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The day began with the President receiving is daily economic and security briefing.The President then delivered remarks on the budget. The President called for saving in the budget and described a number of savings that could save over $17 Billion Dollars. Remarks
The President then met with his advisors.
The President then hosted on a meeting on education reform. Attending the meeting were Rebv Al Sharpton, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Speaker Newt Gingrich.
The President then met with Chair of the Council of Eaconomic Advisors Christina Romer.
He then met with Secreatry of State Hillary Clinton. The President and the Secretary of State then met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Encyclopaedia Britannica / UIG / Getty Images
In 1814, during the third year of the War of 1812, England, having fended off its own threat of invasion by France under Napoleon Bonaparte, focused its extensive military might on reclaiming vast areas of the still weakly defended United States.
On August 24, 1814, after defeating the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg, British forces attacked Washington, D.C., setting fire to many government buildings, including the White House. President James Madison and most of his administration fled the city and spent the night in Brookville, Maryland known today as the "United States Capital for a Day."
A mere 31 years after winning their independence in the Revolutionary War, Americans awoke on August 24, 1814, to see their national capital burning to the ground and occupied by the British. The next day, heavy rains put out the fires.
The burning of Washington, while terrifying and embarrassing to Americans, spurred the U.S. military to turn back further British advances. Ratification of the Treaty of Ghent on February 17, 1815, ended the War of 1812, and is celebrated by many Americans as the "second war of independence."
Prehistoric lunar calendar Edit
The original Roman calendar is believed to have been an observational lunar calendar  whose months began from the first signs of a new crescent moon. Because a lunar cycle is about 29 + 1 ⁄ 2 days long, such months would have varied between 29 and 30 days . Twelve such months would have fallen 10 or 11 days short of the solar year without adjustment, such a year would have quickly rotated out of alignment with the seasons in the manner of the Islamic calendar. Given the seasonal aspects of the later calendar and its associated religious festivals, this was presumably avoided through some form of intercalation or the suspension of the calendar during winter.
Rome's 8-day week, the nundinal cycle, was shared with the Etruscans, who used it as the schedule of royal audiences. It was presumably a part of the early calendar and was credited in Roman legend variously to Romulus and Servius Tullius.
Legendary 10 month calendar Edit
The Romans themselves described their first organized year as one with ten fixed months, each of 30 or 31 days .   Such a decimal division fitted general Roman practice.  The four 31 day months were called "full" (pleni) and the others "hollow" (cavi).   Its 304 days made up exactly 38 nundinal cycles. The system is usually said to have left the remaining 50 odd days of the year as an unorganized "winter", although Licinius Macer's lost history apparently stated the earliest Roman calendar employed intercalation instead   and Macrobius claims the 10 month calendar was allowed to shift until the summer and winter months were completely misplaced, at which time additional days belonging to no month were simply inserted into the calendar until it seemed things were restored to their proper place.  
Later Roman writers credited this calendar to Romulus,   their legendary first king and culture hero, although this was common with other practices and traditions whose origin had been lost to them. Some scholars doubt the existence of this calendar at all, as it is only attested in late Republican and Imperial sources and supported only by the misplaced names of the months from September to December.  Rüpke also finds the coincidence of the length of the supposed "Romulan" year with the length of the first ten months of the Julian calendar to be suspicious. [ clarification needed ] 
|March||Mensis Martius||Month of Mars||31|
|April||Mensis Aprilis||Month of Apru (Aphrodite) ||0|
|May||Mensis Maius||Month of Maia ||31|
|June||Mensis Iunius||Month of Juno||30|
|July||Mensis Quintilis |
Mensis Quinctilis 
|August||Mensis Sextilis||Sixth Month||30|
|September||Mensis September||Seventh Month||30|
|October||Mensis October||Eighth Month||31|
|November||Mensis November||Ninth Month||30|
|December||Mensis December||Tenth Month||30|
|length of the year:||304|
Other traditions existed alongside this one, however. Plutarch's Parallel Lives recounts that Romulus's calendar had been solar but adhered to the general principle that the year should last for 360 days. Months were employed secondarily and haphazardly, with some counted as 20 days and others as 35 or more.  
Republican calendar Edit
The Romans did not follow the usual Greek practice in alternating 29- and 30-day months and a 29- or 30-day intercalary month every other year. Instead, their 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 8th months [a] had 31 days each all the other months had 29 days except February, which had 28 days in common years, for a total of 355 days. The Roman intercalary month always had 27 days, but was placed within the month of February alternating between after the Terminalia on the 23rd (a.d. VII Kal. Mart.), and after the following day on the 24th the remaining days of February were replaced by the corresponding days of Mercedonius  (these last 6 or 7 days of February were actually named and counted inclusively in days before the calends of March and were traditionally part of the celebration for the new year). This seems to have arisen from Roman superstitions concerning the numbering and order of the months. [ citation needed ] The arrangement of the Roman calendar similarly seems to have arisen from Pythagorean superstitions concerning the luckiness of odd numbers. 
These Pythagorean-based changes to the Roman calendar were generally credited by the Romans to Numa Pompilius, Romulus's successor and the second of Rome's seven kings, [ citation needed ] as were the two new months of the calendar.   [b] Most sources thought he had established intercalation with the rest of his calendar. [ citation needed ] Although Livy's Numa instituted a lunar calendar, the author claimed the king had instituted a 19-year system of intercalation equivalent to the Metonic cycle  centuries before its development by Babylonian and Greek astronomers. [c] Plutarch's account claims he ended the former chaos of the calendar by employing 12 months totaling 354 days—the length of the lunar and Greek years—and biennial intercalary months of 22 days.  
According to Livy's Periochae, the beginning of the consular year changed from March to January 1 in 153 BC to respond to a rebellion in Hispania.  Plutarch believed Numa was responsible for placing January and February first in the calendar   Ovid states January began as the first month and February the last, with its present order owing to the Decemvirs.   W. Warde Fowler believed the Roman priests continued to treat January and February as the last months of the calendar throughout the Republican period. 
According to the later writers Censorinus and Macrobius, to correct the mismatch of the correspondence between months and seasons due to the excess of one day of the Roman average year over the solar year, the insertion of the intercalary month was modified according to the scheme: common year (355 days), leap year with 22-day Mercedonius (377 days), common year, leap year with 23-day Mercedonius (378 days), and so on for the first 16 years of a 24-year cycle. In the last 8 years, the intercalation took place with the month of Mercedonius only 22 days, except the last intercalation which did not happen. Hence, there would be a typical common year followed by a leap year of 377 days for the next 6 years and the remaining 2 years would sequentially be common years. The result of this twenty-four-year pattern was of great precision for the time: 365.25 days, as shown by the following calculation:
The consuls' terms of office were not always a modern calendar year, but ordinary consuls were elected or appointed annually. The traditional list of Roman consuls used by the Romans to date their years began in 509 BC. 
Flavian reform Edit
Gnaeus Flavius, a secretary (scriba) to censor App. Claudius Caecus, introduced a series of reforms in 304 BC.  Their exact nature is uncertain, although he is thought to have begun the custom of publishing the calendar in advance of the month, depriving the priests of some of their power but allowing for a more consistent calendar for official business. 
Julian reform Edit
Julius Caesar, following his victory in his civil war and in his role as pontifex maximus, ordered a reformation of the calendar in 46 BC. This was undertaken by a group of scholars apparently including the Alexandrian Sosigenes  and the Roman M. Flavius.   Its main lines involved the insertion of ten additional days throughout the calendar and regular intercalation of a single leap day every fourth year to bring the Roman calendar into close agreement with the solar year. The year 46 BC was the last of the old system and included 3 intercalary months, the first inserted in February and two more—Intercalaris Prior and Posterior—before the kalends of December.
Later reforms Edit
After Caesar's assassination, Mark Antony had Caesar's birth month Quintilis renamed July (Iulius) in his honor. After Antony's defeat at Actium, Augustus assumed control of Rome and, finding the priests had (owing to their inclusive counting) been intercalating every third year instead of every fourth, suspended the addition of leap days to the calendar for one or two decades until its proper position had been restored. See Julian calendar: Leap year error. In 8 BC, the plebiscite Lex Pacuvia de Mense Augusto renamed Sextilis August (Augustus) in his honor.    [d]
In large part, this calendar continued unchanged under the Roman Empire. (Egyptians used the related Alexandrian calendar, which Augustus had adapted from their wandering ancient calendar to maintain its alignment with Rome's.) A few emperors altered the names of the months after themselves or their family, but such changes were abandoned by their successors. Diocletian began the 15-year indiction cycles beginning from the AD 297 census  these became the required format for official dating under Justinian. Constantine formally established the 7-day week by making Sunday an official holiday in 321. [ citation needed ] Consular dating became obsolete following the abandonment of appointing nonimperial consuls in AD 541.  The Roman method of numbering the days of the month never became widespread in the Hellenized eastern provinces and was eventually abandoned by the Byzantine Empire in its calendar.
Roman dates were counted inclusively forward to the next one of three principal days within each month: 
- Kalends (Kalendae or Kal.), the 1st day of each month 
- Nones (Nonae or Non.), the 7th day of full months  and 5th day of hollow ones,  8 days—"nine" by Roman reckoning—before the Ides in every month
- Ides (Idus, variously Eid. or Id.), the 15th day of full months  and the 13th day of hollow ones,  one day earlier than the middle of each month.
These are thought to reflect a prehistoric lunar calendar, with the kalends proclaimed after the sighting of the first sliver of the new crescent moon a day or two after the new moon, the nones occurring on the day of the first-quarter moon, and the ides on the day of the full moon. The kalends of each month were sacred to Juno and the ides to Jupiter.   The day before each was known as its eve (pridie) the day after each (postridie) was considered particularly unlucky.
The days of the month were expressed in early Latin using the ablative of time, denoting points in time, in the contracted form "the 6th December Kalends" (VI Kalendas Decembres).  In classical Latin, this use continued for the three principal days of the month  but other days were idiomatically expressed in the accusative case, which usually expressed a duration of time, and took the form "6th day before the December Kalends" (ante diem VI Kalendas Decembres). This anomaly may have followed the treatment of days in Greek,  reflecting the increasing use of such date phrases as an absolute phrase able to function as the object of another preposition,  or simply originated in a mistaken agreement of dies with the preposition ante once it moved to the beginning of the expression.  In late Latin, this idiom was sometimes abandoned in favor of again using the ablative of time.
The kalends were the day for payment of debts and the account books (kalendaria) kept for them gave English its word calendar. The public Roman calendars were the fasti, which designated the religious and legal character of each month's days. The Romans marked each day of such calendars with the letters: 
- F (fastus, "permissible") on days when it was legal to initiate action in the courts of civil law (dies fasti, "allowed days")
- C (comitialis) on fasti days during which the Roman people could hold assemblies (dies comitiales)
- N (nefastus) on days when political and judicial activities were prohibited (dies nefasti)
- NP (uncertain) [e] on public holidays (feriae)
- QRCF (uncertain) [f] on days when the "king" (rex sacrorum) could convene an assembly
- EN (endotercissus, an archaic form of intercissus, "halved") on days when most political and religious activities were prohibited in the morning and evening due to sacrifices being prepared or offered but were acceptable for a period in the middle of the day
Each day was also marked by a letter from A to H to indicate its place within the nundinal cycle of market days.
The nundinae were the market days which formed a kind of weekend in Rome, Italy, and some other parts of Roman territory. By Roman inclusive counting, they were reckoned as "ninth days" although they actually occurred every eighth day. Because the republican and Julian years were not evenly divisible into eight-day periods, Roman calendars included a column giving every day of the year a nundinal letter from A to H marking its place in the cycle of market days. Each year, the letter used for the markets would shift 2–5 letters along the cycle. As a day when the city swelled with rural plebeians, they were overseen by the aediles and took on an important role in Roman legislation, which was supposed to be announced for three nundinal weeks (between 17 and 24 days ) in advance of its coming to a vote. The patricians and their clients sometimes exploited this fact as a kind of filibuster, since the tribunes of the plebs were required to wait another three-week period if their proposals could not receive a vote before dusk on the day they were introduced. Superstitions arose concerning the bad luck that followed a nundinae on the nones of a month or, later, on the first day of January. Intercalation was supposedly used to avoid such coincidences, even after the Julian reform of the calendar.
The 7-day week began to be observed in Italy in the early imperial period,  as practitioners and converts to eastern religions introduced Hellenistic and Babylonian astrology, the Jewish Saturday sabbath, and the Christian Lord's Day. The system was originally used for private worship and astrology but had replaced the nundinal week by the time Constantine made Sunday (dies Solis) an official day of rest in AD 321. The hebdomadal week was also reckoned as a cycle of letters from A to G these were adapted for Christian use as the dominical letters.
