Coronavirus

A week after COVID-19 vaccine trial paused, Johnson & Johnson, FDA won’t reveal critical details

In this undated photo provided by Johnson & Johnson in September 2020, a woman receives an injection during phase 3 testing for the Janssen Pharmaceutical-Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States. On Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, a U.S. advisory panel made recommendations for who should be first in line to get COVID-19 vaccine, including a plea for special efforts by states and cities to get the shots to low-income minority groups. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)

(CNN) — Despite repeated claims they’re committed to transparency, Johnson & Johnson and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration still aren’t revealing crucial details one week after the pharmaceutical giant’s COVID-19 vaccine trial went on pause.

Public health experts have encouraged transparency in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, considering that hundreds of millions of Americans will eventually be asked to roll up their sleeves and take a vaccine.

The Johnson & Johnson trial was put on hold Oct. 12 due to a study participant’s “unexplained illness,” according to a company statement last week. Johnson & Johnson voluntarily stopped enrolling study participants while the illness is being reviewed by an independent monitoring board.

The company and the FDA declined to answer two questions from CNN: One, whether the study volunteer who became ill received the vaccine or the placebo, and two, if this is the first pause for the trial.

The answers to both questions are critical to understanding what this participant’s illness might mean for the safety of a vaccine.

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Dr. Paul Offit, a member of an FDA advisory committee that will review the vaccines, said Johnson & Johnson should answer these basic questions.

“The goal is to inform the public. When you don’t, it causes people to imagine the worst,” said Offit, a member of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.

Dr. Peter Hotez, director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital, agreed, noting that polls show many Americans don’t want to get a COVID-19 vaccine once one goes on the market.

“By shrouding this in secrecy and leaking things out in bits and pieces, it somehow conveys the message that something untoward is happening,” Hotez said.

Responses from FDA and Johnson & Johnson

FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn has written about the importance of transparency in the COVID-19 vaccine development process.

“We believe transparency in this process will help build public confidence & provide greater understanding of FDA’s work,” Hahn tweeted on Sept. 15.

Spokespersons for his agency declined to answer CNN’s questions about Johnson & Johnson’s trial, saying, as it has with other trials, that federal regulations prohibit the agency from disclosing information. The agency referred CNN to Johnson & Johnson.

The pharmaceutical company has also said it’s committed to transparency, including transparency about its COVID-19 vaccine trial.

“At Johnson & Johnson, we believe the transparency of clinical trial data advances science and medicine and is in the best interest of the patients and consumers who use our pharmaceutical products and the healthcare professionals who prescribe them. We support the overall principles of clinical trial data transparency with the goal of advancing medical sciences,” according to a statement on the company’s website.

When asked questions about the COVID-19 trial pause, a Johnson & Johnson spokesman referred CNN to statement from Oct. 12, when it announced the pause.

In an email to CNN, the spokesman, Jake Sargent, highlighted this sentence from the statement: “We’re also learning more about this participant’s illness, and it’s important to have all the facts before we share additional information.”

Did ill recipient get vaccine or placebo?

It shouldn’t take a week to determine whether a study participant received the vaccine or a placebo, according to vaccine specialists.

The Johnson & Johnson trial started Sept. 23, with the intention to recruit 60,000 patients in eight countries, including the United States.

The company learned of the study volunteer’s “unexplained illness” on Sunday, Oct. 11, Dr. Mathai Mammen, global head of research and development at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson, said Tuesday on the company’s third-quarter earnings call.

In the study, half of the participants receive the vaccine and half receive the placebo, which is a shot of saline that does nothing. The study is blinded, which means the company doesn’t know who receives which, and neither do the participants or the doctors running the trial.

If the participant who became ill received the placebo, that means nothing for the trial. If the participant received the vaccine, however, that could raise safety questions.

Only the trial’s Data Safety and Monitoring Board, a group of independent scientists, can unblind the status of the ill participant and find out if he or she received a vaccine or placebo.

“They could find that out very quickly, certainly within 24 hours,” said Dr. Jesse Goodman, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research from 2003 to 2009, and the agency’s chief scientist from 2009 to 2014.

When CNN asked whether the volunteer received the vaccine or the treatment, the Johnson & Johnson spokesman pointed to the company’s Oct. 12 statement, which notes that “as many trials are placebo-controlled, it is not always immediately apparent whether a participant received a study treatment or a placebo.”

