The Journal Gazette
Sunday, March 14, 2021 1:00 am

Timeline May to August 2020

May 1: (US) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issues an emergency-use authorization for remdesivir in hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn says remdesivir is the first authorized therapy drug for COVID-19.

May 1: (IN) Gov. Eric Holcomb announces the Back On Track Indiana plan to safely open the economy and remain vigilant about protecting Hoosiers’ health and wellbeing.

May 1: (NI) Miller Poultry in Steuben County announces six workers and a U.S. Department of Agriculture employee tested positive for COVID-19.

May 1: (FW) Purdue University Fort Wayne cancels commencement exercises, which affects students receiving degrees from Purdue and Indiana University.

May 4: (IN) The state begins reopening Bureau of Motor Vehicle branches with appointment-only service for transactions unavailable online.

May 5: (AC) More than 110 Fort Wayne-area organizations participate in GivingTuesdayNow to help generate funds to meet increased demand for assistance, largely due to the pandemic. More than $725,000 was raised locally. Faith in Indiana hosts a virtual town hall with some local elected officials to encourage greater access to COVID-19 test sites on Fort Wayne’s southeast side. The town hall came as Allen County health officials and Kroger announce plans for free tests at the southeast-side Public Safety Academy. Neighborhood Health Clinics also announces free tests at its East Paulding Road office. First-time jobless claims from Allen County residents for the first 16 weeks of this year have reached more than 32,160 and now exceed the total for 2008, the biggest stretch of the Great Recession. The calculations were made by Purdue University Fort Wayne’s Community Research Institute.

May 6: (NI) The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend announces the public celebration of Mass will resume beginning May 23 and 24.

May 7: (US) The number of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. is 100 times higher than the number of people who died during the SARS crisis of 2002-04.

May 7: (IN) Indiana unemployment officials say payments to Hoosiers who traditionally had been ineligible to receive benefits will begin. Those people include independent contractors, self-employed or those with limited work histories. A federal act expanded coverage to help more people, but the state had to revamp its software.

May 8: (W) During a virtual pledging conference co-hosted by the European Union, world leaders pledge a total of $8 billion for the development and deployment of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines against the novel coronavirus.

May 8: (US) New report shows U.S. unemployment rate shot up to 14.7% in April, the highest level since the Great Depression and more than four times February’s five-decade-low rate of 3.5%.

May 8: (IN) Holcomb signs Executive Order 20-27 to further extend Bureau of Motor Vehicles renewal deadlines. Driver’s licenses, identification cards and vehicle registrations that expire prior to June 4 will now be valid through June 4. The executive order also extends the BMV’s deadlines for title transactions, salvage titles, and off-road vehicle and snowmobile titles.

May 10: (W) Building on previous guidance on the investigation of cases and clusters, WHO issues interim guidance on contact tracing.

May 11: (US) President Donald Trump and his administration announce that the federal government is sending $11 billion to states to expand coronavirus testing capabilities. The relief package signed on April 24 includes $25 billion for testing, with $11 billion for states, localities, territories and tribes. Nearly all states have relaxed restrictions on some combination of businesses, services or parks.

May 13: (AC) New Haven opens its first free testing site.

May 14: (FW) Three Rivers Festival, a summertime favorite, announces it has canceled the traditional nine-day event that was to start July 10. Organizers say some virtual events may be scheduled.

May 15: (W) WHO releases a scientific brief on multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children and adolescents temporally related to COVID-19.

May 15: (IN) Indiana officials say they have shipped 10,000 personal protective equipment bundles to Hoosier small businesses and nonprofits reopening under new guidelines created to reduce spread of the new coronavirus. The PPE Marketplace had filled about half of the more than 20,000 requests from restaurants, retailers, salons and small offices.

May 15: (AC)  The Allen County Sheriff’s Department announces three officers tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered and are back at work.

May 17: (AC) Allen County reaches 1,000 COVID-19 cases.

May 18: (IN) Indiana has its first case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children related to COVID-19.

May 19: (US) The death toll surpasses the number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam and Korean wars combined.

May 20: (US) Connecticut becomes the last state to begin lifting restrictions. All states are now at least partially reopened though daily case rates continue to rise.

May 21: (W) WHO signs a new agreement with the UN Refugee Agency, with a key aim for 2020 of supporting ongoing efforts to protect some 70 million forcibly displaced people from COVID-19.

May 21: (IN) Holcomb announces that because health indicators remain positive, most of the state will advance to stage 3 of the Back On Track Indiana plan.

May 22: (IN) Holcomb announces he has asked the State Budget Agency to initiate plans to reduce state agency appropriations by 15% for fiscal year 2021 because of the sharp drop in state revenues that was reported for April and to prepare for a continued decline in state revenue because of the economic impact of COVID-19.