The names of Roman months originally functioned as adjectives (e.g., the January kalends occur in the January month) before being treated as substantive nouns in their own right (e.g., the kalends of January occur in January). Some of their etymologies are well-established: January and March honor the gods Janus  and Mars  July and August honor Julius Caesar  and his successor, the emperor Augustus  and the months Quintilis,  Sextilis,  September,  October,  November,  and December  are archaic adjectives formed from the ordinal numbers from 5 to 10 , their position in the calendar when it began around the spring equinox in March.  Others are uncertain. February may derive from the Februa festival or its eponymous februa ("purifications, expiatory offerings"), whose name may be either Sabine or preserve an archaic word for sulphuric.  April may relate to the Etruscan goddess Apru or the verb aperire ("to open"). [ citation needed ] May and June may honor Maia  and Juno  or derive from archaic terms for "senior" and "junior". A few emperors attempted to add themselves to the calendar after Augustus, but without enduring success.
In classical Latin, the days of each month were usually reckoned as: 
Dates after the ides count forward to the kalends of the next month and are expressed as such. For example, March 19 was expressed as "the 14th day before the April Kalends" (a.d. XIV Kal. Apr.), without a mention of March itself. The day after a kalends, nones, or ides was also often expressed as the "day after" (postridie) owing to their special status as particularly unlucky "black days".
The anomalous status of the new 31-day months under the Julian calendar was an effect of Caesar's desire to avoid affecting the festivals tied to the nones and ides of various months. However, because the dates at the ends of the month all counted forward to the next kalends, they were all shifted by one or two days by the change. This created confusion with regard to certain anniversaries. For instance, Augustus's birthday on the 23rd day of September was a.d. VIII Kal. Oct. in the old calendar but a.d. IX Kal. Oct. under the new system. The ambiguity caused honorary festivals to be held on either or both dates.
The Republican calendar only had 355 days, which meant that it would quickly unsynchronize from the solar year, causing, for example, agricultural festivals to occur out of season. The Roman solution to this problem was to periodically lengthen the calendar by adding extra days within February. February was broken into two parts, each with an odd number of days. The first part ended with the Terminalia on the 23rd (a.d. VII Kal. Mart.), which was considered the end of the religious year the five remaining days beginning with the Regifugium on the 24th (a.d. VI Kal. Mart.) formed the second part and the intercalary month Mercedonius was inserted between them. In such years, the days between the ides and the Regifugium were counted down to either the Intercalary Kalends or to the Terminalia. The intercalary month counted down to nones and ides on its 5th and 13th day in the manner of the other short months. The remaining days of the month counted down towards the March Kalends, so that the end of Mercedonius and the second part of February were indistinguishable to the Romans, one ending on a.d. VII Kal. Mart. and the other picking up at a.d. VI Kal. Mart. and bearing the normal festivals of such dates.
Apparently because of the confusion of these changes or uncertainty as to whether an intercalary month would be ordered, dates after the February ides are attested as sometimes counting down towards the Quirinalia (Feb. 17), the Feralia (Feb. 21), or the Terminalia (Feb. 23)  rather than the intercalary or March kalends.
The third-century writer Censorinus says:
When it was thought necessary to add (every two years) an intercalary month of 22 or 23 days , so that the civil year should correspond to the natural (solar) year, this intercalation was in preference made in February, between the Terminalia [23rd] and Regifugium [24th]. 
The fifth-century writer Macrobius says that the Romans intercalated 22 and 23 days in alternate years (Saturnalia, 1.13.12) the intercalation was placed after 23 February and the remaining five days of February followed (Saturnalia, 1.13.15). To avoid the nones falling on a nundine, where necessary an intercalary day was inserted "in the middle of the Terminalia, where they placed the intercalary month". 
This is historically correct. In 167 BC Intercalaris began on the day after 23 February  and in 170 BC it began on the second day after 23 February.  Varro, writing in the first century BC, says "the twelfth month was February, and when intercalations take place the five last days of this month are removed."  Since all the days after the Ides of Intercalaris were counted down to the beginning of March Intercalaris had either 27 days (making 377 for the year) or 28 (making 378 for the year).
There is another theory which says that in intercalary years February had 23 or 24 days and Intercalaris had 27. No date is offered for the Regifugium in 378-day years.  Macrobius describes a further refinement whereby, in one 8-year period within a 24-year cycle, there were only three intercalary years, each of 377 days. This refinement brings the calendar back in line with the seasons, and averages the length of the year to 365.25 days over 24 years.
The Pontifex Maximus determined when an intercalary month was to be inserted. On average, this happened in alternate years. The system of aligning the year through intercalary months broke down at least twice: the first time was during and after the Second Punic War. It led to the reform of the 191 BC Acilian Law on Intercalation, the details of which are unclear, but it appears to have successfully regulated intercalation for over a century. The second breakdown was in the middle of the first century BC and may have been related to the increasingly chaotic and adversarial nature of Roman politics at the time. The position of Pontifex Maximus was not a full-time job it was held by a member of the Roman elite, who would almost invariably be involved in the machinations of Roman politics. Because the term of office of elected Roman magistrates was defined in terms of a Roman calendar year, a Pontifex Maximus would have reason to lengthen a year in which he or his allies were in power or shorten a year in which his political opponents held office.
As mentioned above, Rome's legendary 10-month calendar notionally lasted for 304 days but was usually thought to make up the rest of the solar year during an unorganized winter period. The unattested but almost certain lunar year and the pre-Julian civil year were 354 or 355 days long, with the difference from the solar year more or less corrected by an irregular intercalary month. The Julian year was 365 days long, with a leap day doubled in length every fourth year, almost equivalent to the present Gregorian system.
The calendar era before and under the Roman kings is uncertain but dating by regnal years was common in antiquity. Under the Roman Republic, from 509 BC, years were most commonly described in terms of their reigning ordinary consuls.  (Temporary and honorary consuls were sometimes elected or appointed but were not used in dating.)  Consular lists were displayed on the public calendars. After the institution of the Roman Empire, regnal dates based on the emperors' terms in office became more common. Some historians of the later republic and early imperial eras dated from the legendary founding of the city of Rome (ab urbe condita or AVC ).  Varro's date for this was 753 BC but other writers used different dates, varying by several decades. [ citation needed ] Such dating was, however, never widespread. After the consuls waned in importance, most Roman dating was regnal  or followed Diocletian's 15-year Indiction tax cycle.  These cycles were not distinguished, however, so that "year 2 of the indiction" may refer to any of 298, 313, 328, &c.  The Orthodox subjects of the Byzantine Empire used various Christian eras, including those based on Diocletian's persecutions, Christ's incarnation, and the supposed age of the world.
The Romans did not have records of their early calendars but, like modern historians, assumed the year originally began in March on the basis of the names of the months following June. The consul M. Fulvius Nobilior (r. 189 BC) wrote a commentary on the calendar at the Temple of Hercules Musarum that claimed January had been named for Janus because the god faced both ways,  [ where? ] suggesting it had been instituted as a first month. [ citation needed ] It was, however, usually said to have been instituted along with February, whose nature and festivals suggest it had originally been considered the last month of the year. The consuls' term of office—and thus the order of the years under the republic—seems to have changed several times. Their inaugurations were finally moved to 1 January (Kal. Ian.) in 153 BC to allow Q. Fulvius Nobilior to attack Segeda in Spain during the Celtiberian Wars, before which they had occurred on 15 March (Eid. Mart.).  There is reason to believe the inauguration date had been 1 May during the 3rd century BC until 222 BC [ citation needed ] and Livy mentions earlier inaugurations on 15 May (Eid. Mai.), 1 July (Kal. Qui.), 1 August (Kal. Sex.), 1 October (Kal. Oct.), and 15 December (Eid. Dec.).  [ where? ] Under the Julian calendar, the year began on 1 January but years of the Indiction cycle began on 1 September.
In addition to Egypt's separate calendar, some provinces maintained their records using a local era.  Africa dated its records sequentially from 39 BC  Spain from AD 38. [ citation needed ] This dating system continued as the Spanish era used in medieval Spain. [ citation needed ]
The continuity of names from the Roman to the Gregorian calendar can lead to the mistaken belief that Roman dates correspond to Julian or Gregorian ones. In fact, the essentially complete list of Roman consuls allows general certainty of years back to the establishment of the republic but the uncertainty as to the end of lunar dating and the irregularity of Roman intercalation means that dates which can be independently verified are invariably weeks to months outside of their "proper" place. Two astronomical events dated by Livy show the calendar 4 months out of alignment with the Julian date in 190 BC and 2 months out of alignment in 168 BC. Thus, "the year of the consulship of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus and Publius Licinius Crassus" (usually given as "205 BC") actually began on 15 March 205 BC and ended on 14 March 204 BC according to the Roman calendar but may have begun as early as November or December 206 BC owing to its misalignment. Even following the establishment of the Julian calendar, the leap years were not applied correctly by the Roman priests, meaning dates are a few days out of their "proper" place until a few decades into Augustus's reign.
8 Days a Week? Julian Calendar History
Assumptions are dangerous &ndash especially when they are made in the realm of religion. If a theological belief is based upon a faulty assumption, the religious practice will be in error. The most common assumptions in Christendom are that Saturday is the Scriptural Sabbath, and Sunday is the day on which Yahushua was resurrected. These beliefs are built upon another assumption: that the modern week has cycled continuously and without interruption ever since Creation. The facts of the Julian calendar, however, prove these assumptions false.
The Julian calendar was established in 45 B.C. Like the calendar of the Roman Republic before it, the early Julian calendar had an eight day week! Days of the week on the Republican and early Julian calendars were assigned letters: A through H. All early Julian calendars (fasti) still in existence date from 63 B.C. to A.D. 37.
An eight-day week is clearly discernable on these stone fragments.
Reconstruction of Fasti Antiates, the only calendar of the Roman Republic still in existence. 1
As the Roman Empire expanded, it came into contact with Mithraism, which quickly became a popular religious cult in Rome. Mithraism brought a seven-day week with days named after planetary gods.
&ldquoIt is not to be doubted that the diffusion of the Iranian [Persian] mysteries has had a considerable part in the general adoption, by the pagans, of the week with the Sunday as a holy day. The names which we employ, unawares, for the other six days, came into use at the same time that Mithraism won its followers in the provinces in the West, and one is not rash in establishing a relation of coincidence between its triumph and that concomitant phenomenon.&rdquo (Franz Cumont, Textes et Monuments Figures Relatifs aux Mysteres de Mithra, Vol. I, p. 112.)
&ldquoThe pre-eminence assigned to the dies Solis [day of the Sun] also certainly contributed to the general recognition of Sunday as a holiday. This is connected with a more important fact, namely, the adoption of the week by all the European nations.&rdquo (Franz Cumont, Astrology and Religion Among the Greeks and Romans, p. 163, emphasis supplied.)
Sunday cannot be the day on which Yahushua arose from the dead, because Sunday did not exist in the eight-day Julian week of His day. Furthermore, Saturday cannot be the true Scriptural Sabbath because the seven-day planetary week originally began on Saturn&rsquos day!
The Baths of Titus, in Rome, were built A.D. 79-81. A stick calendar was found there which clearly shows Saturn, god of agriculture, as god of the first day of the week.
Roman Stick Calendar
Dies Solis, or Sun&rsquos day, can be seen as the second day of the week. Luna, the moon-goddess wearing the crescent moon as a diadem, is the third day of the week. The week ends on Venus&rsquo day, dies Veneris, which corresponds to modern Friday, then the seventh-day of the week.
The pagan planetary week, like the Julian calendar that adopted it, is irreparably pagan. Historical facts reveal that neither the Scriptural Sabbath nor the Scriptural First Day can be found using the modern calendar. If it is important to worship on a specific day, than it is also important to use the correct, Scriptural calendar to count to that day.
The luni-solar calendar of Creation, using both sun and moon, is the only means to establish the true seventh-day Sabbath and the correct day of Christ&rsquos resurrection.
&ldquoHe appointed the moon for seasons.&rdquo Psalm 104:19
Seasons 2 : mo&rsquoedim. The worshipping assemblies of Yahuwah&rsquos people.
There were two calendars available to the Israelites of Yahushua&rsquos day:
- The pagan, solar Julian calendar with its eight-day week
- The Biblical, luni-solar Hebrew calendar with a seven-day week and a weekly cycle that restarted with each new moon.
Which calendar do you think the Israelites (and Yahushua) used?