On Oct. 13, on the earnings call, Mathai, the Johson & Johnson executive, said the company had shared data with the monitoring board.

“We’ve given our information set that we do know to the DSMB, and they’ve asked a number of specific questions. We don’t know whether — they haven’t informed us of their — they have the right to unblind. We are still blinded. So we don’t know treatment arm, vaccine arm,” he said.

Wednesday, Johnson & Johnson’s chief financial officer repeated that the company didn’t know what the volunteer received.

“We don’t know even at this point whether that individual is in the placebo arm or the vaccinated arm,” Joseph Wolk told CNN’s Richard Quest.

It’s unclear if Johnson & Johnson has learned since Wednesday whether the participant received the vaccine or placebo.

“It certainly is possible the DSMB is investigating and the company is still unaware of what group they’re in, and it would be helpful if they would clarify that,” Goodman, the former FDA official, said.

Offit said it’s clear to him that the participant received the vaccine — otherwise the trial wouldn’t have been put on hold and stayed on hold for a week.

“Why would you pause a trial if the person received the placebo? It just doesn’t make sense,” said Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadephia.

“I find it hard to believe that they have hundreds of investigators in this trial that will have 60,000 participants, this huge steamship moving forward, and you stop because a participant who received the placebo got sick? That just defies logic.”

Is this the trial’s first pause?

Johnson & Johnson and the FDA also declined to answer whether this was the first pause for its COVID-19 vaccine trial.

The answer is important, because if two or more participants develop similar illnesses after receiving the vaccine, that’s an important red flag that the vaccine could pose safety risks.

Speaking generally about vaccine trials, former FDA Commissioner Dr. Peggy Hamburg said openness is important.

“Transparency is always better, especially with basic and straightforward questions,” she said.

Participants who took a similar vaccine made by another company have also become ill.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the AstraZeneca vaccine both use an adenovirus as part of its COVID-19 vaccine. Adenoviruses cause the common cold and other illnesses, but the viruses are genetically modified so they won’t replicate and cause disease, according to the companies.

Johnson & Johnson uses a human adenovirus, and the vaccine from AstraZeneca and Oxford uses a chimpanzee adenovirus.

Volunteers in the trial run by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford developed “unexplained neurological symptoms including changed sensation and limb weakness,” according to a participant information sheet from the university.

The AstraZeneca trial paused once in July and again in September because of illnesses. The September pause is still in effect in the United States.

Offit said the pharmaceutical companies should inform the public of pauses, and if the trial is allowed to proceed, explain why the illnesses were coincidental and not due to the vaccine.

“You can inform them in a manner so people don’t assume that something bad happened, so they don’t assume the worst and think ‘this makes me really hesitant to take this vaccine,’ ” he said.

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Indiana coronavirus timeline

With information from the Indiana Department of Health through Dec. 2, this timeline reflects updated tallies of deaths and positive tests prior to that date.