May 23:  (W) China reports no new symptomatic coronavirus cases, the first time since the beginning of the outbreak in December.

May 23: (US) The United States hits 100,000 deaths from COVID-19.

May 26: (US) The death toll surpasses the number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam, Korean, Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.

May 26: (NI) Noble County had the state’s fourth-highest unemployment rate for April and Allen County was among the top 20, according to figures from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. Noble County’s 28.7% unemployment exceeded the 20.0% for Allen County, which ranked 20th. Huntington County, which had the same 20.0% rate as Allen County, was also among the 20 with the highest rates, though it technically was ranked 21st.

May 27: (US) Data collected by Johns Hopkins University reports that the coronavirus has killed more than 100,000 people across the U.S., meaning that an average of almost 900 Americans died each day since the first known coronavirus-related death was reported nearly four months earlier.

May 28: (AC) Dr. Matthew Sutter is named the new Allen County health commissioner by the Board of Health, replacing Dr. Deborah McMahan, who is retiring.

May 28: (FW) Downtown Fort Wayne’s Grand Wayne Center projects $2 million loss for 2020 based on canceled bookings and less income from the innkeeper’s tax and the food and beverage tax because of restaurant shutdowns and travel bans, in March and April. The losses would be about one-third of the facility’s $6.4 million budget.

May 29: (IN) Holcomb announced several new economic recovery initiatives designed to bolster critical relief efforts while encouraging long-term planning and investments to stimulate Indiana’s economy well into the future. Through these initiatives, the state will allocate nearly $44 million to provide support and resources including approximately $37 million in direct funding through grants and investments to small businesses and manufacturers – two key drivers of the Hoosier economy.

May 30: (NI) The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s program to divert food that would have been shipped to restaurants and large-scale food operations to people in need sends 1,400 food boxes to Fort Wayne. The federal Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program was announced in mid-April to stave off waste of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat products and pack them into boxes of 20 and 25 pounds.

June 2: (W) Wuhan’s Health Commission announces that it has completed coronavirus tests on 9.9 million of its residents with no new confirmed cases found.

June 3: (IN) Holcomb signs executive orders extending the public health emergency for an additional 30 days to July 4, allowing older youth to remain in foster care beyond the age of 18 for the duration of the public health emergency, extending the time period to renew professional licenses, certificates or permits to June 30 and reducing the amount of food sales a restaurant must report to maintain its alcoholic beverage permit.

June 4: (W) WHO welcomes funding commitments made at the Global Vaccine Summit. These commitments will help maintain immunization in lower-income countries, mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

June 4: (US) The G League cancels the remainder of its season, after nearly 12 weeks of silence on whether it would try to complete it.

June 4: (IN) The Indiana State Fair is canceled.

June 5: (W) WHO publishes updated guidance on the use of masks for the control of COVID-19, which provided updated advice on who should wear a mask, when it should be worn and what it should be made of.

June 5: (IN) Holcomb launches a $50 million initiative to help Hoosiers recover economically called the “Rapid Recovery for a Better Future” centered on meeting individual needs by providing comprehensive support for Hoosiers to secure a job, assess and grow skills, and get the support they need to get back on their feet.

June 5: (AC) Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan retires after 20 years in the position. Dr. Matthew Sutter on May 28 was named as her successor, but part time.

June 8: (W) New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces that almost all coronavirus restrictions in New Zealand will be lifted after the country reported no active cases.

June 11: (US) The U.S. passes 2 million confirmed cases of the virus, according to Johns Hopkins. The death toll surpasses the amount of military personnel who died in World War I.

June 11: (IN) Holcomb announces that because health indicators remain positive, most of the state will advance to stage 3 of the Back On Track Indiana plan. Social gatherings of up to 100 people will be permitted following the CDC’s social distancing guidelines. Retail and commercial businesses may open at 75% capacity. Shopping malls can open at 75% capacity with indoor common areas restricted to 50% capacity.

June 11: (AC) Local officials say the Allen County Fair, scheduled for July 28 to Aug. 2, is canceled. The announcement came about a week after Indiana State Fair, scheduled Aug. 7 to Aug. 23, was canceled. And Fort Wayne Parks Board members agree that the Foellinger Theatre stage will largely be without performers for the year, postponing most shows there until 2021.

June 13: (W) WHO reports that Chinese authorities have provided information on a cluster of COVID-19 cases in Beijing. WHO offers technical support and assistance and requests more information on the cluster.

June 14: (FW) The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo opens – about two months later than usual – for its 56th season.

June 15: (NI) The LaGrange County Health Department announces it is requiring everyone to wear a mask or face covering over the mouth and nose following a steep increase of cases since Memorial Day.

June 16: (W) WHO welcomes initial clinical trial results from the UK that showed dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, could be lifesaving for patients critically ill with COVID-19.