The day on which you worship, dictated by which calendar you use, reveals who you are worshipping.
1 Palazzo Massimo Alle Terme, ed. Adriano La Regina, 1998.
2 "Since the Jewish festivals occurred at regular intervals, this word becomes closely identified with them . . . Mo'ed is used in a broad sense for all religious assemblies. It was closely associated with the tabernacle itself . . . [Yahuwah] met Israel there at specific times for the purpose of revealing His will. It is a common term for the worshiping assembly of . . . [Yahuwah's] people." (See #4150, "Lexical Aids to the Old Testament," Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, KJV.)
Day eight of the second 100 days - History
Did you know? In 1890, when the government first tracked workers' hours, the average workweek for full-time manufacturing employees was 100 hours and 102 hours for building tradesmen.
The Roots of the Eight-hour Day Movement
Around the turn of the twentieth century, a popular movement for the eight-hour day in the U.S. rippled from coast to coast. At least fifty years earlier, working Americans were pushing for a ten-hour day standard. But by the 1880s, many Americans called for an even shorter workday of eight-hours.
Groups of laborers across the country, from cobblers and garment cutters to machinists and carpenters, began organizing Knights of Labor assemblies, which called for better working conditions. At this time, there were lingering signs of a general depression in the U.S. caused in part by a stock market crash in 1873 when more than 5,000 businesses bottomed-out. Unemployment and declining wages triggered growing resistance among laborers, according to Jeremy Brecher, author of Strike!. Many believed that shortening the workday to eight hours would reduce unemployment by spreading work among more people.
In 1886, the Knights of Labor had more than 700,000 members. That year there was also an explosion of strikes nationwide and trade unionists took up shorter working hours as yet another demand. Out of both of these growing movements, interest in a national general strike for the eight-hour day grew.
May Day Strike and Mayhem
"Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest and eight hours for what you will."
--A slogan of the Eight-hour Day movement.
May 1, 1886, was the deadline that unions and other worker organizations set for a national general strike. A number of eight-hour strikes broke out ahead of time with almost a quarter of a million people participating nationwide. The heart and the height of the turn-of-the-century eight-hour movement was in Chicago, where thousands had already won reduced hours. On May 1, 10,000 people struck in Chicago in a peaceful action. But tensions between law enforcement and demonstrators escalated as the strikes continued in the following days. At one May 3rd action, where unionists attacked men who had crossed the picket line in a local labor dispute, police opened fire, killing four demonstrators. Outrage over the killings triggered about 1,000 people to take to the streets that night. That demonstration, remembered as the Haymarket Square Rally, also ended in bloodshed.
Just as the last speaker of the Haymarket rally concluded his speech, a dynamite bomb exploded among nearby police ranks, killing one officer. Almost immediately, the police force began opening fire on the crowd. One demonstrator died and many others were wounded. Eight agitators were arrested for the bombing and tried in an atmosphere of hysteria. Four of them eventually were hanged, though there was virtually no evidence connecting them to the bombing.
Brecher, J. Strike!. South End Press Classics, 1997.
Whaples, R. "Winning the Eight-hour Day, 1909-1919." The Journal of Economic History, Vol. L, No. 2, June 1990.
Foner, P. May Day: A short history of the international workers' holiday. International Publishers, 1986.
Can I do anything ahead of time to reduce any side effects from the vaccine?
You should wait until after being vaccinated to see how you feel. If you do experience side effects, it is OK to take an over-the-counter drug (like Advil or Tylenol) to lower a fever, reduce chills, or relieve a headache or body aches. It&rsquos important that you do not take these drugs before getting your vaccine as there are theoretical concerns that some pain relieving drugs may interfere with the immune response to the vaccine. It is also unclear if taking medication ahead of time actually works to reduce post-vaccine symptoms.
COVID-19 — a timeline of the coronavirus outbreak
On Dec. 31, 2019, Chinese authorities alerted the World Health Organization of pneumonia cases in Wuhan City, Hubei province, China, with an unknown cause. What started as a mystery disease was first referred to as 2019-nCoV and then named COVID-19.
We’ve lifted our paywall on all COVID-19 coverage. For more in-depth global development coverage, support our journalism with a Pro subscription.
The timeline below tracks the development of the outbreak in 2021. For earlier developments, visit Devex’s COVID-19 timeline for 2020.
Total cases as of June 22: 178,794,776, with 3,873,985 deaths.
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June 21 — Cuba releases efficacy results for another vaccine candidate. Abdala, a three-dose COVID-19 vaccine, has an efficacy of 92.28%, based on analysis of phase III trial data. An emergency use authorization will soon be requested for the vaccine, developed by Cuba’s Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, according to a news release by state-run BioCubaFarma.
June 20 — Preliminary analysis of phase III trial results of Soberana 2, one of Cuba’s COVID-19 vaccine candidates, show an efficacy of 62%. The vaccine is currently being administered in the country.
June 18 — COVID-19 cases in Africa have increased by 52% in the past week and deaths have increased by 32%, says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a press conference, adding that less than 1% of the population on the continent has been vaccinated.
"And we expect things to only get worse," he says.
June 16 — German company CureVac’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate has shown low efficacy of 47% against any COVID-19 disease severity, according to a second interim analysis of the result of its Phase 2b/3 trial. The analysis suggests the efficacy is based on age of trial participant and COVID-19 variant. While the results “suggest efficacy in younger participants,” the study was unable to conclude efficacy for those aged 60 years old and above. Of the 134 COVID-19 cases assessed for the analysis, only one case was linked to the original virus and 57% of the cases were caused by variants of concern.
The study enrolled approximately 40,000 participants across 10 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. CureVac CEO Dr. Franz-Werner Haas says in a news release that “While we were hoping for a stronger interim outcome, we recognize that demonstrating high efficacy in this unprecedented broad diversity of variants is challenging. As we are continuing toward the final analysis with a minimum of 80 additional cases, the overall vaccine efficacy may change.”
CureVac is also developing second-generation COVID-19 vaccines together with GSK.
The RECOVERY trial finds that Regeneron’s cocktail of monoclonal antibodies significantly reduced by one-fifth the risk of death for hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19 who are seronegative — without detected COVID-19 antibodies — based on preliminary results. However, it has shown no benefit for hospitalized patients who were seropositive — with detected COVID-19 antibodies — at the start of the trial.
June 14 — Novavax says its vaccine has an overall efficacy of 90.4%, according to results of its Phase 3 trial in the U.S. and Mexico. The vaccine is 100% effective against moderate and severe COVID-19, and 93.2% effective against COVID-19 variants of concern and interest.
The study enrolled over 29,000 participants, and observed 63 COVID-19 cases among those in the placebo control group, and 14 cases among individuals who received the vaccine. All cases in the vaccinated group were mild, while the placebo group had 10 moderate cases and four severe cases.
The company plans to file for regulatory approval in the third quarter of 2021, and says it “remains on track” to produce 100 million doses per month by the end of the third quarter, and 150 million doses per month by the end of 2021.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that the steep increase in cases on the African continent is “especially concerning, because it is the region with the least access to vaccines, diagnostics, and oxygen,” during a press conference.
June 13 — G-7 leaders commit to share at least 870 million COVID-19 vaccine doses “over the next year,” bringing G-7 commitments to a total of 1 billion doses. They aim to deliver at least half of the doses by the end of 2021 primarily through COVAX.
The G-7 also supports discussions for an extension of the ACT-Accelerator program in 2022, “noting the planned comprehensive review to optimise its effectiveness and accountability,” and calls for a “timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO-convened Phase 2 COVID-19 Origins study including, as recommended by the experts’ report, in China.”
The leaders will also “explore options for building consensus this year” on sustainable financing for global health and health security, according to the G-7 communique.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomes the donations, but says “we need more, and we need them faster.”
According to a ONE Campaign analysis, the G-7 1 billion doses commitment will only vaccinate 5.4% of the population in low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2021, and reach only 10.3% of the population in these countries by the time the next G-7 summit takes place in 2022.
COVAX aims to secure “as many shared doses as possible immediately” as it anticipates gaps between deliveries and countries’ ability to “absorb doses” to be “greatest” during the third quarter of 2021. It urges multilateral development banks to immediately release funding to help countries prepare their health systems for large-scale vaccine rollout.
June 10 — U.S. President Joe Biden's administration plans to buy 500 million doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine and donate them to more than 90 lower-income countries and the African Union. This is the largest vaccine donation by a single country and will include 200 million doses this year and 300 million doses next year.
Nearly 90% of African nations are set to miss the target of vaccinating 10% of their people by September, unless the continent receives 225 million more doses, according to a press release from the World Health Organization.
Fourteen African countries are “aggressively” heading towards a third wave of the pandemic, says Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong during a press conference. He adds that the variant originally reported in India has been reported in 13 African countries and is “getting a hold on the continent.”
Since the pandemic has begun, Facebook has removed more than 18 million pieces of content on Facebook and Instagram for violating the company’s COVID-19 and vaccine policies, says Luchen Foster, director of health partnerships at Facebook, during a news briefing.
June 8 — The Mastercard Foundation says it will donate $1.3 billion to help the African Union and Africa CDC to vaccinate millions of Africans and assist with the continent’s economic recovery over the next three years.
June 7 — Despite week-on-week global declines in COVID-19 infections for the past six weeks, there has been a 25% increase of the disease in Africa in the past week, says Bruce Aylward, coordinator and lead at the ACT-Accelerator, during a press briefing.
June 3 — Fifty-one countries have now received COVID-19 vaccines in Africa, and 48 million doses have been distributed across the continent. Of that number, 31 million doses have been used, accounting for over 60% of the doses administered there.
Three countries however have yet to receive doses, which includes Eritrea, Burundi, and Tanzania, according to Dr. Richard Mihigo, program area manager for immunization and vaccine development at WHO's Regional Office for Africa, during a press briefing.
The United States announces which countries will receive 25 million doses of the vaccines it has pledged to donate. Nearly 19 million doses will go to COVAX, with allocations broken down as follows: approximately 6 million doses to Latin America and the Caribbean, 7 million to Asia, and approximately 5 million to Africa. The remaining doses of over 6 million doses will directly be given to Mexico, Canada, and South Korea, as well as the West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo, Haiti, Georgia, Egypt, Jordan, India, Iraq, and Yemen. Doses will also be given to United Nations front-line workers.
June 2 — Mauritius approves use of Sputnik Light COVID-19 vaccine. This is the second, single-dose vaccine approved in the African continent after Johnson & Johnson’s.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation commits $50 million to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to support the purchase and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX. The foundation also calls on high-income countries to share at least 1 billion excess doses of vaccines to lower-income countries.
June 1 — WHO adds Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine to its emergency use list. To date, WHO has now given emergency use listing to six vaccines. The one developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford is listed with two additional manufacturers.
Togo receives about 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine from COVAX — becoming the third country in Africa to receive this type of vaccine, says John Nkengasong, director at the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, during a press conference on June 10.
May 31 — Following a government review, Peru revises its official COVID-19 death toll to 180,764, making it the country with the worst death rate per capita.
May 28 — The global death toll from COVID-19 surpasses 3.5 million.
May 27 — UNICEF signs agreement with Human Vaccine, a subsidiary of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, for supply of Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V. The agreement allows UNICEF to access up to 220 million doses of the vaccine for 2021. However, UNICEF’s procurement is dependent on the vaccine receiving WHO emergency use listing, and an advance purchase agreement with Gavi for COVAX.
COVAX partners publish a joint statement calling for funding, and for countries with “the largest supplies” of vaccine doses to share them now to COVAX.
The call is for countries to share at least 1 billion vaccine doses for 2021, based on an analysis of projected excess doses globally by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Even after sharing 1 billion doses, the analysis finds higher-income countries would still have enough to vaccinate 80% of their populations aged 12 years old and above in 2021.
May 25 — Only 8% of WHO's funding for its global COVID-19 response is flexible — down from 30% last year — while the rest has been earmarked, says Mike Ryan, executive director at the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, during the 74th World Health Assembly. In terms of the money received, the pandemic response also has a 70% funding shortfall.
“This underfunding and earmarking of funds risks paralyzing WHO’s ability to provide rapid and flexible support to countries and is already having consequences for current operations,” he says.
During these meetings, several countries call for WHO to take quick and independent action for the next steps of its study into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Sudan says it will return 72,000 vaccine doses of donated Oxford-Astrazeneca after deciding it cannot roll them out before they expire.
May 21 — Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance signs an advance purchase agreement with Johnson & Johnson for 200 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of the COVAX Facility, with the intention of supplying these doses to participating countries this year. Gavi is also in discussions with the company for an additional 300 million doses of the vaccine for delivery next year.
