In late 2019, a contagious disease called coronavirus disease which was caused by a severe acute respiratory syndrome 2 ( SARS-CoV-2) was reported in China.
Within a few weeks, the contagious disease was spread to almost all parts of the earth. Since then, our world has been in the deadliest pandemic situation of the 21st century.
Phases Of COVID-19: December 2019 to December 2021!
Millions of people were affected by this contagious disease and hundreds of deaths were reported. Many research centers of the world have been doing various research on this virus and numerous vaccines have been produced and supplied to people of the world.
This article will take through the events that have taken place in this covid-19 phase chronologically.
The first outbreak of the coronavirus happened in the last month of 2019 in China. On December 12, a cluster of patients experienced shortness of breath and fever in Wuhan, Hubei Province.
On December 31st, the WHO’s country office in China made a media statement informing about the number of cases of viral pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan. After the release of the statement, many health authorities of several parts of the world contacted WHO seeking additional information about ‘viral pneumonia’.
JANUARY – MARCH 2020
On the first of January, WHO requested detailed information on the reported cluster of viral pneumonia cases in Wuhan to the Chinese authorities. On 9th January, WHO reported that the Chinese Authorities have identified that the outbreak of viral pneumonia was caused by a novel coronavirus.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published more information on the virus after it was determined by the Chinese Authorities. The Chinese media reports the first death from the novel coronavirus on January 11. Between 10-12 January, WHO publishes a comprehensive guidance document for countries relating to the management of an outbreak of a new contagious disease.
Spread Of The Novel Coronavirus
On January 13, the first imported case of the novel coronavirus from China was reported by The Ministry Of Public Health in Thailand. The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare reported WHO of the case of novel coronavirus on the 15th of January in a person who traveled to Wuhan. This was the second case of novel coronavirus reported outside the People’s Republic of China.
On January 17, CDC initiates screening passengers of direct and connecting flights from Wuhan at San Franciso, California, New York, Los Angeles, and other major airports. CDC confirms the first US-laboratory confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in the USA on January 20. The CDC artists Alissa Eckert and Dan Higgins creates the red and white image of the coronavirus on 21st January.
The World Health Organization confirms the human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus on January 22. The World Health Organization International Health Regulation Committee meets immediately and decides not to declare the outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern instead decided to monitor the situation for the next 10 days.
On 24 January, France reports three cases of the novel coronavirus in people who had traveled from Wuhan to WHO. This was the first reported case of the novel coronavirus in the European Region.
The United Arab Emirates reports its first case of the novel coronavirus on 29th January in the Middle East region. The CDC and WHO starts distributing test kits to various regional centers.
On January 30, the WHO declares the outbreak as a health emergency of international concern (PHIEC). WHO announces the official name for the disease caused by novel coronavirus: Covid-19 on February 11, 2020. On the 11th of March, WHO declares Covid-19 as a pandemic.
On March 13, U.S President declares a nationwide emergency. By the half of March, the U.S states begin to shut down to prevent the spread of the virus and by the end of March, the White House extends social distancing measures until April 2020.
APRIL – AUGUST 2020
In light of the rapid spread of Covid-19 in the US, the CDC declares mask-wearing guidelines. On the 4th of April, WHO reported that more than 1 million Covid-19 cases have been reported worldwide.
WHO also issues guidance on wearing masks. The U.S exceeds Italy as the global leader of deaths due to Covid-19 by reaching a number of 23,036 deaths. On April 13, the U.S states reported the most widespread cases of Covid-19. Studies published in the month of April suggested the symptom of loss of smell and taste is associated with Covid-19 among several positive tested patients.
In the month of April, WHO published a statement by 130 scientists, funders, and manufacturers from all around the world in which they committed to working with WHO to speed up the production of Covid-19 vaccines. Between May and June, Covid-19 associated with multisystem inflammatory disease was reported in Children in the UK, Italy, and the U.S
Development of Vaccines
On May 5, Pfizer and BioNTech announces the start of the Phase I/II trial of their mRNA vaccine. In the same month, the Chinese vaccine company, CanSino Biologics reported the first trial results of their vaccine.
The results have shown the vaccine to be safe without any severe side effects associated with it. The Moderna Vaccine also announced through a press release that their mRNA-1273 vaccine was both safe and immunogenic.
On June 24, China approved the distribution of the CanSino vaccine for limited use in the military. On 11 August, Russia announces the approval of its Sputnik Vaccine for emergency use.
SEPTEMBER TO DECEMBER 2020
By the end of September, the United Stated death tolls of Covid-19 surpasses 200,000. On the 2nd of December, US President Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19. New Zealand declares itself Covid-19 free on October 7, 2020.
On November 9, Pfizer/BioNTech through the press announces that the vaccine efficacy is the vaccine is greater than 90%. On 16th November, the Moderna vaccine declares that the vaccine efficacy of mRNA-1273 is more than 94%.