June 17: (W) WHO announces that the hydroxychloroquine arm of the solidarity trial to find an effective COVID-19 treatment was being stopped based on large scale randomized evidence showing hydroxychloroquine did not reduce mortality for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

June 18: (AC) The Allen County Council unanimously approves more than $3 million in funding for Memorial Coliseum, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

June 19: (IN) The state’s confirmed and presumed death toll reaches 2,500.

June 22: (IN) Holcomb announces Indiana preK-12 schools and higher education institutions can now apply for a needs-based, competitive $61.6 million grant program providing funding to improve remote learning.

June 22: (NI) Figures show unemployment in the Fort Wayne area was 13.5% in May, with 29,930 in the labor force without work. A year ago in May, the jobless rate for Allen, Wells and Whitley counties, which comprise the MSA, was 2.7%

June 24: (IN) Holcomb announces the Indiana COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program, which will use $25 million in federal CARES Act funding to help Hoosiers struggling to pay rent because of the impact of COVID-19.

June 25: (AC) The COVID-19 death toll surpasses 100 for Allen County.

June 26: (W) During a virtual media briefing, WHO announces it plans to deliver about 2 billion doses of a coronavirus vaccine to people across the globe. One billion of those doses will be purchased for low- and middle-income countries, according to WHO.

June 28: (US) Only two states – Connecticut and Rhode Island – report a decline in new coronavirus cases as a rise is reported across 36 states.

June 29: (AC) Slightly more than 1 in 10 Allen County residents – or 10.4% – tested for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 have tested positive during the pandemic, state health department officials say. That’s higher than the 9.4% statewide.

June 30: (IN) An executive order extends the prohibition on evictions, foreclosures and the disconnection of utility services. The prohibition on evictions from rental properties and the prohibition on filing foreclosures are both extended through July 31. Renters, homeowners, lending institutions and landlords are encouraged to establish payment plans to avoid later evictions or foreclosures.

July 1: (W) WHO holds its second summit on COVID-19 research and innovation, to take stock of the evolving science on COVID-19 and examine progress in developing effective health tools. One of the outcomes was agreement that more trials were needed to test antivirals, immunomodulatory drugs and anti-thrombotic agents, as well as combination therapies, at different stages of the disease. The European Union announces it will allow travelers from 14 countries outside the bloc to visit EU countries, months after it shut its external borders in response to the pandemic.

July 1: (IN) Holcomb delays the state moving into stage 5 because of an uptick in cases, leaving some restrictions in place.

July 1: (FW) Concerns about the coronavirus and about potential Black Lives Matters demonstrations prompt the cancellation of the Fourth of July fireworks show in downtown Fort Wayne, the city announces.

July 2: (IN) #MaskUpHoosiers becomes the name for Indiana’s new advertising and social media campaign to encourage Hoosiers to wear face coverings voluntarily when in public situations where social distancing isn’t feasible. But Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett issues an order effective July 9 requiring masks for anyone older than age 2, with potential fines for those noncompliant.

July 4: (US) Trump claims 99% of coronavirus cases in America are “totally harmless.”

July 7: (W) Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro announces he has tested positive for COVID-19, following months of downplaying the virus.

July 7: (US) The Trump administration notifies Congress and the UN that the U.S. is formally withdrawing from WHO. The withdrawal goes into effect on July 6, 2021.

July 7: (FW) The City Swim and Dive meet, which had taken place annually since 1961, is canceled.

July 8: (US) The U.S. surpasses 3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19.

July 9: (W) WHO issues updated information on COVID-19 transmission, providing information on how, when and in which settings the virus spreads between people. The brief describes possible modes of transmission, including contact, droplet, airborne, fomite, fecal-oral, blood-borne, mother-to-child and animal-to-human transmission.

July 10: (FW) The two-day Johnny Appleseed Festival, typically the third weekend of September, is canceled.

July 13: (W) The 2020 edition of the UN’s “State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World” forecasts that the COVID-19 pandemic could tip over 130 million more people into chronic hunger by the end of the year.

July 14: (FW) Parkview Health says it lost about $110 million from mid-March through the end of May, an example of hospitals’ lack of immunity from COVID-19’s financial effects. Mike Packnett, Parkview’s CEO, said the nonprofit health care provider’s cash reserves have kept the region’s largest employer afloat. Lutheran Health Network acknowledged the coronavirus pandemic also affected its balance sheet but did not provide numbers.

July 15: (W) The COVAX Facility, a mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, secures engagement from more than 150 countries, representing over 60% of the world’s population. Seventy-five countries express interest in financing the vaccines from their own public finance budgets and partnering with up to 90 lower-income countries that could be supported through the COVAX Advance Market Commitment.

July 15: (FW) The Fort Wayne Philharmonic suspends its 77th season, which was to begin Oct. 3, until at least Jan. 30.