UNICEF appeals for $164 million for the COVID-19 response across South Asia for purchases such as oxygen, testing supplies, and personal protective equipment. The region accounts for half of the known new infections, and more than three people die every minute due to COVID-19. Apart from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives that are already witnessing a surge, UNICEF has also warned about similar crises in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bhutan.
COVID-19 deaths in Latin America and the Caribbean surpass 1 million. Five countries account for majority — almost 89% — of the deaths: 44.3% in Brazil, 22.1% in Mexico, 8.3% in Colombia, 7.3% in Argentina, and 6.7% in Peru. However, only 21.6% of the population in the region have been vaccinated to date, according to the Pan American Health Organization.
Italy commits 300 million euros to the Gavi COVAX AMC during the Global Health Summit, bringing total funding raised for the facility to over $7 billion, according to Gavi. Italy also announces the donation of 15 million vaccine doses by the end of 2021 to lower income economies, while France and Germany will each share 30 million excess vaccine doses.
May 20 — The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention releases data from a handful of countries examining anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, also known as serological testing, which provides insight into how many people have been previously infected by the virus. Sierra Leone had an overall prevalence of 2.8%, while Uganda had a 20.67% prevalence.
One of the key takeaways is that a significant proportion of African populations remain susceptible to the virus, says Dr. Justin Maeda, head of the division of surveillance and disease intelligence at Africa CDC.
A new One Health High-Level Expert Panel is launched to address the emergence of zoonotic diseases and prevent their spread. The panel will advise WHO, FAO, UNEP and the World Organisation for Animal Health in developing a long-term global plan of action to avert disease outbreaks such as Ebola, Zika, H5N1, and COVID-19.
Malawi destroys nearly 20,000 COVID-19 vaccines which had expired, even though WHO and the African Union said they would be safe to use until mid-July.
May 18 — Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla says in a statement that the institute will continue to scale up vaccine manufacturing and “prioritise India” as the country is currently experiencing a deadly surge in COVID-19 infections. The vaccine manufacturer, however, hopes to restart delivering doses to COVAX and other countries by the end of 2021. Poonawalla says the company has “never exported vaccines at the cost of the people in India,” and it remains committed to supporting the vaccination drive in the country.
Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman says the country will support African countries with about $1 billion in investments and loans this year to support their economic recoveries from the pandemic.
May 17 — The U.S. will share an additional 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses with other parts of the world in the coming six weeks, raising the nation’s commitment of donated doses to 80 million, says President Joe Biden.
The COVAX Facility has delivered about 65 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, but that number should have been at least 170 million, writes UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore in a press release. By next month, “the shortfall will near 190 million doses,” she adds.
COVID-19 does not register as a priority for the millions of people affected by the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region amid the myriad other threats they face, says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a press conference.
WHO's COVID-19 response plan is underfunded, Tedros says, and the vast majority of its existing funds are "ring-fenced" by donors for specific countries or activities. He makes a plea for flexible funding to respond to the pandemic in countries that urgently need help, such as Nepal.
Tedros calls on pharmaceutical companies to speed up delivery for doses promised to the COVAX Facility.
May 14 — During a press briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urges wealthy countries to donate COVID-19 vaccines to countries without access, through the COVAX Facility, instead of domestically expanding eligibility of vaccinations to adolescents. On May 13, the United States federal government recommended making the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available to those between 12 to 15 years old. Only 0.3% of vaccine supply is going to low-income countries.
Tedros says he was vaccinated this week.
He warns that the world is “on track for the second year of this pandemic to be far more deadly than the first.”
May 13 — A group of scientists published a letter calling for more investigation on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Theories of accidental release from a lab and zoonotic spillover both remain viable,” they say.
May 12 — The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response releases its much-awaited report retracing what happened in the COVID-19 response. The report finds delays from China in confirming to WHO a cluster of atypical pneumonia cases in December 2019. It also concludes WHO could have declared a public health emergency of international concern a week earlier — on Jan. 22, 2020.
The panel has both immediate and long-term recommendations to help bring an end to the pandemic, and for the world to prevent the next one.
The report follows the publication of another report by the review committee of the International Health Regulations, which concluded that an intermediate level of alert for health emergencies would not solve countries’ noncompliance to the IHR and WHO’s recommendations and advice.
May 10 — The coronavirus variant originally detected in India is considered a "variant of concern," says Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead on COVID-19 at WHO, during a press briefing.
May 8 — During an emergency summit for African health ministers, Benedict Oramah, president of the African Export-Import Bank, expresses concern that countries aren’t ordering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines the African Union has secured. The AU signed an agreement for up to 400 million doses of the vaccine, but only five countries have completed orders and time is running out before the AU needs to close its order book, he says.
Gavi CEO Dr. Seth Berkley says during the summit that the COVID-19 crisis in India means the COVAX Facility is 150 million vaccine doses behind schedule. That number will reach 190 million doses next month.
May 7 — The World Health Organization gives emergency use listing to Sinopharm, Beijing-made COVID-19 vaccine.
May 6 — Kenya, Morocco, and Uganda have reported cases of a COVID-19 variant originally found in India, says John Nkengasong, director at the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, during a press conference. The cases in Kenya and Morocco are still under investigation.
Only 54% of vaccine doses received by African Union member states have been administered, Nkengasong says. The countries have received 37.6 million doses and administered 20.2 million.
Nkengasong praises the U.S. announcement on waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines as a "remarkable expression of leadership.” For countries that don't support the waiver, he says, "When the history of this pandemic is written . we will remember not just the loud voices of those who did not support us, but we will also remember the silence of our friends in this battle."
The European Union is now willing to discuss a proposal to waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, says European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during a speech to the European University Institute.
May 5 — The U.S. administration supports a waiver of intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines, Trade Representative Katherine Tai announces.
Countries that continue to oppose the World Trade Organization IP waiver include Australia, Brazil, Canada, European Union nations, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, according to Médecins Sans Frontières.
May 4 — Seychelles is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases, even though the small archipelago nation has fully vaccinated the highest percentage of its population globally. The country’s COVID-19 situation is “critical,” says Health Minister Peggy Vidot during a press conference.
May 3 — Sweden commits to donate 1 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to COVAX Facility, which needs an urgent supply of 20 million doses for the second quarter of 2021.
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance signs an advance purchase agreement for 500 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
April 30 — Confirmed cases of COVID-19 surpass 150 million globally.
WHO lists Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
April 28 — “Globally, transmission and new detected cases are now at the highest level seen since the beginning of the pandemic,” writes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in a press release.
The pandemic has slammed the Americas. The two continents account for almost half of the cases and deaths from COVID-19 globally, according to IFRC.
Dr. Carissa Etienne, director at the Pan American Health Organization, says during a press conference that several countries are reporting increases in cases among younger populations. This demographic is burdening health care systems, as younger patients often require longer hospital stays than those over 60 years old.
Cases are also surging across the Caribbean, Etienne says. In the past several days, Anguilla reported more than 60% of its total cases since the start of the pandemic, and weekly infections doubled in Puerto Rico during the same period.
Nearly every country in Central America is reporting a rise in infections, she says. Hospitalizations are at an all-time high in Costa Rica, with the country reporting a 50% jump in cases in the past week. Guatemala’s hospitals have reached maximum capacity. In Colombia, major cities such as Bogotá and Medellín are running out of intensive care unit beds.
Canada’s infection rates have surpassed U.S. figures for the first time in the pandemic, Etienne says.
Pakistan reports its highest daily death toll from COVID-19, with 201 deaths.
April 27 — Kazakhstan begins rolling out a domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine called QazVac, which requires two doses.
April 26 — The expert group providing recommendations to WHO on whether a vaccine should be listed for emergency use meets this week to assess the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinopharm and next week to assess the vaccine by Sinovac.
“So we expect with Sinopharm we will have a decision before the end of this week, and Sinovac most likely by the end of next week,” says WHO Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals Mariângela Simão during a press briefing. The committee will also meet on Friday to discuss the Moderna vaccine.
The COVID-19 situation in India is “heartbreaking,” and WHO has seen “similar trajectories of increases in transmission in a number of countries,” although not at the same scale and level of impact and burden on the healthcare system as seen in India, said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19.
“This can happen in a number of countries, in any [country], if we let our guard down. I'm not saying that India has let its guard down, but I'm saying we're in a fragile situation,” she says, pointing out that almost 5.7 million COVID-19 cases were reported globally last week.
“And that is certainly an underestimate of the true number of cases of infections that have occurred in the last week. It's a fragile situation globally,” she said.
The United States says it will share up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine with other countries.
Iran sees its highest daily death toll, with 496 deaths.
April 22 — African Union member states have received 36.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, with about 15 million doses administered. At the continental level, this equates to only 0.8% of the population that have received a vaccine and only 0.34% of the population fully vaccinated. "We are far away from our target," says John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention during a press conference on Thursday.
Syria receives its first shipment of 256,800 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility.
Fifteen African countries delayed measles immunization campaigns in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, says WHO in a press release. Seven of these countries have now completed the campaigns, but eight have not.
COVAX expects to deliver more vaccine doses to countries in June after experiencing supply constraints with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
“AstraZeneca has some additional supply nodes that have been quality assured and those will be coming online and scaling up [production] that will kind of ease some of the constraints that we saw in March and April,” said Gian Gandhi, UNICEF’s COVAX supply coordinator, during a media roundtable. But it’s still unclear when doses will again start to materialize from the Serum Institute of India, he said.
April 21 — As India battles a deadly second wave, it records 315,735 new infections nationwide — the highest number of cases reported in a single day in any country since the beginning of the pandemic.
Argentina’s health minister says the country is going through its “worst moment” of the pandemic, adding that the health care system is at risk, especially in Buenos Aires.
April 20 — Yemen starts COVID-19 vaccinations.
Johnson & Johnson is resuming shipment of its COVID-19 vaccine to the European Union after a brief pause last week following reports of blood clotting in a few individuals in the U.S. The decision comes after the European Medicines Agency concluded that the vaccine’s overall benefit outweighs the risks. The regulatory body however recommends adding “very rare cases of unusual blood clots with low blood platelets” as a side effect of the vaccine.
April 19 — The previous week saw more than 5.2 million new COVID-19 cases — the highest number reported in a single week during the pandemic, WHO says.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says during a press briefing that reaching the first 1 million deaths of the pandemic took nine months, reaching 2 million took four more months and reaching 3 million took only three additional months.
“Big numbers can make us numb. But each one of these deaths is a tragedy for families, communities, and nations,” he says.
April 18 — The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority recommends the government to lift its temporary pause on administering the Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, accompanied by strengthened screening and monitoring of people that receive the vaccine who are at high risk of a blood clotting disorder.
April 17 — Globally, confirmed deaths from COVID-19 surpass 3 million.
April 16 — Confirmed COVID-19 cases of the B1617 variant have been increasing since the beginning of 2021. It is a “variant of interest” to WHO, along with other variants that increase transmissibility and could potentially impact the success of vaccine rollouts. Maria Van Kerkhove, technical COVID-19 lead with WHO, explains in a press briefing that the organization is working with countries globally to increase the proportion of sequencing taking place to detect where variants are. By linking this to detailed clinical information, they can study the effects properly.
Meanwhile, WHO chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan expresses caution regarding vaccine passports, pointing to a need to look at them from a scientific point of view, and discussions should include equity and ethical considerations. She says the criteria for protective COVID-19 antibody levels have not been established, and with vaccines not 100% effective against diseases, rushing to open borders could be a risk.
WHO and its partners announce plans to establish a technology transfer hub focused on mRNA vaccines to help low- and middle-income countries produce them. WHO calls for expressions of interest from small and middle-sized manufacturers of medical products “preferably, but not exclusively, in LMICs” that can host the hub, as well as owners of such technology or those holding intellectual property rights that are “willing to contribute” to the hub. The initiative could expand to other technologies in the future, according to the U.N. agency.
April 15 — On average, 1 in 4 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine in high-income countries, while just 1 in 500 of all doses given globally have been administered in low-income countries, says Dr. Richard Mihigo, immunization and vaccine development program coordinator for the WHO Regional Office for Africa, during a press briefing.
April 14 — The African Union launches the Partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing. The goals of the partnership include a coordinated agenda on vaccine manufacturing for the continent bolstering of five regional production sites over the next 10 to 15 years mobilization of financial partnerships strengthening of regional regulatory systems increase in technology transfer to manufacturers on the continent and the development of African universities as premier vaccine research and development hubs.