On December 20, Pfizer then announced that it has overall efficacy of 95% and 94% for people of 64-85 years. On 30th November, the Moderna vaccine released its final efficacy rate of 94.1%.
On November 20, Pfizer-BioNTech submitted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the U.S Food and Drug Administration and the FDA issues the EUA for the vaccine on December 11, 2020.
On 2 December, the U.K’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency gave temporary approval of the use of the Pfizer vaccine in the country.
Rise of variants
Between November to December of 2020, there was a rise of variants of coronavirus in different places. A U.K variant coronavirus was reported on 18th December 2020. On 30 December, the first U.K variant in the U.S was reported.
A Brazil variant of coronavirus was reported in November 2020 and its first case was reported in the US at the beginning of January. The Delta variant of coronavirus was identified in India in the late 2020s.
JANUARY TO MAY 2021
By January 18, 2021, the death toll in the U.S surpasses 400,000. By the first of February, worldwide covid-19 cases surpass 100 million. The first U.S. case of a South African variant of coronavirus was reported in South California on January 28.
In March, CDC announces full vaccinated people can gather indoors without wearing masks. On March 11, President Joe Biden announces a federal vaccine website by which users can find vaccine centers near them.
Approval and Supply of Vaccines
By the end of December and beginning of January, the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca Vaccines are authorized for use in U.S, U.K, Europe, the Middle East, and other countries.
In February, several states of the U.S including Texas, Missouri, and Alabama faced disruption in the distribution of vaccines. On February 27, FDA approves EUA for Johnson and Johnson one-shot vaccine and in April, FDA recommends pausing the use of the vaccine due to blood cot complications.
By the end of April, FDA continued the usage of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine for people are 18 years and older. On March 18, the U.S announce that it will send 4 million covid vaccines to Mexico and Canada.
On April 2, CDC announces fully vaccinated people can travel domestically in the U.S without taking a covid test. By the end of April, the U.S surpasses 200 million vaccinations administered.
JUNE TO NOVEMBER 2021
By June 2021, the Delta variant of coronavirus which was identified in the late 202s becomes a dominant variant in the U.S. On August 26, 2021, CDC shows that among previously infected people with Cobid-19, reinfection was half less likely among those who received their vaccination after getting infected.
By the end of August, ACIP ( Advisory Community on Immunization Practices) recommends Pfizer vaccines for people age 16 and older. In October, ACIP recommends booster shots of covid-19 vaccines for people who are 65 years and older.
On the 2nd of November, ACIP recommends children of 5 to 11 years be vaccinated against Covid-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine. By the end of November, CDC recommends everyone above 18 years receive a booster dose of Covid-19 vaccines after 6 months of receiving the two doses of the vaccine.
The Delta variant was first detected in India in the late 2020s. By November 2021, the variant has spread to more than 179 countries. In June, WHO announced that the Delta variant was becoming a dominant strain globally.
Delta variant is considered to be twice contagious and deadlier than any other variant of Covid-19. By the end of November, the Delta variant accounted for more than 90% of coronavirus cases and has severely affected some of the states of the U.S.
People who have received their vaccination had higher protection against the Delta variant than most who aren’t vaccinated. Most of the cases of Delta variant reported were of people who didn’t get vaccinated.
Although, studies suggest that the variant has increased transmission even among vaccinated people. The rise of the Delta variant led to the start of the third wave of coronavirus in the U.S during the summer of 2021.
Unlike other variants of the virus, the Delta variant can affect children, teenagers, and younger adults. A study from the U.K showed that children and younger adults were 2 times more likely to get infected by the Delta Variant.
In communities with lower vaccinated rates, the Delta variant might be catastrophic. The Delta variant was dominant in several countries in the period of June to November 2020.
On the 26th of November 2021, a new variant of the virus called Omicron was classified by World Health Organization. The variant was first reported by scientists from South Africa and is considered a variant of concern.
The Omicron variant is likely to spread more easily than the Delta variant but some studies suggest that it is not as severe as the Delta variant. Omicron infections are 91 percent less than the Delta variant and the hospitalization risk is also lower when compared to Delta variant.
CDC expects that anyone with Omicron variant whether vaccinated or doesn’t have any symptoms can transmit the variant to other people. The vaccine continues to provide protection against these variants but many countries recommend people to take the booster dose in order to boost their immunity power against the variant.
Now we are in the phase of the Omicron variant. CDC tells that more data are needed to understand the severity of illness that Omicron causes and the efficacy of vaccines and medicines against these variants.
The current vaccines are expected to prevent any severe illness caused by the Omicron variant and have also protected many vaccinated people from the Delta variant. This also shows the efficacy of vaccines and booster doses against the virus. It is also more likely that more variants of coronavirus will be identified in the coming years.