Since the outbreak of a new coronavirus began in China in December, the illness has spread to dozens of countries and halted normal activities in many of them. Major conferences and public events have been canceled because of the coronavirus and businesses are taking steps to ensure their employees are safe.

MM&M will continue updating this blog with coronavirus news. Also take a look at some of our past coverage.

March 30

Johnson & Johnson’s experimental vaccine for coronavirus will be ready for human trials in September. The drugmaker believes it could be approved for emergency use by 2021.

March 29

Cigna and Humana are waiving all patient cost-sharing for treatments related to coronavirus. This includes hospitalizations, ambulance transfers and FDA-approved treatment and vaccines.

President Donald Trump has extended social distancing guidelines through April 30. The goal is to keep the death toll below 100,000.

March 27

Apple has developed a website and app with a COVID-19 screening tool with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The website also includes the latest coronavirus information from official sources.

Actors from the 2011 film “Contagion” reunited for a COVID-19 PSA. Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet and Jennifer Ehle have teamed up with scientists from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health for the PSAs about hand washing and the risk of getting sick.

Sun Pharma has donated hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets to help fight coronavirus. The company donated 2.5 million tablets of the experimental COVID-19 treatment to help the U.S. combat the outbreak.

The U.S. has surpassed China and Italy in number of coronavirus cases. There are more than 82,000 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

March 26

Hospitals will receive $100 billion in emergency funding from the coronavirus relief package. The money could offset revenue losses from canceled elective surgeries and the costs from a flood of COVID-19 patients needing critical care.

COVID-19 cases worldwide have surpassed 500,000. That number has doubled in just over a week from 200,000 last Thursday. More than 22,000 people have died from the illness globally.

The $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill passed the Senate. It will now go to the House for a vote. The bill provides relief for workers, small businesses and the airline industry.

March 25

People under 45 years old make up nearly half of coronavirus cases in New York City. Only 3% of these cases result in fatalities. Men make up 56% of cases and 61% of deaths. Eighteen percent are being hospitalized, twice the global average.

Congress reached a deal on a $2 trillion relief package for workers and businesses affected by the coronavirus. The bill includes some direct payments to low- and middle-income workers, extended job benefits and a fund to aid struggling businesses.

March 24

Blood from COVID-19 survivors could be a treatment for current patients. Some U.S. hospitals are waiting on FDA permission to begin studies of blood transfusions as a COVID-19 treatment and as a temporary vaccine-like protection.

Many drug trials have been disrupted due to the coronavirus. Companies from large pharmas like Eli Lilly and BMS to small biotechs have suspended ongoing clinical trials as medical centers focus resources on COVID-19 patients.

March 23

Amazon is working with researchers to pick up and deliver testing kits. Amazon Care, the employee health unit of the company, is helping with logistics for the research program the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network.

Researchers begin trial of HIV medicine and steroid in COVID-19 patients. The trial, taking place in the U.K., will test AbbVie’s HIV drug Kaletra and the steroid dexamethasone in patients hospitalized due to the coronavirus.

Gilead is suspending access to antiviral drug and experimental COVID-19 treatment. The company said it saw an “exponential increase” in requests for the drug, remdesivir, which is currently being tested in five trials as a potential COVID-19 treatment.

March 20

Coronavirus is affecting drug studies. The Apple Watch and Johnson & Johnson heart study announced earlier this year is just one example. But this study, which collects information virtually, may also be a blueprint for future virtual trials.

Novartis will donate doses of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients. The company said, if approved, it will donate enough medicine to treat several million patients. A trial is currently studying hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment.

March 19

Bayer plans to donate a large amount of anti-malaria drug chloroquine to the U.S. government to treat COVID-19 patients. The drug has not been approved to treat these patients, but early studies show it may be effective.

A clinical trial testing HIV treatment Kaletra, made by AbbVie, showed no benefit in patients severely ill from COVID-19 in an early trial in China. Researchers say more studies may be done to determine if the drug is effective in combination with other therapies or earlier in treatment.

The FDA approved Abbott’s diagnostic test for COVID-19. Abbott plans to immediately distribute 150,000 tests as U.S. testing capabilities continue to fall short.

March 18

President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to increase production of medical supplies like masks and gloves in the U.S. The move was spurred by potential shortages of masks and other protective equipment for healthcare workers and a lack of ventilators for patients with severe cases of COVID-19.

Cannes Lions has postponed the festival due to COVID-19. The event, which was scheduled to take place in June, will be moved to October 26 to 30.

March 17

Pfizer signed a deal with BioNTech to co-develop a COVID-19 vaccine. The experimental treatment will use BioNTech’s mRNA platform.

President Donald Trump has lifted restrictions on telehealth for Medicare patients so that they can consult with doctors by phone or video conference with no added cost. Seniors can use FaceTime and Skype for these visits.

Researchers have estimated the death rate from COVID-19 to be about 1.4%. The researchers used data from Wuhan, China, but it provides a guide for other countries on what to expect from the virus.

Pharma companies are grounding sales reps in the face of the coronavirus. Companies like Amgen, Pfizer, Merck and Amarin are suspending all sales rep visits as hospitals and doctor’s offices reduce access.

March 16

President Trump issued guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The guidelines include avoiding social gatherings of more than 10 people, discretionary travel and going to bars, restaurants and food courts. The guidelines are in place for 15 days.