April 13 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends a pause to the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to concerns over the very rare occurance of blood clots in people who received the vaccine. More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S. and there are six reported cases in the U.S. of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the vaccine. A statement from the agency said it is “recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution.”
Following this news, South Africa also suspended its rollout of the vaccine. It’s the only African nation currently using the J&J vaccine, although the AU’s African Vaccine Acquisition Trust signed a deal with the company for up to 400 million doses, which will be available in the third quarter of this year.
Moderna's CEO Stéphane Bance says the "magic wand" for increasing global access to COVID-19 vaccines is allowing U.S. companies to export. American vaccine companies, including Pfizer and Moderna, are bound by contracts that require them to fulfill U.S. government vaccine orders before exporting globally.
April 12 — The first two months of 2021 included six consecutive weeks of declining COVID-19 cases globally, but cases have been increasing again in the past seven weeks, says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a press briefing. In the past four weeks, deaths have also been increasing, he adds. Last week had the fourth-highest number of cases seen in a single week. Several countries in Asia and the Middle East have seen large upticks in cases.
"Confusion, complacency, and inconsistency in public health measures and their application are driving transmission and costing lives," Tedros says, adding that "intensive care units in many countries are overflowing and people are dying — and it is totally avoidable."
April 11 — The director at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, says that Chinese vaccines "don't have very high protection rates" and that the government is considering various options to help boost their efficacy.
April 7 — The European Medicines Agency has concluded that cases of unusual blood clots may be “very rare side effects” of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. But the agency maintains that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risks.
While most of the reported cases have been among women under 60 years old who had low levels of blood platelets within two weeks of vaccination, the agency says it could not confirm specific risk factors for the blood clots based on currently available evidence. But the agency says one “plausible explanation” for the combination of blood clots and low levels of blood platelets is an immune response, causing a condition similarly seen in some patients treated with heparin.
Algeria will start to produce Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in September, the country’s pharmaceutical industry minister says.
April 6 — The world could suffer a “massive global setback” in the fight against the coronavirus disease with the emergence of new virus variants, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore says in a statement. She calls on governments and businesses to pursue voluntary licensing of COVID-19 vaccines, end “vaccine nationalism,” and share excess doses with the global initiative COVAX. “This threatens us all. The virus and its mutations will win,” she writes.
Tanzania’s new president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, says she plans to form a committee of experts to evaluate the nation’s COVID-19 response, suggesting a shift from the government’s adamant denial of the disease’s presence in the country.
April 3 — The United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency says that of the 30 individuals who experienced rare blood clots after receiving the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, seven have died.
April 1 — India’s recent announcement to restrict the export of COVID-19 vaccines means the African continent might not reach the “critical” goal of vaccinating 30% of its population by the end of the year, says John Nkengasong, director at the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, during a press briefing. India’s move is creating uncertainty around when African nations might receive shipments of doses from the COVAX Facility, a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
“We are very concerned,” Nkengasong says. “There is absolutely no way … we are going to meet our needs if India delays.”
March 31 — Pfizer-BioNTech clinical trial results report that its COVID-19 vaccine is 100% effective in kids aged 12 to 15 years old, creating strong antibody responses.
March 30 — WHO releases a report on its initial investigation into the origin of the coronavirus. Though it was inconclusive, it did state that a laboratory leak of the virus was “extremely unlikely,” and it was “very likely” the virus existed in a bat and was then passed through an intermediary host animal before being transmitted to humans.
Researchers at a press conference say that they have scientific leads to pursue in the study’s next phases but that it’s unclear when they will have a concrete idea of the origins of the pandemic, emphasizing that these types of studies always take time.
Fourteen countries issue a statement raising concerns over the independence of the study, arguing it was “significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples.”
Over 20 government leaders, as well as the president of the European Council and director-general at WHO, back a call for a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response that would tackle the challenges exposed by the pandemic.
March 29 — Globally, COVID-19 case numbers increase for the sixth week in a row, with a 14% increase over the past week and a 5% increase in deaths, tweeted Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead at WHO’s emergencies program. There was an increase in reported cases in all regions.
Johnson & Johnson signs an agreement with the African Union to make 220 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine available for purchase by African nations through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust starting in the third quarter of this year. The African Union can order 180 million more doses through next year.
March 26 — There are 36 countries still waiting for initial vaccine doses from the COVAX Facility. Of those, 16 are scheduled to receive their first doses in the next 15 days. This creates an urgent need to get 10 million doses for the remaining 20 countries within the next two weeks, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says during a press briefing.
“We will need hundreds of millions more doses in the coming months,” he says.
There is also concern that criminal groups might exploit the urgent need for vaccine supplies. Some fake vaccines have been sold on the internet, and a number of countries have received “suspicious offers” for vaccines, Tedros says. At the same time, there are reports of vaccines being diverted from and reintroduced into the supply chain “with no guarantee that cold chain has been maintained,” he says, also noting accounts of corruption in vaccine distribution and reuse of empty vials.
“We urge the secure disposal or destruction of used and empty vaccine vials to prevent them from being reused by criminal groups, and we urge all people not to buy vaccines outside government-run vaccination programs,” he says.
Kenya reports that it has hit a peak of positive cases and deaths this month, with a “staggering” number of cases coming from the capital city of Nairobi. The government imposes new lockdown measures to curb the rise in cases.
March 25 — Despite reports that India banned the export of COVID-19 vaccines, a government source tells Reuters it will continue to supply doses to partner countries. The Serum Institute of India is a primary manufacturer of the AstraZeneca vaccine supplied to the COVAX Facility.
March 22 — AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine is 79% effective at preventing symptomatic disease and 100% effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization across different ages and ethnicities, according to results from U.S. clinical trials. The company is preparing to request emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“The gap between the number of vaccines administered in rich countries and the number of vaccines administered through COVAX is growing every single day and becoming more grotesque every day,” says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a press briefing.
March 19 — Africans can “strive to lead a normal life” in 2023. With strong partnerships on vaccination campaigns between the private and public sectors and an “all hands on deck” approach, the African continent has a good chance of reaching its vaccination targets by the end of 2022, and then in 2023 people can “strive to lead a normal life,” says Dr. John Nkengasong, director at the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, during a press briefing.
About 7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Africa, according to a WHO press release. In total, 38 African countries have received more than 25 million vaccine doses.
Refugees in Nepal receive COVID-19 vaccines. They are the first known refugees to receive COVID-19 jabs in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
March 17 — Tanzanian President John Magufuli dies. As one of the most prominent deniers of COVID-19 in Africa, he said Tanzania had eliminated the virus through prayer and opposed mask wearing, social distancing, and the use of vaccines. Before his death, he had not made a public appearance for over two weeks, raising speculation that he was in a hospital suffering from COVID-19. Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan says he died from “a heart ailment he has battled for over 10 years.”
Following temporary suspensions of the rollout of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine based on reports of blood clotting in people who received the vaccine in Europe, WHO releases a statement saying it "considers that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh its risks and recommends that vaccinations continue."
WHO expert panel releases interim recommendations on the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Similar to other vaccines given emergency use listing by WHO, the panel recommends the J&J vaccine to be administered to those aged 18 years of age and older, and should be given to pregnant women only if they are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19, or at high risk for severe COVID-19.
March 15 — WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan says during a press briefing that the agency still advises, for the time being, that countries continue rolling out the AstraZeneca vaccine, with a growing number of nations halting its use due to concerns that it is linked to blood clots.
“Nothing — no drug or vaccine — could ever be 100% safe. You could have something that happens one in a million, but then you need to look at what’s the benefit of protecting people against a disease that’s killing millions, against the potential risks,” she says, adding that there are no COVID-19 vaccine-linked deaths yet documented.
Indonesia delays rollout of AstraZeneca vaccine due to reports of blood clots among those who received the vaccine in Europe.
March 13 — The Democratic Republic of Congo decides to postpone its roll out of AstraZeneca vaccines, following the same move from Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, and Iceland, who temporarily suspended their rollouts following questions over whether the vaccine causes blood clots.
March 12 — WHO lists Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, a day after it received authorization from the European Medicines Agency. This is the first single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to receive WHO emergency use listing.
WHO is convening its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization next week to provide recommendations on the vaccine’s usage. The COVAX Facility has an agreement for 500 million doses of this vaccine.
March 11 — Novavax releases phase 3 trial results for its COVID-19 vaccine in the United Kingdom, showing an overall efficacy of 89.7%. It has 96.4% efficacy against the original strain of the COVID-19 virus, but the figure drops to 86.3% when accounting for the B.1.1.7/501Y.V1 variant first found in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, the vaccine has shown 48.6% efficacy in South Africa, where the B1.351 variant is dominant. HIV-negative individuals saw higher efficacy, at 55.4%.
March 10 — The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations launches a $3.5 billion plan to reduce the risk of future pandemics and epidemics. This includes strengthening defenses against COVID-19, the development of vaccines for known threats, working to reduce the time involved for vaccine development, creating prototype vaccines, establishing global networks of labs, and assisting low- and middle-income countries to strengthen health security.
March 9 — Amid talk of increasing manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines, one big question is how much long-term demand there will be for these vaccines, which is needed to justify the investment, says Rasmus Bech Hansen, CEO at Airfinity, during a press briefing.
How many doses will be needed annually depends on “assumptions around the variants [and] the booster shots needed,” questions for which “there are no easy answers,” he says. “So one of the things that I think many manufacturers are considering,” he adds, is “the level of investment that, from a longer perspective, will make sense.”
On increasing COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing and expertise on the African continent, Sai Prasad, president at the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network, says that there is an active discussion underway but that “it is a futuristic concept.”
“Maybe we should think about building it in the years to come. But, you know, during 2021, and maybe early 2022, we need to go to where the existing capacities are, existing expertise is, existing human resources are, and [think about] how we can expand those capacities to provide more vaccines to mostly low-income countries and middle-income countries,” he says.
This goes against comments from World Trade Organization chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who says that new vaccine manufacturing sites could be ready in six to seven months.
March 8 — Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO Health Emergencies Programme, during a press briefing, says WHO can’t get information about the pandemic in Ethiopia’s Tigray region because of the ongoing conflict. “We don't have access to even assess those facilities," he says.
March 5 — The COVAX Facility has now delivered more than 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 20 countries, Tedros says during a press briefing. These include Angola, Cambodia, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Nigeria, the Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, South Korea, Sudan, and Uganda. In the coming week, COVAX is set to deliver 14.4 million doses to 31 other countries.
March 4 — East Africa might be “seeing the start of a third wave” of the pandemic, says John Nkengasong, director at the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, during a press briefing.
March 2 — A WHO panel of international experts strongly advises against the use of hydroxychloroquine to prevent infection, and recommends funders and researchers to reconsider trials concerning the drug, saying it is “no longer a research priority.”
The decision is based on “high certainty evidence” from six randomized controlled clinical trials involving over 6,000 participants with and without exposure to COVID-19. The drug had no significant effect on the prevention of death or hospitalization, and on laboratory-confirmed infection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19 disease, according to the experts’ recommendation, published in the BMJ medical journal.
Over 3.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Nigeria, 624,000 doses in Angola, and 324,000 doses in Cambodia. All are Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines via COVAX.
COVAX publishes the first round of vaccine allocations to countries covering the period February to May.
Gavi CEO Seth Berkley says with “the right funding in place,” it may be possible to purchase an additional 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for low- and middle-income countries under the COVAX Advance Market Commitment mechanism in 2021, bringing total vaccine doses that can be provided to countries to 1.8 billion.
March 1 — Ivory Coast and Ghana start COVID-19 vaccinations. Meanwhile, 117,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines via COVAX arrive in Colombia.
Feb. 26 — The Philippines’ National Immunization Technical Advisory Group, which plays a recommendatory function to the Department of Health, recommends the use of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for health care workers. The decision is not mandatory, but it gives health care workers the choice to decide whether they want to take the vaccine. If they refuse, they will still be made a priority for other vaccines. However, the experts said that it's unclear when other vaccines will come. This is the best choice health care workers have now, experts say. They recommend health workers take it given that data showed it has 100% protection against hospitalization and severe disease. It's also a “very safe vaccine,” according to clinical trials, said Health Undersecretary Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire.
Experts however said they cannot publish the data as these are embargoed documents and will require permission from Sinovac. They will share details regarding the vaccine instead through town hall meetings with hospital personnel that start on Saturday, in hopes this would help health care workers decide on taking the vaccine.
This follows the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation earlier in the week for health care workers to not to use the vaccine, given that it only has 50.4% efficacy based on a clinical trial in Brazil.
