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Virus to vaccine: A COVID-19 timeline

June 2020 


June 1 Cases—PSU: 1 / Oregon: 4,300 / U.S.: 1.8 million


Oregon begins reopening in phases

On June 19, Multnomah County was the last county in Oregon to move into phase 1 of Governor Kate Brown’s three part reopening plan, allowing bars and restaurants to reopen for indoor dining—with new safety precautions in place—for the first time since the beginning of the lockdown. 


July 2020


July 1 Cases—PSU: 1 / Oregon: 8,900 / U.S.: 2.8 million


Remote learning continues

On July 1, PSU President Stephen Percy and Provost Susan Jeffords announced the Fall Flex plan, which includes a limited number of in person courses offered in the upcoming term. A smaller sample of courses would be offered as “Flex” courses, allowing students to choose the format they preferred. 


Moderna releases its results of the first vaccine trial tested in humans on July 14, with promising results


August 2020


August 1 Cases—PSU: 1 / Oregon: 18.8 thousand / U.S.: 4.8 million


September 2020


Sept. 1 Cases—PSU: 2 / Oregon: 26.9 thousand / U.S.: 6.4 million


October 2020


Oct. 1 Cases—PSU: 2 / Oregon: 33,900 / U.S.: 7.6 million


COVID-19 outbreak at the White House

In early October, a coronavirus outbreak occurred in the White House and the president’s inner circle, and on Oct. 2, then President Donald Trump tested positive. Trump was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center the same day, while the White House insisted the president had “mild symptoms.” Trump later returned to the White House on Oct. 5. According to The New York Times, more than two dozen other positive cases were tied to the White House or Trump during this time. 


Remote learning continues

PSU announced on Oct. 13 that remote learning, with similar limited in-person options as fall term, would continue into the winter term. 


November 2020


Nov. 1 Cases—PSU: 6 / Oregon: 45,400 / U.S.: 9.6 million


Oregon’s reopening effort halts amid rising case numbers

On November 13, in response to rising cases in Oregon, Brown announced a two-week, statewide “freeze” to slow the spread. 


After the freeze, certain counties were designated “extreme risk counties” and continue to face stricter restrictions than lower risk counties. In November, the majority of Oregon counties fell in the extreme risk categories, while others fell into “high,” “moderate” or “low” risk categories.


Vaccine trials conclude with positive results

Moderna and Pfizer released the phase three trial results of their vaccines two days apart, on Nov. 16 and 18 respectively. Both vaccines were administered in two doses weeks apart, and were found to be 94.5% effective from Moderna, and 95% effective from Pfizer.  


December 2020 


Dec. 1 Cases—PSU: 23 / Oregon: 76,600 / U.S.: 14.2 million


A new variant of the virus is discovered

A new, mutated variant of COVID-19 was discovered in the United Kingdom in mid-December. The World Health Organization announced the new strain appeared to be more infectious, but didn’t anticipate it affecting the vaccination effort. 


The first two vaccines are granted authorization by the FDA

On Dec. 11, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine became the first to be granted emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), allowing the vaccine to be distributed to the public. The Moderna vaccines received this authorization shortly after on Dec. 18.


Vaccine distribution begins

Nationwide distribution of the vaccines began in late December with healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents, after the CDC recommended those groups to be the first.


January 2021


Jan. 1 Cases—PSU: 33 / Oregon: 115,300 / U.S.: 20.8 million


Another new variant of the virus


Another new variant of COVID-19 was found in Brazil, called the P.1 variant. The variant, similar to the one first found the UK, was also found to be more infectious, and has infected those previously immune to the virus. 


January 21 marks one year since the first coronavirus case was found in the U.S.


Remote learning continues—until fall

Percy announced on Jan. 25 PSU courses would continue to be held primarily online during the spring and summer terms, but primarily in person in the fall term—so long as the ongoing vaccination efforts would make it safe to do so. 


The next vaccination group

Teachers and childcare workers were the next group to receive vaccines in Oregon after healthcare workers. Brown announced teachers and childcare workers will be vaccinated ahead of the elderly, a controversial decision that went against the recommendations of the CDC. 


February 2021


Feb. 1 Cases—PSU: 41 / Oregon: 143,400 / U.S.: 27 million


Oregon releases vaccine timeline

Brown and the OHA released a long term timeline for statewide vaccine eligibility Feb. 26, initially promising to have all Oregonians over the age of 16 eligible before July 1. Frontline workers, including university workers, would be eligible before May 1. 


Congress passes another stimulus package

The $1.9 trillion relief legislation was passed by Congress and signed into law by Biden, beginning the allocation of stimulus checks nationwide—$1,400 for individuals and $2,800 for married couples, with an additional $1,400 per dependent.


The legislation also provided additional money for schools—$130 billion to K-12 schools and $40 billion to colleges and universities. As part of the bill, at least half of the money allocated to higher education must be used on emergency grants for students, according to Inside Higher Ed.


FDA authorizes third vaccine

On Feb. 27, the FDA granted emergency authorization to a third vaccine, this time by the Johnson & Johnson company—the first to be administered in a single dose. 

February 28 marks one year since the first coronavirus case was found in Oregon.


March 2021


Total at PSU as of March 22: 46 cases


Total in Oregon as of March 28: 164,000 cases, 2,375 deaths

Total vaccinations as of March 28: 460,800 vaccines in progress, 645,000 fully vaccinated


Total in U.S. as of March 28: 30 million cases, 546,100 deaths

Total vaccinations as of March 28: 93.6 million vaccines in progress, 51.6 million fully vaccinated


Multnomah County moves to moderate risk

Multnomah officially moved to a moderate risk level for COVID-19 on March 9, further reducing restrictions on indoor services. As of March 29, only two counties—Douglas and Coos—are left in the extreme risk category. Six are at high risk, 14 are at moderate risk and 14 are at lower risk. 


Oregon accelerates its vaccine timeline

Biden announced in early March all American adults would be eligible to receive the vaccine before May 1, as part of the president’s plan to have the country return to normal by the Fourth of July. However, initially, Oregon’s eligibility timeline would not change to match. Brown announced shortly after the president’s pledge that Oregon’s timeline would only change once Oregon received more shipments of vaccines from the federal government—enough to make the adjustment possible. 


On March 26, Oregon’s eligibility timeline changed, after direction from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service and a promise that more shipments would be made available, according to AP News


According to the new timeline, all Oregon adults—still 16 years old or older—would be eligible for the vaccine by May 1. 


The next group, group 6, could be eligible for vaccinations as early as March 29, which includes adults over 45 with underlying conditions, migrants and seasonal farm workers, Oregonians displaced by wildfires and the houseless, among others. 


Group 7, which includes frontline workers and adults over 16 with underlying conditions, will be eligible on April 5. Frontline workers, as defined by the CDC, also includes university workers. 


PSU released a statement regarding the accelerated timeline for university workers in particular. Included in the email was the announcement that the Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) has been approved as a vaccination site; However, it is still awaiting vaccination supplies.