Drugmakers begin trials of existing drugs on coronavirus. Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals began a clinical trial of their rheumatoid arthritis drug Kevzara as a coronavirus treatment and researchers in Spain are testing an HIV drug to combat the virus.

Verily has launched a website to screen people who think they might have COVID-19. The website also points patients who may have the virus to testing sites. It is currently only available for people who live near San Francisco.

Senate Democrats proposed a third coronavirus aid bill. This bill would include at least $750 billion to boost hospital capacity, unemployment insurance and other aid for businesses and the public.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have banned gatherings of more than 50 people.

March 15

The CDC has recommended canceling gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.

New York City closed all schools to prevent the spread of coronavirus. New York and Los Angeles also closed restaurants and bars, limiting them to takeout and delivery only.

March 14

New York confirmed its first death due to COVID-19, an 82-year-old woman.

The U.K. and Ireland were added to the U.S. travel restrictions.

March 13

Dr. Leanna Wen, who appeared alongside top health official Dr. Anthony Fauci during a two-hour COVID-19 town hall on CNN Thursday evening, is slated to take part in tomorrow’s virtual broadcast of “Conversations In Primary Care,” a CME activity produced by accredited med-ed provider National Association for Continuing Education (NACE). 

Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, will join Stanford University School of Medicine’s Dr. Seema Yasmin, an expert in epidemics and Pulitzer-nominated journalist, on a COVID-19 panel discussion and Q&A. 

Saturday morning’s broadcast will be the first fully-remote episode of the “Conversations In” series, which is free for physicians, NPs and PAs to attend. Other topics on the six-hour broadcast include management of psoriasis, approaches to diabetes, and reducing the risk of recurrent C. Difficile infection. NACE is a member of the Haymarket Medical Education Group, which is part of Haymarket Media (the owner of MM&M). 

Google is developing a website that will help individuals determine if they need to be tested. The website will also direct individuals to testing locations.

President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency.

The Department of Health and Human Services will provide funding to two companies, DiaSorin Molecular and QIAGEN, to rapidly develop diagnostic test for COVID-19. HHS also appointed Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health, to lead COVID-19 testing efforts.

The Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency approval for Roche’s coronavirus test that can test 4,128 patients a day. This is 10 times faster than the U.S. has been able to test patients before.

March 12

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has banned gatherings of more than 500.

Former VP Joe Biden has shared his plan to combat coronavirus which includes free public testing, emergency paid leave and more. He emphasized the need to listen to public health officials and for those individuals to be the ones making the decisions.

The virus has spread to 44 states and the United States is unable to test for coronavirus as quickly as other countries, according to a statement Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made to the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Fauci also said he hopes a potential vaccine will be tested in human trials in the next few weeks. The National Institutes of Health has been working on a coronavirus vaccine with Moderna.

The coronavirus pathogen can live for as long as 37 days in patients, according to a new study from the Lancet.

President Donald Trump says he will not back the House Democrats’ proposed bill (mentioned below) as is.

House Democrats proposed a bill that would help in the coronavirus response. It includes measures to provide free testing, temporary paid sick leave for COVID-19 patients, emergency food aid for low-income residents and extra unemployment benefits for workers laid off due to the virus.

March 11

President Donald Trump banned all travel from 26 countries in Europe to the U.S. for 30 days, starting Friday, March 13. This excludes the U.K.

Washington state restricted large, public gatherings in several counties affected by the virus. It is the first state to enact such a ban on public events.

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic as cases spread to 114 countries.

Cannes Lions released a contingency plan for the festival, which is scheduled for June 22 to 26. The organization will make a decision about whether to postpone the event by April 15. If postponed, the festival would be moved to late October.

March 10

The New York state opioid trial has been postponed due to coronavirus. The lawsuit against McKesson, Johnson & Johnson, CVS and other companies was scheduled to begin on March 20.

The Food and Drug Administration has sent seven warning letters related to COVID-19. The letters warned companies for making false health claims that their products could treat or prevent the coronavirus.

New York has called in the National Guard to New Rochelle due to coronavirus. The town is the center of a growing outbreak of COVID-19, with more than 100 cases. The National Guard will assist with a containment center and schools will be closed for two weeks, the first move of its kind in the U.S.

March 6

SWSW was canceled due to the coronavirus. Global cases of COVID-19 surpass 100,000.

March 5

Health tech conference HIMSS was canceled.

March 4

Congress approved $8 billion in emergency funding for coronavirus response.

March 3

President Trump and health officials met with pharma executives to discuss the timing and development of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.

February 28

The coronavirus caused the first drug shortage, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

February 18

Sanofi began developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

February 11

The World Health Organization gave the coronavirus an official name: COVID-19.

February 5

Regeneron partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services on a virus vaccine.

February 3

Gilead and GlaxoSmithKline began developing vaccines for the virus.

January 30

The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a health emergency. The Trump administration convened a coronavirus task force. The first person-to-person transmission of the virus was confirmed in the U.S.

January 29

The U.S. government evacuated American citizens from Wuhan, China and placed the arrivals in quarantine. 

January 28

Johnson & Johnson began working on a vaccine.

January 22

Novavax, Moderna and NanoViricides began working with the U.S. government on coronavirus vaccines.

January 15

First U.S. coronavirus patient was confirmed in Washington state.

December 2019

China began investigating a cluster of pneumonia-like illnesses in Wuhan.

Follow along with the rest of MM&M’s coronavirus coverage here.