South Korea receives 117,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine via the COVAX initiative, while 504,000 doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford arrive in Côte d’Ivoire.
Feb. 24 — More than half of African nations are expected to roll out COVID-19 vaccine campaigns in the coming weeks, WHO Africa Regional Director Dr. Matshidiso Moeti says during a press conference. This includes 24 that have finalized pre-shipment arrangements with the COVAX Facility, as well as deliveries from the African Union and vaccines procured through bilateral agreements.
“This is a much-awaited leap forward for African nations that have spent months preparing from the sidelines while wealthier countries raced ahead with vaccination,” she says.
600,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford arrive in Ghana, marking the first global delivery of doses from the COVAX Facility.
Feb. 22 — WHO and Chubb Ltd., through ESIS Inc., announce an agreement to create the first and only global vaccine injury compensation mechanism. This will offer 92 low- and middle-income countries a process to receive compensation for “rare but serious adverse events” associated with vaccines distributed by the COVAX Facility up through June 2022.
Feb. 20 — WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus releases a statement urging the Tanzanian government to "to scale public health measures against COVID-19 and to prepare for vaccination." WHO has not received information from the Tanzanian government on what measures it is taking to respond to the pandemic.
"This situation remains very concerning. I renew my call for Tanzania to start reporting COVID-19 cases and share data. I also call on Tanzania to implement the public health measures that we know work in breaking the chains of transmission, and to prepare for vaccination," Tedros writes.
Tanzanian travelers to neighboring countries and elsewhere are testing positive for COVID-19. The government stopped reporting its cases of COVID-19 to WHO in May, and President John Magufuli has previously denied the presence of the virus in the country and recently warned against inoculation, suggesting that Tanzanians would be used to test dangerous vaccines. While the country is eligible to receive donated vaccines from the COVAX Facility, it has not taken the steps needed to receive them.
WHO statements targeting specific governments are rare.
Feb. 19 — Leaders from the G-7 group of nations commit $4.3 billion to WHO's Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator. This includes new commitments from the United States, Germany, the European Commission, Japan, and Canada for the development and equitable rollout of tests, treatments, and vaccines. The new funding brings the total amount committed to $10.3 billion, which leaves a funding gap of $22.9 billion for the ACT-Accelerator's work this year.
Feb. 18 — The U.S. government releases a statement saying President Joe Biden will announce at a Feb. 19 meeting of the G-7 group of nations that the country will allocate an initial $2 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance for the COVAX advance market commitment, which is working to provide vaccines to low- and middle-income countries.
This will be followed by an additional $2 billion allocated later this year and next year. The first $500 million of this second batch of funds will be released when existing donor pledges from other countries are fulfilled and initial doses are delivered to nations involved in the facility's advance market commitment.
This marks the first U.S. funding commitment to the facility, following the previous presidential administration’s refusal to participate in the global initiative.
The African Union expects to start distributing 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford to about 20 nations next week, says John Nkengasong, director at the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, during a press briefing.
This is the agency's first distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. They were donated to the AU through a partnership with MTN Group Ltd., Africa's largest mobile network by subscribers. The company donated $25 million, which will be used in supporting health worker vaccination. MTN’s donation will pay for up to 7 million doses, Nkengasong says.
Globally, confirmed cases of COVID-19 surpass 110 million.
Feb. 16 — South Africa asks the Serum Institute of India to take back 1 million doses of its AstraZeneca vaccine after the country decided to pause the vaccine's rollout domestically. This move came in response to data indicating the vaccine has minimal efficacy against mild to moderate illness from the 501Y.V2 coronavirus variant dominant in the country.
Feb. 15 — WHO lists two versions of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine for emergency use, which allows them to be rolled out through the COVAX Facility. This vaccine comprises the majority of the vaccines that have been allocated to countries for the coming months through the facility. The emergency use listing was a key barrier to whether or not countries would receive doses of this vaccine.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says during a press conference that while "all the pieces are in place for the rapid distribution of vaccines," there is still a need to scale-up production of vaccines.
The number of reported cases of COVID-19 globally declines for the fifth consecutive week, Tedros says.
Feb. 14 — One year has passed since the first case of COVID-19 is reported on the African continent, in Egypt.
Feb. 12 — The World Bank approves $5 million from the International Development Association to help Cape Verde gain access to COVID-19 vaccines. This is the first World Bank-financed operation in Africa to support a country's vaccination plan.
Feb. 11 — The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention advises that countries where B.1.351 — the variant of COVID-19 first found in South Africa — is dominant should not roll out the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford but says countries should still deploy the vaccine if the variant is not dominant.
This recommendation differs slightly from that made by WHO, which called for countries to continue with plans to roll out the vaccine but did not specify what nations should do if the new variant is found to be dominant.
Deaths from COVID-19 in Africa increased by 40% in the past month, WHO says. Over 22,300 deaths were reported in Africa in the past 28 days, compared with almost 16,000 deaths in the 28 days before that time period.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO predicted that malaria deaths in Africa could double if people’s access to malaria prevention programs and treatments was severely interrupted. But these deaths were averted over the past year, says Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who chairs the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, during a press conference.
Instead, over 90% of planned net distribution campaigns went forward over the past year. Around 160 million nets were distributed door-to-door, and more children in areas of highly seasonal transmission were reached with antimalarial medicines than in previous years.
Feb. 10 — Amid concerns around the efficacy of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford against a new variant of COVID-19, WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization still recommends its use in countries where B.1.351, the variant first identified in South Africa, is circulating.
Feb. 9 — Cambodia says it will begin inoculating government officials on Feb. 10 with China’s Sinopharm vaccine.
Feb. 8 — South Africa is considering alternative approaches in rolling out the vaccine produced by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford after study results showed minimal efficacy against B.1.351, the dominant SARS-CoV-2 variant in the country. One approach is administering the vaccine to an initial 100,000 individuals to monitor hospitalization rates.
“If they are below the threshold that we are looking for, then we're confident that the vaccine is effective in preventing hospitalization and then we can roll it out. Alternatively, if it's above that threshold, then we need to look at alternatives,” says Salim Abdool Karim, a leading South African infectious disease expert, during a WHO press briefing.
“We don't want to end up with a situation where we vaccinated 1 million people or 2 million people with a vaccine that may not be effective in preventing hospitalization and severe disease,” he adds.
As South Africa puts this new approach in place, the country’s vaccination schedule will be “largely unaffected or, at most, affected by a few days,” according to Karim. The country plans to make use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine instead as it awaits further evidence on the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine.
WHO officials caution against dismissing the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, arguing that the latest study is small and more data is needed before making a conclusion. WHO’s expert advisory group on immunizations is set to present recommendations on the use of the vaccine on Feb. 9.
Regarding the distribution of other vaccines in place of AstraZeneca and Oxford’s via the COVAX initiative, WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan outlines issues with availability and feasibility. She notes the ultracold chain — which is not available in many countries in Africa and other parts of the world — that is required for distributing Pfizer’s vaccine. There is also the problem of supply, with COVAX only having access to a limited amount of the Pfizer vaccine in the first part of 2021.
“We all have a role to play in protecting vaccines,” says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Every time you decide to stay at home, to avoid crowds, to wear a mask, or to clean your hands, you're denying the virus the opportunity to spread, the opportunity to change in ways that could make vaccines less effective.”
Feb. 7 — New data indicates the vaccine from AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford has minimal efficacy — just 22% — against the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.351, also known as 501Y.V2, currently dominant in South Africa, leading the national government to pause the vaccine’s rollout domestically.
Feb. 5 — The number of people vaccinated globally surpasses the number of reported infections of COVID-19, says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a news briefing. But more than three-quarters of those vaccinated live in only 10 countries. There are around 130 nations that have not yet administered a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Feb. 4 — The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies launches a 100 million Swiss franc ($111 million) plan to support the vaccination of 500 million people against COVID-19 by the end of 2021.
Intended to complement COVAX and support equitable vaccine distribution, IFRC will work through its national societies to build trust and eliminate vaccine misinformation, while actively seeking out people who are economically, socially, or geographically isolated for vaccination. This will include refugee and migrant populations. Trained personnel will also help in the physical delivery of vaccines.
Calling the alarm on inequity in the COVID-19 vaccine roll out, Jagan Chapagain, secretary general at IFRC, says in a press conference that without equality and fairness there’d be a risk of darker and potentially deadlier days to come.
According to IFRC analysis, nearly 70% of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered so far have occurred in the world’s 50 wealthiest countries.
“This is alarming because it is unfair, and because it could prolong or even worsen this terrible pandemic,” Chapagain says, adding that equality doesn’t just happen but must be engineered and planned for.
Feb. 3 — The COVAX Facility, the global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, provides countries a breakdown of how many vaccines to initially expect. This includes expectations around AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford’s vaccine through the first half of the year, as well as supplies of Pfizer and BioNTech’s through the first quarter of the year.
Fewer countries will receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine because of challenges around the ultracold storage requirements and smaller supply. These initial doses are expected to reach about 3.3% of the total populations of the 145 participants receiving doses from the facility in this first batch.
“This is really really key for all countries to be able to prepare and plan for the rollout and effective introduction of this vaccine,” says Ann Lindstrand, WHO’s coordinator for the Expanded Programme on Immunization, during a press conference.
UNICEF announces it concluded a long-term supply agreement with the Serum Institute of India, giving it access to the intellectual property of vaccines created by AstraZeneca and Novavax. This would provide UNICEF and its procurement partners access to up to 1.1 billion doses of vaccines for around 100 countries at about $3 a dose for low- and lower-middle-income countries.
“This is a great value for COVAX donors and a strong demonstration of one of the fundamental principles of COVAX: that by pooling our resources, we can negotiate in bulk for the best possible deals,” says Henrietta Fore, executive director at UNICEF.
Jan. 30 — One year has passed since WHO declared a public health emergency of international concern over the outbreak of COVID-19.
Jan. 29 — Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, which is administered in one dose, shows 66% overall efficacy in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 28 days after vaccination, according to new data. Protection was observed as early as day 14. The vaccine also demonstrates 85% efficacy in preventing severe disease and 100% protection against hospitalization and death.
The data was collected from over 43,000 participants from the United States, South Africa, and several Latin American countries, 34% of whom were over the age of 60. But there was some variation between countries — the vaccine’s efficacy was 72% in the United States, 66% in Latin America, and only 57% in South Africa.
The company expects to file for emergency use authorization in the U.S. in early February and to deliver 100 million doses to the U.S. government by the end of June.
Guinea approves Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
Jan. 28 — Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate shows 89.3% efficacy, according to an interim analysis of the vaccine’s phase 3 trial in the United Kingdom. The trial included over 15,000 participants ages 18-84, with 27% over the age of 65.
Preliminary analysis demonstrates that the vaccine has 85.6% efficacy against the more transmissible U.K. variant of the coronavirus, based on polymerase chain reaction testing on 56 of the 62 participants, mostly in the placebo group, who developed COVID-19. Novavax says efficacy of its vaccine against the original strain is 95.6%.
Meanwhile, the vaccine shows only 49% efficacy in a phase 2b trial in South Africa involving over 4,400 participants, including some with HIV. But for the 94% of study participants who are HIV-negative, the vaccine’s efficacy was 60% in preventing mild, moderate, and severe COVID-19 cases.
Enrollment is ongoing for the vaccine’s phase 3 trial in the United States and Mexico.
Germany’s vaccine committee advises that AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine should be used only for people ages 18 to 64, due to insufficient trial data about efficacy in people ages 65 and older.
Jan. 27 — The world surpasses 100 million COVID-19 cases.
Jan. 26 — WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization issues interim recommendations on the use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. The recommendations include the administration of two doses with a 28-day interval between them. The interval may be extended for up to 42 days, depending on a country’s epidemiological situation. The group is not recommending halving a vaccine dose.
The experts also do not recommend the vaccine for pregnant women unless they are health care workers or otherwise at high risk of COVID-19 exposure. The vaccine should be offered to individuals regardless of whether they had symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19.
Jan. 25 — Merck says it is discontinuing the development of its COVID-19 vaccine candidates after results from phase 1 clinical trials showed the vaccines generated lower immune responses compared to those who had recovered from COVID-19, as well as to other vaccine candidates. The company will focus instead on developing its COVID-19 therapeutic drug candidates, MK-7110 and molnupiravir (MK-4482). Interim results of a phase 3 study of MK-7110 showed more than 50% reduction in the risk of death or respiratory failure of hospitalized patients with moderate to severe COVID-19, while molnupiravir is currently in phase 2/3 clinical trials.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador tests positive for COVID-19.
