lauran Neergaard and Matthew Perrone, Associated Press 

Some U.S. adults are a step closer to getting updated COVID-19 boosters this fall, as government advisers voted Tuesday [June 28] that it’s time to tweak shots to better match the most recent virus variants.

June 28: “The Omicron Subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 Have Together Become Dominant in the U.S., the C.D.C. Estimates” by Adeel Hassan, New York Times 

As of the week ending Saturday [June 25], BA.4 made up 15.7 percent of new cases, and BA.5 was 36.6 percent, accounting for about 52 percent of new cases in the United States, numbers that experts said should rise in the weeks to come.

June 29: “South Korea Approves First Homemade COVID-19 Vaccine” by Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated Press 

In clinical trials involving some 4,000 participants in South Korea and five other countries, SK Bioscience’s two-dose SKYCovione vaccine appeared to be more effective than the broadly used AstraZeneca shots in building immunity against infections, officials at South Korea’s Food and Drug Safety Ministry said.

June 29: “Doctors Treat First UK Patient in Covid ‘Super Donor’ Blood Trial”  by Ian Sample, The Guardian 

Doctors have treated the first UK patient in a reopened clinical trial that will explore whether blood plasma from “super donors” can help fight Covid in those with weakened immune systems.

June 30: “Tweaked COVID Boosters in US Must Target New Omicron Types” by Lauran Neergaard and Matthew Perrone, Associated Press 

U.S. regulators told COVID-19 vaccine makers Thursday that any booster shots tweaked for the fall will have to add protection against the newest omicron relatives.

 

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