COVID-19 Timeline: December 2022

January 25, 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 December 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.

Dec 1: “China Eases Virus Controls Amid Efforts to Head Off Protests” by Joe McDonald, Associated Press

More Chinese cities eased anti-virus restrictions and police patrolled their streets Thursday [December 1] as the government tried to defuse public anger over some of the world’s most stringent COVID measures and head off more protests.

Dec 2: “Around 85% of Recent Covid Deaths Were Among People Over 65. Why Have So Few Gotten Boosted?” by Aria Bendix, NBC News

Around 85% of Covid deaths in the last four weeks were among people ages 65 and up, according to an NBC News analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But just 31% of that group has gotten updated booster shots.

Dec 7: “China Eases Anti-COVID Measures Following Protests” by Joe McDonald, Associated Press

The move adds to earlier easing that fueled hopes Beijing was scrapping its “zero COVID” strategy, which is disruptingapnews.com/article/health-business-china-covid-economy-e5559f6062cf052a71ad6ba1ceece693 manufacturing and global trade. Experts warn, however, that restrictions can’t be lifted completely until at least mid-2023 because millions of elderly people still must be vaccinated and the health care system strengthened.

Dec 8: “FDA Authorizes Updated Covid-19 Boosters for Youngest Children” by Helen Branswell, STAT News

The Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday it had amended the emergency use authorizations for the updated Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 boosters, to allow their use in children aged 6 months and older.

Dec 9: “China Struggles with COVID Infections After Controls Ease” by Joe McDonald, Associated Press

A rash of COVID-19 cases in schools and businesses were reported Friday in areas across China after the ruling Communist Party loosened anti-virus rules as it tries to reverse a deepening economic slump.

Dec 9: “Key Partner in Covax Will Stop Giving Free Vaccines to Middle-Income Nations” by Stephanie Nolen, New York Times

A key partner in Covax, the organization that has led the effort to bring Covid vaccines to poor and middle-income countries, will stop supplying the shots to a huge part of the global population in the year ahead, and provide them only to the lowest-income nations.

Dec 12: “Hospitalizations Signal Rising COVID-19 Risk for US Seniors” by Carla K. Johnson and Laura Ungar, Associated Press

One troubling indicator for seniors: Hospitalizations for people with COVID-19 rose by more than 30% in two weeks. Much of the increase is driven by older people and those with existing health problems, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dec 13: “China’s Looming ‘Tsunami’ of Covid Cases Will Test Its Hospitals” by Alexandra Stevenson, Joy Dong and Olivia Wang, New York Times

The abrupt pivot has raised the specter of tremendous strain on a health care system that is overstretched even in normal times. That could get worse in a month, when people travel across the country to see their families during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Dec 13: “Covid Vaccines Averted 3 Million Deaths in U.S., According to New Study” by Brittany Trang, STAT News

This Wednesday will mark two years since nurse Sandra Lindsay became the first person in the U.S. to receive a Covid-19 vaccine outside of a clinical trial. A study released Tuesday [December 13] by the Commonwealth Fund shows that in those two years, the Covid vaccines have averted over 3 million deaths in the U.S.

Dec 14: “Long COVID Can Be Deadly—CDC Report” by Rebecca Falconer, Axios

Long COVID was cited in the death certificates of at least 3,544 people in the U.S. in the first 2.5 years of the pandemic, according to a study published Wednesday [December 14] by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dec 15: “China Won’t Report Asymptomatic COVID Cases in Further Shift” by Dake Kang, Associated Press

China said Wednesday [December 14] that it would stop reporting asymptomatic COVID-19 cases since they’ve become impossible to track with mass testing no longer required, another step in the country’s departure from some of the world’s strictest antivirus policies.

Dec 15: “The Coronavirus May Spread from Corpses, Scientists Report” by Apoorva Mandavilli, New York Times

The risk of contagion is mainly to those who handle cadavers, like pathologists, medical examiners and health care workers, and in settings like hospitals and nursing homes, where many deaths may occur.

Dec 15: “You Can Order Free COVID Tests Again by Mail” NPR

Americans can order four more free COVID-19 tests through the mail, starting on Thursday [December 15].

Dec 16: “Medical Staff in China’s Hospitals Say COVID-19 Ripping Through Their Ranks” by Farah Master and Julie Zhu, Reuters

A growing number of China’s doctors and nurses are catching COVID-19 and some have been asked to keep working, as people showing mostly moderate symptoms throng hospitals and clinics, according to medical staff and dozens of posts on social media.

Dec 19: “Beijing’s Crematorium’s Death Surge Points to Rising Covid Toll in China” by Jonathan Cheng, Wall Street Journal

One of Beijing’s designated crematoria for Covid-19 patients has been flooded with dead bodies in recent days as the virus sweeps through the Chinese capital, offering an early hint at the human cost of the country’s abrupt loosening of pandemic restrictions.

Dec 21: “WHO ‘Very Concerned’ About Reports of Severe COVID in China” Associated Press

The head of the World Health Organization said the agency is “very concerned” about rising reports of severe coronavirus disease across China after the country largely abandoned its “zero COVID” policy, warning that its lagging vaccination rate could result in large numbers of vulnerable people getting infected.

Dec 21: “’We Made a Mistake.’ Omicron Origin Study Retracted After Widespread Criticism” by Kai Kupferschmidt, Science

A paper published earlier this month by Science claiming the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 arose gradually, across a broad area of Africa, before it was detected was retracted today by its authors.

Dec 21: “Infectious Disease Board Recommends Hospitals Stop Screening Asymptomatic Patients for Covid-19” by Jason Mast, STAT News

An influential board of infectious disease physicians recommended Wednesday that hospitals and other health care facilities stop routinely screening asymptomatic patients for Covid-19, saying the potential risks of screenings now outweigh the benefits.

Dec 22: “Nasal Vaccines Are Here” The Atlantic

Some of the world’s largest and most populous countries now have access to the technology—and yet it isn’t clear how well that’s working out.

Dec 27: “China Races to Vaccinate Elderly, But Many Are Reluctant” by Joe McDonald, Associated Press

Chinese authorities are going door to door and paying people older than 60 to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Dec 29: “How Bad Is China’s Covid Outbreak? It’s a Scientific Guessing Game” by Alexandra Stevenson and Benjamin Mueller, New York Times

As Covid barrels through China, scientists around the world are searching for clues about an outbreak with sprawling consequences — for the health of hundreds of millions of Chinese people, the global economy and the future of the pandemic.

Dec 29: “Study Could Pave Way for New Antiviral, as China Grapples with Covid Wave” by Jason Mast, STAT News

In an 822-patient clinical trial published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, Xu’s antiviral, VV116, appeared just as effective as Paxlovid at easing patient’s symptoms.

Dec 30: “Medicare Keeps Spending More on COVID-19 Testing. Fraud and Overspending Are Partly Why.” by Anjeanette Damon, ProPublica

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to churn, Medicare spending on testing for the virus continued to increase in 2022 and is outpacing the two prior years.

 

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