July 21: (W) European leaders agree to create a 750 billion euro ($858 billion) recovery fund to rebuild EU economies ravaged by the coronavirus.

July 22: (IN) Holcomb issues a mask mandate, making Indiana the 31st state to do so.

July 22: (NI) Southwest Allen County Schools’ plans for an early start to the 2020-21 academic year were scrapped so teachers and staffers can better prepare for a new learning option for middle and high school students. Registration was another driver for delaying classes until Aug. 12 instead of the Aug. 5 start.

July 23: (NI) Northeast Indiana Works announces it has $2.1 million to help workers who want to boost their skills – and potentially job options. The local workforce development agency received the funding from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, thanks to the CARES Act.

July 24: (W) WHO issues a policy brief to prevent and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 across all aspects of long-term care, including home- and community-based care.

July 25: (W) WHO publishes interim guidance on safe Eid al Adha practices in the context of COVID-19, which highlights public health advice for social gatherings and religious practices that can be applied across different national contexts.

July 25: (US) The death toll surpasses the number of people who died in motor vehicle crashes over a period of four years from 2015 to 2018.

July 27: (W) A vaccine being developed by the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in partnership with the biotechnology company Moderna, enters phase 3 testing. The trial is expected to enroll about 30,000 adult volunteers.

July 27: (US) Thirty-one states plus D.C. and Puerto Rico have statewide mandates that require people to wear masks when out in public.

July 27: (FW) Fort Wayne Community Schools announces classes will begin Aug. 13, not Aug. 10 as planned. This gives FWCS three days of professional learning with teachers to focus on remote and blended learning strategies.

July 28: (US) The U.S. surpasses 150,000 deaths from COVID-19.

July 30: (US) Data show the U.S. economy contracted at a 32.9% annual rate from April through June, its worst drop on record.

July 30: (FW) Fort Wayne Community Schools says of more than 19,000 students deciding between the in-person and fully remote learning options for the coming year, about 40% picked remote learning. Among elementary students, about 50% select remote option compared with slightly over 33% of middle and high school students.

July 31: (NI) Memorial Coliseum General Manager Randy Brown says typical yearly attendance averages around 1.1 million people, but 2020 will end that 29-year streak due to event cancellations.

Aug. 5: (W) The WHO director-general launches the #WearAMask challenge on social media to help spread the word about how and when to use a mask to protect against COVID-19.

Aug. 5: (US) The ECHL delays start of its season until to a tentative Dec. 4 start, two months later than usual.

Aug. 10: (IN) Indiana ends four-day stretch that saw confirmed COVID-19 cases rise each day by more than 1,000. The daily count drops to almost 700.

Aug. 11: (W) Russian President Vladimir Putin announces that Russia has approved a coronavirus vaccine for public use before completion of phase 3 trials, which usually precedes approval. The vaccine, named Sputnik-V, is developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute.

Aug. 14: (AC) U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams visits Fort Wayne and says Allen County’s COVID-19 positivity rate of nearly 12% – in the red zone – was trending in the wrong direction. He stressed wearing masks, social distancing and hand washing to reduce the spread.

Aug. 17: (NI) Adams County issues its own mask mandate.

Aug. 20: (NI) The Allen County Council approves the transfer of $243,500 from the county’s general fund to support the Election Board through the rest of the year. The pandemic has seriously affected the board’s operations, particularly with increased interest for a presidential election year, Director of Elections Beth Dlug says.

Aug. 21: (W) WHO, in collaboration with UNICEF, publishes guidance on the use of masks for children in the community in the context of COVID-19.

Aug. 23: (US) The FDA issues an emergency use authorization for the use of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 using the blood of people who have recovered from coronavirus infections.

Aug. 24: (NI) Statistics from the state show that unemployment in the Fort Wayne area dropped again in July, to 8.2%, figures from the state show. But local officials charting data said the decline isn’t as promising when considering the Fort Wayne-area labor force dropped by nearly 8,370 people, from 225,579 in June this year to 217,213 in July.

Aug. 26: Holcomb extends the state’s mask mandate and the state remains at Stage 4.5 based on key coronavirus metrics.

Aug. 28: (W) WHO launches its “Science in 5” video and podcast series, featuring WHO experts giving explanations of the science on specific issues related to COVID-19, to help audiences protect themselves and others. The first episode explains the concept of “herd immunity,” whereby a population can be protected from a virus if a threshold of vaccination is reached.

Aug. 27: (US) The CDC notifies public health officials around the U.S. to prepare to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine as soon as late October.

Aug. 31: (W) The director-general announces an appeal for $76 million for Lebanon, following the Aug. 4 Beirut port blast. The appeal will support WHO’s work to provide follow-up care for the injured, ensure access to services, provide mental health support, rebuild destroyed hospitals and control COVID-19 through expanding testing and treatment, buying urgently needed medicines and protecting health care workers.


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