COVID-19 Timeline: November 2022

January 5, 2023

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 November 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.

Nov 2: “SARS-CoV-2 Disruption of the Microbiome Increases Risk of Other Infections” Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

COVID-19 is associated with severe microbiome injury characterized by loss of diversity and anaerobe taxa. Lastly, through sequencing data from the stool samples and blood cultures, they found that gut dysbiosis in COVID-19 patients is associated with secondary bloodstream infections by gut bacteria.

Nov 4: “Pfizer, BioNTech Report New Covid Booster Is More Protective Against Recent Omicron Variants Than Original Vaccine” by Helen Branswell, STAT News

The companies said the levels of neutralizing antibodies that target the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus were four-fold higher in people aged 55 and older who received the bivalent booster than in similarly aged people who received a monovalent booster.

Nov 4: “When Covid-19, Flu and RSV Meet. The Potential for a Tripledemic.” by Brianna Abbott, Wall Street Journal

Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are simmering at a sustained level, with new Omicron subvariants and the coming holiday season threatening to drive them higher. Other viruses including influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, are surging earlier than usual, after two years of unusually low or sporadic transmission.

Nov 7: “A U.S. Research Station in Antarctica Is Stopping Travel After Covid-19 Outbreak” by Joseph De Avila, Wall Street Journal

The National Science Foundation is shutting down travel to McMurdo Station in Antarctica after nearly 10% of the population tested positive for Covid-19.

Nov 7: “Study: Myocarditis Risk 2 to 3 Times Higher from Moderna Than Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine” by Judy Packer-Tursman, UPI

The incidence of myocarditis — inflammation of the heart muscle — is two- to threefold higher after a second dose of the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine than the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, a study released Monday [November 7] says. But Moderna tells UPI the benefits of its vaccine “significantly outweigh” the risks.

Nov 9: “Virus Lockdowns Hit China Economic Powerhouse Guangzhou” Associated Press

A surge in COVID-19 cases has spurred lockdowns in the southern Chinese manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, adding to financial pressure that has disrupted global supply chains and sharply slowed growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

Nov 9: “WHO Reports 90% Drop in World COVID-19 Deaths Since February” by Jamey Keaten, Associated Press

The World Health Organization chief on Wednesday [November 9] said a nearly 90% drop in recent COVID-19 deaths globally compared to nine months ago provides “cause for optimism,” but still urged vigilance against the pandemic as variants continue to crop up.

Nov 10: “Masks Cut Covid Spread in Schools, Study Finds” by Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times

Researchers took that opportunity to make a direct comparison of the spread of Covid in masking and non-masking schools. The bottom line: Masking mandates were linked with significantly reduced numbers of Covid cases in schools.

Nov 16: “Who Is Dying from COVID Now, and Why” by Melody Schreiber, Scientific American

Older people were always especially vulnerable and now make up a higher proportion of COVID fatalities than ever before in the pandemic. While the total number of COVID deaths has fallen, the burden of mortality is shifting even more to people older than age 64.

Nov 16: “’A Very Worrying Scenario’: Internal Documents on India Covid-19 Vaccine Raise Troubling Questions about Approval Process” by Ed Silverman, STAT News

The shot engineered by Bharat Biotech was, in part, an important effort to create a home-grown product that could bolster the fortunes of the Indian pharmaceutical industry. However, a STAT review of documents detailing the steps taken toward government approval found that regulators endorsed the vaccine, called Covaxin, despite discrepancies in the number of clinical trial participants. Moreover, questionable changes were made to the trial protocols — which are established procedures for testing a vaccine or medicine — to expedite the approval process.

Nov 16: “Hospitalized or Not, COVID Symptoms Persist in Many After 2 Years” by Ingrid Hein, MedPage Today

Over half of patients were still experiencing at least one post-COVID-19 symptom 2 years after acute infection, whether they had been hospitalized or not, a cross-sectional cohort study showed.

Nov 17: “Africa CDC Chief Urges More COVID-19 Testing as Cases Rise” by Rodney Muhumuza, Associated Press

The continent of 1.3 billion people saw a 37% rise in new cases over the past week, Ahmed Ogwell, acting director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday.  Over the last four weeks there’s been an 11% rise in new cases, he said.

Nov 17: “New COVID-19 Subvariants Replace BA.5 as Most Dominant in the U.S.” by Doug Cunningham, UPI

The CDC data shows The new BQ.1.1 and BQ.1 together account for roughly 44% of new U.S. COVID-19 infections. The new variants are sublineages of BA.5. It’s the first time since July that the BA.5 variant has not been dominant.

Nov 18: “Pfizer Booster Spurs Immune Response to New Omicron Subtypes” by Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said their updated booster generated virus-fighting antibodies that can target four additional omicron subtypes, including the particularly worrisome BQ.1.1.

Nov 21: “China’s Guangzhou Locks Down Millions in ‘Zero-COVID’ Fight” by Huizhong Wu, Associated Press

The outbreak is testing China’s attempt to bring a more targeted approach to its zero-COVID policies while facing multiple outbreaks driven by fast-spreading omicron variants. China is the only major country in the world still trying to curb virus transmissions through strict lockdown measures and mass testing.

Nov 21: “Will Covid Boosters Prevent Another Wave? Scientists Aren’t So Sure.” by Apoorva Mandavilli, New York Times

Older adults, immunocompromised people and pregnant women should get the booster shots, because they offer extra protection against severe disease and death, said John Moore, a virologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. But the picture is less clear for healthy Americans who are middle-aged and younger.

Nov 22: “Real-World Data Show Updated Covid-19 Boosters Increase Protection Against Infection” by Andrew Joseph, STAT News

The updated Covid-19 boosters increase people’s protection against symptomatic infection from the coronavirus, according to some of the first estimates of how the shot is performing in the real world and in people, not just in lab experiments. What’s more, that protection was even stronger when people waited a longer period of time since their last dose of the original shot.

Nov 25: “China’s Xinjiang Protests of Monthslong Covid Lockdown Erupt After a Deadly Fire” by Wenxin Fan, Wall Street Journal

Local authorities started ordering residents to stay home after Covid clusters began spreading around Xinjiang in early August. The region’s main cities shut down transportation, trapping some summer tourists until the start of winter.

Nov 25: “Ukrainian Hospital Stymied Russians with Defiant Doctors and a Fake Covid Outbreak” by Ian Lovett, Wall Street Journal

The Russians detained two doctors, banned Ukrainian symbols and put hand-picked people in charge. To thwart them, the staff faked a Covid-19 outbreak, hid equipment and spied for Ukrainian forces.

Nov 28: “Chinese Protests Spread Over Government’s Covid Restrictions” by Lingling Wei, Brian Spegele and Wenxin Fan, Wall Street Journal

Protests are erupting in major cities in China over President Xi Jinping‘s zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19, an unusual show of defiance in the country as the economic and social costs from snap lockdowns and other strict restrictions escalate.

Nov 29: “Covid Become Plague of Elderly, Reviving Debate Over ‘Acceptable Loss’” by Ariana Eunjung Cha and Dan Keating, Washington Post

More than 300 people are still dying each day on average from covid-19, most of them 65 or older, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While that’s much lower than the 2,000 daily toll at the peak of the delta wave, it is still roughly two to three times the rate at which people die of the flu — renewing debate about what is an “acceptable loss.”

Nov 30: “Covid Evolution Wipes Out Another Antibody Treatment, Threatening the Country’s Medicine Cabinet” by Andrew Joseph, STAT News

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday ended its emergency authorization for the only remaining Covid-19 antibody therapy cleared for use, saying variants that render it ineffective are now dominant in the United States.

 

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