A study commissioned by the International Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation finds that the global economy could lose up to $9.2 trillion, half of which incurred by high-income countries, if low-income countries don’t get access to COVID-19 vaccines.
“As this study shows, ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines is not only the right thing to do — to do otherwise is economically irresponsible,’ says ICC Secretary General John Denton.
Jan. 22 — The global vaccines initiative COVAX signs an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech for up to 40 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine. Tedros says the agreement “also opens the door for countries who are willing to share doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to donate them to COVAX and support rapid rollout.” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla says he expects initial doses will be delivered in the first quarter of 2021.
Meanwhile, almost 150 million doses of the vaccine produced by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford will be available for distribution via COVAX — which is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations — in the first quarter of 2021, pending WHO emergency use listing recommendation, says Gavi CEO Seth Berkley.
“By our calculation, with the right level of funding in place, COVAX could procure 2.3 billion doses of vaccines in 2021. This would equate to close to 1.8 billion doses for the 92 lower-income countries in the COVAX advanced market commitment, or AMC as we call it,” he says.
“That's enough to protect about 27% of the population in those low- and lower-middle-income countries, which is in excess of the initial targets we laid out to protect those at highest risk,” he adds.
In a week’s time, COVAX will be providing all participating economies with details on how many doses the initiative will be able to provide “in the early part of this year,” Berkley says.
Jan. 21 — There is a “dire” need for oxygen across the African continent as mortality rates rise, says John Nkengasong, director at the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, during a press conference. Amid the continent’s first wave of cases, Africa’s mortality rate was lower than the global average, but it has now surpassed that in the continent’s second wave.
Despite concerns that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is not suitable for a rollout in Africa because of its need for ultracold storage, Nkengasong also says African nations can and should distribute it in urban centers with the strategic purchase of a handful of deep freezers, which cost about $15,000 each.
Jan. 19 — The Africa Medical Supplies Platform opens pre-orders for COVID-19 vaccines for African countries. This follows the announcement by the African Union last week of securing 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the continent. The African Export-Import Bank will facilitate payments of up to $2 billion in advance procurement commitment guarantees to vaccine manufacturers on behalf of countries.
Jan. 18 — Globally, confirmed cases of COVID-19 surpass 95 million.
Brazil distributes COVID-19 vaccines across the country after Anvisa, its regulatory agency, gave emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccines produced by AstraZeneca-Oxford and Sinovac. The country aims to start its vaccination campaign on Wednesday.
WHO Health Emergencies Programme Executive Director Mike Ryan says health care worker infections account for 7.7% of total global COVID-19 cases, but this can go up to 35% of infections in some countries.
Amid questions on COVAX’s ability to deliver on its goals, Dr. Bruce Aylward, who leads the ACT Accelerator Hub, tells WHO member states during the 148th WHO executive board meeting that COVAX is in a “strong position” to roll out vaccines globally, and aims to initiate deliveries in February. In his presentation, he says countries part of the COVAX Advance Market Commitment are ready to begin vaccinations, with about 50 countries already with national deployment plans in place. COVAX is focused on early equitable access to vaccines for the first two quarters of 2021, with close to 600 million doses expected to be made available during this period to countries, he says. But that is expected to increase in the second half of 2021.
“We are in a strong position to move out with vaccines globally, we just need the assistance of our member states in particular to make sure that becomes the reality," Aylward says.
On questions about why COVAX has not included mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines, Aylward says these vaccines are difficult to roll out in a number of countries, given their cold chain requirements, for example, and are “extremely expensive.” He says COVAX wants to ensure its limited resources would be able to “go as far as possible.” However, he also says that COVAX is now in discussions with Pfizer and believes it will have access to that COVID-19 vaccine “very soon.”
Jan. 16 — India starts COVID-19 vaccination, using vaccines by Bharat Biotech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines. The goal is to vaccinate 300 million people in six months.
Jan. 15 — World surpasses 2 million COVID-19 deaths.
"Health workers are exhausted, health systems are stretched and we’re seeing supplies of oxygen run dangerously low in some countries," says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during a news briefing.
The Norwegian Medicines Agency reports common adverse reactions to mRNA-based vaccines, such as fever and nausea, may have led to the fatal outcomes of several frail elderly people who received Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Jan. 14 — WHO Africa Regional Director Matshidiso Moeti says during a press briefing that the first doses of vaccines from the COVAX Facility are expected to reach Africa in March.
African health officials express concern about the possible regional spread of a coronavirus variant known as 501.v2, which was first discovered in South Africa in November. Authorities say the variant appears to be spreading at a faster rate and could put an increased burden on African health systems.
Moeti warns that “a virus that can spread more easily will of course put more strain on hospitals and health workers who are in many cases already overworked and overstretched.”
Jordan becomes one of the first countries to provide COVID-19 vaccines to refugees.
Jan. 13 — The African Union’s vaccine acquisition task force secures 270 million COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, marking the first batch obtained for continentwide vaccination efforts. The vaccines will come from Pfizer and AstraZeneca through a deal with the Serum Institute of India and Johnson & Johnson.
Jan. 12 — Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla tells CNBC that production of its COVID-19 vaccine for 2021 will increase from an initial 1.3 billion doses to 2 billion doses. He also says that in February, the company should have enough data to know whether its vaccine prevents COVID-19 transmission.
Researchers from the Butantan Institute are now saying that China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine has a general efficacy of 50.4%, based on a Brazillian phase III clinical trial. This comes a few days after the researchers announced on Jan. 7 that the vaccine’s efficacy is 78% for mild COVID-19 cases. A medical director at Butantan says the new efficacy announcement includes “very mild” cases that didn’t require clinical care.
Two senior Cabinet ministers in Malawi die from COVID-19.
Jan. 11 — Globally, confirmed cases of COVID-19 surpass 90 million.
Indonesia gives emergency use authorization to Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine, the first country to do so outside China. This paves the way for the country to commence its vaccination program, which the government says will start on Jan. 13.
But answers to the important question — how safe and efficacious the vaccine is — remain unclear.
A WHO team is currently in China to assess compliance of the Sinovac and Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines with international quality manufacturing practices, ahead of a potential WHO emergency use listing, says Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a press briefing.
The organization is also awaiting full data sets from the Serum Institute of India so it can determine whether to recommend the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for international use. SII has an agreement with the vaccine manufacturer to produce 1 billion doses.
“I think it's really important to remind people, both governments as well as individuals, on the responsibilities and the measures that we continue to need to practice for the … rest of this year, at least. Because even as vaccines start protecting the most vulnerable, we're not going to achieve any levels of population immunity, or herd immunity, in 2021,” says WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan.
Japan reports a new SARS-CoV-2 variant. It was discovered among four travelers coming from Brazil.
China says the international mission to investigate the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus will arrive in the country on Jan. 14.
The health ministry of the Palestinian territories gives emergency use authorization to Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. This follows registrations of the vaccine in Algeria, Argentina, Bolivia and Serbia.
Jan. 10 — Confirmed cases of COVID-19 surpass 3 million in Africa.
Jan. 8 — Forty-two countries are rolling out COVID-19 vaccine campaigns, including 36 high-income countries and six middle-income, says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during a press briefing. A key problem is that high- and middle-income countries that are part of the COVAX Facility — an initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines — are making additional bilateral deals for vaccines, which can increase the price for everyone.
Recent days have seen some of the highest numbers of deaths recorded during the pandemic, fueled by a lack of compliance with rules set by health authorities, Tedros says.
"The virus has taken advantage of this and is spreading at alarming rates in some countries," he adds.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei bans the import of COVID-19 vaccines from the country’s adversaries, the U.S. and U.K., calling vaccines developed in these countries “completely untrustworthy” and repeating conspiracy theories that countries could intentionally contaminate others through vaccines. As a result, Iran's Red Crescent says it will no longer accept thousands of doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that a group of U.S.-based philanthropists had planned to donate. Khamenei says Iran can get vaccines from "other reliable places" instead. The country launched human trials of its own COVID-19 vaccine candidate last month.
The U.K. approves Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
Jan. 7 — Brazilian researchers who oversaw phase III clinical trials of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine in the country announce it is 100% effective in preventing severe symptoms of COVID-19, and 78% effective in preventing mild cases. However, experts say further data needs to be published to gain a better understanding of the vaccine and its performance.
South Africa secures a deal with the Serum Institute of India for 1.5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The first batch of 1 million doses is expected to arrive in January, and the remaining 500,000 doses in February, according to the South African health ministry.
A study published in the medical journal JAMA finds that 59% of all transmissions of COVID-19 came from asymptomatic individuals, including 35% from presymptomatic individuals and 24% from individuals who never developed symptoms.
Jan. 6 — Russia announces supply deal with Serbia for 2 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine.
Jan. 5 — WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expresses disappointment upon learning that the international team of experts meant to travel to China to investigate the virus’s origins has not yet been given visa clearances.
“I'm very disappointed with this news, given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute,” he says during WHO’s regular press briefing in Geneva.
“But I have been in contact with senior Chinese officials, and I have once again made it clear that the mission is a priority for WHO and the international team. I have been assured that China is speeding up the internal procedure for the earliest possible deployment,” he adds.
One member of the team on the way to China had to go back, while another is in transit in another country.
“We trust and we hope that this is just a logistic and bureaucratic issue that can be resolved very quickly,” says Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO emergencies director.
WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, or SAGE, recommends that patients receive two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine — the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive WHO emergency use listing — within a period of 21 to 28 days. But the experts say countries experiencing “exceptional circumstances of vaccine supply constraints and epidemiologic settings” can delay the administration of the second dose for up to six weeks to maximize the number of individuals benefiting from a first dose.
The United Kingdom is delaying the administration of the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for up to 12 weeks to vaccinate more at-risk people, a move that has created debate among health experts.
Jan. 4 — Globally, confirmed cases of COVID-19 surpass 85 million.
Jan. 3, 2021 — India approves the use of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, as well as a locally produced vaccine called Covaxin.
For earlier developments, visitDevex’s COVID-19 timeline for 2020.
From Amiens to Armistice: The Hundred Days Offensive
The Hundred Days Offensive, also known as the Advance to Victory, was a series of Allied successes that pushed the German Army back to the battlefields of 1914.
The German Spring Offensive came close to breaking the Allied front line but they just managed to hold on. In the Second Battle of the Marne (15 July-6 August), the Germans once again failed to deliver a decisive blow and on 18 July the Allied counter-attack, led by the French, pushed them back again. The Marne was to be the last German offensive. The Allies now seized the initiative.
Cooperation was a significant factor in the success of the offensive. General Ferdinand Foch was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces on the Western Front in March 1918. He directed overall strategy which ensured a coordinated approach by the French, British and American armies.
The Allies Control the Skies
The Allies Control the Skies
The Hundred Days Offensive actually spanned 95 days beginning with the Battle of Amiens on 8 August 1918 and ending with the Armistice on 11 November 1918.
By the summer of 1918 the Allies had control of the skies. British, French and American aircraft at times outnumbered their German counterparts five to one. Their dominance in the air enabled the Allies to photograph German positions and direct their artillery fire from aircraft as well as prevent the Germans from doing the same. This allowed the Allies to conceal their preparations and keep the German Army guessing about where the next attack would come from.
The Battle of Amiens Begins
The Battle of Amiens Begins
At 4.20am on 8 August 1918 the Battle of Amiens began. It was a morning of heavy fog and the Germans were taken completely by surprise. Some German officers were reportedly captured while still eating their breakfast! The Australian Corps and Canadian Corps spearheaded the attack and advanced quickly behind the 534 tanks, reaching their objectives within hours.
When the advance was halted on 11 August, the Allies shifted their attack to a different part of the line. This new strategy contributed to the success of the offensive by continually stretching the German Army’s resources and manpower. The Allies continued to attack in this way throughout the summer and autumn of 1918, giving the increasingly exhausted and depleted German Army little respite.
By the end of August the Allies had notably captured Albert, Bapaume, Noyon and Peronne during the Second Battle of the Somme.
By the end of August there were over 1.4 million American troops in France. It was the arrival of these fresh troops that enabled the Allies to continue fighting after their significant losses during the German Spring Offensive.
The attack on the St Mihiel salient (12-15 September) was the first and only American led attack during the First World War. It was a relatively easy victory as it caught the German Army on the retreat but it established the American Army as a formidable fighting force.
With the success at St Mihiel the Americans were moved to support the ambitious attack planned by Marshal Foch at the Battles of Meuse-Argonne. This was the main contribution of the American Army in the First World War and the losses were high amongst their inexperienced troops.
