Two years ago tomorrow, Norton Rose Fulbright shared the first of its many blog updates regarding the Coronavirus and the global pandemic that was about to unfold. On January 22, 2020, we shared news from the CDC that confirmed the United States identified its first infection in the country and authorities began scrambling to prepare. A little over one week later, we reported that the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency after COVID-19 was detected in eighteen countries, infecting almost 10,000 people and killing more than two hundred. Since then, Norton Rose Fulbright has reported on many more milestones and has remained dedicated to providing relevant updates to healthcare providers during this crisis.
We have watched the United States declare a public health emergency. Together we have seen the infection rates skyrocket as 60,000 cases of COVID-19 infections had been confirmed in February 2020—a number that pales in comparison to today’s figures. And we have mourned the loss of those that succumbed to the virus.
Over the last two years, scientists have worked countless hours to provide guidance for hospitals and other health care centers as the infection rates continued to climb. Health care providers adapted their practice to treat patients during these unprecedented times, increasing reliance on telehealth services to safely address medical problems that could be resolved from afar. Hospital administrators were forced to confront a harsh reality of allocating limited resources to sick patients. Eventually, the United States began to reopen and serious discussion about the development of a COVID-19 vaccine began to take place as infection and death rates continued to rise, with the United States surpassing 200,000 fatalities in September 2020.
In December 2020, the United Kingdom approved administration of the first COVID-19 vaccine; the same month, a United States citizen received the first COVID-19 vaccine in this country. By March 2021, the United States began widespread vaccination administration as new variants of the coronavirus emerged. Booster shots have become widely available for adults in the United States to continue fighting against the virus, and scientists have worked hard to develop a vaccine suitable for children and teens.
To be sure, the last two years have presented challenges and heartbreak that the country and the world have been forced to confront. Through it all, though, Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers have remained committed to providing relevant updates for healthcare providers on the Health Law Pulse during the COVID-19 public health crisis and will continue to do so.