Into the Open
Into the Open
The Allied armies deployed new tactics to overcome the stalemate of trench warfare. Artillery, tanks and air power were successfully utilised in a new coordinated all-arms approach. Allied success saw fighting move from the trenches out into the open.
Allied artillery dominated the battlefield paving the way for a breakthrough. However, German machine guns hindered their advances so that most attacks were made under cover of darkness.
Tanks were still relatively new weapons and were most useful for crushing barbed wire obstacles, destroying machine-gun posts and in village fighting. They would be followed by small groups of infantry. They carried cribs , frames made of wood and steel, which could be dropped to enable them to cross wide trenches.
The rapid movement caused difficulties in getting supplies to the front, and few of the soldiers who were in the field in 1918 had received training in open warfare.
The Hindenburg Line
The Hindenburg Line
By late September the Allied forces were facing the Hindenburg line, a series of heavily fortified positions that formed the main German defences.
The Battle of St Quentin Canal (29 September 1918) was a crucial victory that broke through one of the strongest sections of the Hindenburg Line. Following the complete breakthrough of the line in early October, General Ludendorff is reported to have said that the “situation of the [German] Army demands an immediate armistice in order to save a catastrophe”.
Although it would still be several weeks before the Armistice, it was clear that Germany now could not win the war.
The 'Black Day of the German Army'
The 'Black Day of the German Army'
Throughout the Hundred Days Offensive, poor morale in the German Army contributed significantly to the Allied victories. The failure of the Spring Offensive and the surprise counter-attack at Amiens demoralised the German troops. Around 30,000 German soldiers surrendered during the Battle of Amiens. Ludendorff described the first day of this battle as the “black day of the German Army”. Huge numbers of German prisoners were also taken at the Battle of St. Quentin Canal. The 46th Division alone captured over 4,000 men. General Sir Henry Rawlinson remarked that the Hindenburg line would have been impregnable if it had been defended by the German Army of two years earlier.
The Canadian Corps Reaches Mons
The Canadian Corps Reaches Mons
The Canadian Corps reached Mons at 4am on 11 November 1918. They were surrounded by jubilant civilians as they marched through the streets. Mons had been the location of the first battle fought by the British Army in August 1914 and had been occupied by the Germans for the duration of the war.
Fighting on the Western Front continued right up to the last minute until finally, at 11am on 11 November 1918, the Armistice came into effect and hostilities ceased.
The Cost of victory
The Cost of victory
The Hundred Days Offensive brought victory, but at a huge cost. Allied casualties between August and November 1918 were around 700,000. German casualties were slightly higher at around 760,000.
Initially the Allies had not expected the offensive to end the war but were planning their final attack for the Spring of 1919. However, their impressive feat of arms during the Hundred Days broke the spirit of the German Army and inflicted losses from which they could not recover.
Despite his popularity, Roosevelt had significant critics at the end of the First New Deal. Some on the right felt that he had moved the country in a dangerous direction towards socialism and fascism, whereas others on the left felt that he had not gone far enough to help the still-struggling American people. Reeling after the Supreme Court struck down two key pieces of New Deal legislation, the AAA and NIRA, Roosevelt pushed Congress to pass a new wave of bills to provide jobs, banking reforms, and a social safety net. The laws that emerged—the Banking Act, the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, and the Social Security Act—still define our country today.
Roosevelt won his second term in a landslide and continued to push for legislation that would help the economy. The jobs programs employed over eight million people and, while systematic discrimination hurt both women and African American workers, these programs were still successful in getting people back to work. The last major piece of New Deal legislation that Roosevelt passed was the Fair Labor Standards Act, which set a minimum wage, established a maximum-hour workweek, and forbade child labor. This law, as well as Social Security, still provides much of the social safety net in the United States today.
While critics and historians continue to debate whether the New Deal ushered in a permanent change to the political culture of the country, from one of individualism to the creation of a welfare state, none deny the fact that Roosevelt’s presidency expanded the role of the federal government in all people’s lives, generally for the better. Even if the most conservative of presidential successors would question this commitment, the notion of some level of government involvement in economic regulation and social welfare had largely been settled by 1941. Future debates would be about the extent and degree of that involvement.
Answer to Review Question
- The Indian Reorganization Act, or Indian New Deal, of 1934 put an end to the policies set forth in the Dawes Severalty Act of 1887. Rather than encouraging assimilation, the new act promoted Indians’ development of local self-government and the preservation of Indian artifacts and heritage. John Collier, the Commissioner on Indian Bureau Affairs, was able to use the law to push for federal officials’ return of nearly two million acres of government-held land to various tribes.
Critical Thinking Questions
- To what extent was Franklin Roosevelt’s overwhelming victory in the 1932 presidential election a reflection of his own ideas for change? To what extent did it represent public discontent with Herbert Hoover’s lack of answers?
- Whom did the New Deal help the least? What hardships did these individuals continue to suffer? Why were Roosevelt’s programs unsuccessful in the alleviation of their adversities?
- Was Franklin Roosevelt successful at combatting the Great Depression? How did the New Deal affect future generations of Americans?
- What were the key differences between the First New Deal and the Second New Deal? On the whole, what did each New Deal set out to accomplish?
- What challenges did Roosevelt face in his work on behalf of African Americans? What impact did the New Deal have ultimately on race relations?
Social Security a series of programs designed to help the population’s most vulnerable—the unemployed, those over age sixty-five, unwed mothers, and the disabled—through various pension, insurance, and aid programs Supreme Court Packing Plan Roosevelt’s plan, after being reelected, to pack the Supreme Court with an additional six justices, one for every justice over seventy who refused to step down Works Progress Administration a program run by Harry Hopkins that provided jobs for over eight million Americans from its inception to its closure in 1943
A brief guide to VE Day
On 8 May 1945, millions of people rejoiced in the news that Germany had surrendered: after nearly six years, the war in Europe was finally over. Second World War historian Keith Lowe brings you the facts about this momentous day in history…
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Published: May 8, 2021 at 7:55 am
What does VE Day stand for?
VE Day – which stands for ‘Victory in Europe’ Day – is the day in 1945 when the German armed forces signed an unconditional surrender, and the Second World War in Europe finally came to an end.
When is VE Day?
On the afternoon of 8 May 1945, the British prime minister Winston Churchill made the radio announcement that the world had long been waiting for. “Yesterday morning,” he declared, “at 2.41 a.m., at General Eisenhower’s headquarters, General Jodl, the representative of the German High Command, and Grand Admiral Dönitz, the designated head of the German State, signed the act of unconditional surrender of all German land, sea and air forces in Europe.” After nearly six years, the war in Europe was finally over.
The celebrations began almost immediately. However, there was still one last technical detail to be taken care of. Since the Soviet authorities had not yet given their approval to the surrender document, a second, definitive document was signed in Berlin.
The official time when this final document was signed was 23.01, Central European Time (although in reality it was not signed until almost a quarter to one the next morning). By Moscow time, however, the official time of signing was already after midnight. As a consequence, America and western Europe consider VE Day to have taken place on 8 May, while Russia and some eastern European countries celebrate it on 9 May.
Where did VE Day take place and how was it celebrated?
Although VE Day was strictly speaking a continental European event, it was celebrated all over the world. In London, more than a million people took to the streets and huge crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace to see Churchill standing on the balcony alongside King George VI. In Paris and New York, similar crowds gathered along the Champs Elysée and in Times Square. According to Alexander Werth, the Moscow correspondent for the BBC and the Sunday Times, the fireworks display over the Kremlin on 9 May “was the most spectacular I have ever seen”.
Not all of the celebrations went exactly as planned. In the Canadian city of Halifax, for example, riots broke out when thousands of soldiers and sailors began looting liquor stores. In Australia and New Zealand, the celebrations were a little more sober: such countries were glad to know that their soldiers would soon be coming home from Europe, but were more concerned about the war in the Pacific, which was still going on.
What events led to VE Day?
The final collapse of Nazi Germany began in January 1945, when the Soviet Red Army launched a series of offensives across a front that ran all the way from the Baltic Sea to the borders of Yugoslavia. By the end of March they had reached the River Oder, just 60km from the German capital. At around the same time, British and American armies also began crossing the Rhine.
By the end of April Berlin was encircled, and the situation looked hopeless for Germany. In Italy, Hitler’s ally Benito Mussolini was captured and executed, and his body put on display before jeering crowds. In order to avoid the same fate, Hitler committed suicide on 30 April 1945 in a bunker under his headquarters in Berlin, along with his wife, Eva Braun, whom he had married the day before.
Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, whom Hitler had nominated as his successor, began negotiations with the Allies just a few days later. A series of partial surrenders took place at Lüneberg Heath in northern Germany, and at Haar in southern Germany – but in the east, the fighting would continue right up until VE Day itself. Indeed, in some places – for example in Prague, and in parts of northern Yugoslavia – German troops would continue fighting even after the final surrender had been signed.
What is the difference between VE Day and VJ Day?
While VE Day marked the end of the Second World War in Europe, fighting in the far east would continue for another three-and-a-half months. As a consequence, there was always a slightly solemn undercurrent to the celebrations of VE Day. “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing,” said Churchill during his VE Day broadcast, “but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead. Japan, with all her treachery and greed, remains unsubdued.”
Japan was not finally defeated until after the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. On 15 August 1945, the Japanese emperor announced his unconditional surrender – and this date is remembered in the UK as VJ [Victory in Japan] Day. However, the official surrender documents were not signed until 2 September, which is considered VJ Day in the USA.
Did the young Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret attend VE Day celebrations?
King George VI and his queen, Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, made a total of eight appearances on the balcony at Buckingham Palace on VE Day. Their daughters, Princess Elizabeth – the future Queen Elizabeth II – and Princess Margaret, appeared alongside them.
That evening, however, in an unprecedented and spontaneous breach of protocol, the two young women slipped out of the palace in order to join the revellers. They were accompanied by two Guards officers, but in the darkness easily blended in with the crowds. Princess Elizabeth was a member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service, and like many others on the streets that night was dressed in uniform.
Later, she recalled: “We stood outside and shouted ‘We want the King’… I think it was one of the most memorable nights of my life.”
Is VE Day still celebrated today and why? How do the different countries celebrate?
Most nations in Europe still celebrate the anniversary of the end of the Second World War in one way or another. The war was probably the most destructive event in European history. It involved the devastation of hundreds of cities, and the deaths of at least 35 million people, most of them civilians. The end of this conflict, and the dawn of a new era of peace, are universally considered events worth celebrating.
Different countries mark the anniversary in different ways, and on different days. In Italy, for example, ‘Liberation Day’ is celebrated on 25 April – the day in 1945 when Italian partisans proclaimed a general uprising against the German occupiers of their country. In the Netherlands, Liberation Day falls on 5 May, because this is when the German forces capitulated there. But VE Day on 8 May is generally recognised as the single day that unites the vast majority of countries in Europe.
What is the significance of VE Day?
VE Day signified several things at once.
First and foremost, it brought a symbolic end to organised violence across the continent. Europe remained in turmoil for many years after May 1945, but at least the era of pitched battles between huge armies was over. In Britain it meant the end of bombing, and the return of hundreds of thousands of servicemen to their loved ones.
Secondly, it marked the liberation of several countries from foreign occupation. Although France had already been liberated many months earlier, most of Europe was not finally freed from Nazi rule until the spring of 1945. Many countries, including Norway, Denmark, and parts of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, were occupied right up until VE Day itself.
Finally, in western Europe at least, VE Day marked the end of totalitarianism, and the beginning of a new era of democracy. With the Nazis gone, European countries were free once more to choose their own governments. In eastern Europe, which fell under communist rule after 1945, the people would have to wait a further four decades before democracy was restored.
Does Germany recognise or celebrate VE Day?
For many years after the war, VE Day was regarded by many in Germany as a day of shame rather than one of celebration. In East Germany, which became communist after 1945, ‘Liberation Day’ was a public holiday for many years, but it was not generally celebrated with much enthusiasm.
Today, however, VE Day is remembered in a much more favourable light. Germans suffered terribly during the war, not only beneath Allied bombs, but also at the hands of their own rulers. Tens of thousands of Germans were imprisoned or executed by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, often for the most insignificant misdemeanours. As a consequence, the defeat of the Nazis is now universally regarded as a blessing.
In Germany, VE Day is not a day of celebration as it is in other countries. Rather it is regarded as a day of sombre commemoration, when the dead are remembered, and the promise is renewed never to allow such terrible events to repeat themselves.
Keith Lowe is the author of the international bestseller, Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II, which won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize in 2013 and Italy’s Cherasco History Prize in 2015. His latest book is Prisoners of History (HarperCollins, 2020)