  • March 6: Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) confirms the first case in Indiana. Officials say the Marion County resident had recently traveled to Boston to attend a BioGen conference as a contractor.
  • March 8: ISDH confirms a second case. An adult in Hendricks County who had also traveled to the BioGen conference was placed in isolation. Noblesville Schools say a parent and that parent’s children will be self-quarantining after attending an out-of-state event where someone else tested positive.
  • March 9: Avon Community School Corp. says a student on March 8 tested positive.
  • March 10: ISDH launches an online tracker. Ball State University basketball fans learn the Mid-American Conference tourney will have no fans in the stands. Three businesses operating nursing homes in Indiana announce they will no longer allow visitors.
  • March 11: The Indianapolis-based NCAA announces the Final Four basketball tournaments will be conducted with essential staff and limited family attendance. The Big Ten announces all sports events, including the men’s basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, will have no fans starting March 12. Ball State University suspends in-person classes the rest of the spring semester. NBA suspends all games, including the Indiana Pacers, until further notice. Butler University and the University of Indianapolis extend spring break, after which they will have virtual classes.
  • March 12: Gov. Eric Holcomb announces new protections that led to extended public school closings and the cancellation of large events across the state. The NCAA cancels its basketball tournaments. The Big Ten suspends all sporting events through the winter and spring seasons. The league including the Indy Fuel hockey team suspends its season. Indy Eleven says it will reschedule four matches. Indianapolis’ annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is canceled. 
  • March 13: The Indiana High School Athletic Association postpones the boys basketball tournament. Wayzata Home Products, a Connersville cabinet maker, shuts down and lays off its entire workforce due to market uncertainty. Gov. Holcomb announces actions including the elimination of Medicaid co-pays for COVID-19 testing and the lifting of limits on the number of work hours per day for drivers of commercial vehicles. Franklin College says it will begin online classes March 18 and empty residence halls of students in two days. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis closes indefinitely. The Indianapolis Public Library joins other libraries across Indiana and closes all facilities indefinitely.
  • March 14: The Indiana Gaming Commission says all licensed gaming and racing operations will close in two days for an indefinite period.
  • March 15: Indiana had its first death. St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis announces it will suspend all elective, non-urgent surgeries.
  • March 16: Indiana had its second death. Gov. Holcomb announced the first Hoosier death. He closes bars, restaurants and nightclubs to in-person patrons, but maintains carryout and delivery services.
  • March 17: Indiana had its third and fourth deaths. ISDH announces Indiana’s second death. Indiana’s Catholic bishops cancel masses indefinitely. Gov. Holcomb activates the National Guard. Purdue, Butler and Indiana State universities cancel May commencement ceremonies.
  • March 18: Indiana had its fifth death. Eli Lilly and Co. says it will use its labs to speed up testing in Indiana. The 500 Festival suspends all events. Simon Property Group closes all malls and retail properties.
  • March 19: Gov. Holcomb extends Indiana’s state of emergency into May. Holcomb says he’ll close all K-12 public and nonpublic schools. Standardized testing was canceled. The state’s income-tax and corporate-tax payment deadline was extended to July 15. Holcomb says the state will waive job search requirements for people applying for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. The IHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament was canceled. The Marion County Emergency Operations Center upgrades to Level 1 status.
  • March 20: Indiana’s death toll rose to 9. ISDH announces Indiana’s third death. Gov. Holcomb moves the state’s primary election to June 2. Indiana University says it is postponing May commencement ceremonies on all campuses.
  • March 21: Indiana’s death toll rises to 14. ISDH announces Indiana’s fourth death. Indiana National Guard says it and the Department of Transportation are distributing medical supplies to hospitals.
  • March 22: Indiana’s death toll rises to 19. ISDH announces seven deaths.
  • March 23: Indiana’s death toll rises to 24. Holcomb orders Hoosiers deemed nonessential to “stay at home” from March 24-April 7. Eli Lilly & Co. begins drive-thru testing for the coronavirus for health care workers with a doctor’s order. Ball State University cancels the May commencement.
  • March 24: Indiana’s death toll rises to 29. Fred Payne of Indiana Workforce Development says any Hoosiers out of work, including temporary layoffs, are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits.
  • March 25: Indiana’s death toll rises to 35. Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the Indianapolis 500 is moved to Aug. 23.
  • March 26: Indiana’s death toll rises to 44.
  • March 27: Indiana’s death toll rises to 47.
  • March 28: Indiana’s death toll rises to 58.
  • March 29: Indiana’s death toll rises to 76.
  • March 30: Indiana’s death toll rises to 91.
  • March 31: Indiana’s death toll rises above 100, to 113. Gov. Holcomb extends the limits of bars and restaurants to offer only “to go” and “carryout” through April 6. Indiana health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box, asked about when Indiana will be in a surge of COVID-19 cases, says she thinks the surge is starting.
  • April 1: Officials extend Marion County’s “stay at home” order through May 1. Marion County health officials say they will start COVID-19 testing services for front-line employees.
  • April 2: The state announces K-12 schools will be closed for the rest of the school year. The Indiana High School Athletic Association cancels spring sports seasons.
  • April 3: Gov. Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order through April 20. The state receives a federal Major Disaster Declaration for all 92 counties. The Indiana National Guard says it, the Army Corps of Engineers and state health officials will begin to assess sites for alternate health care facilities.
  • April 4: Indiana’s death toll rises above 200.
  • April 6: The state reports a Madison County nursing home has had 11 deaths. Gov. Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order through April 20. He also limits additional businesses to carry-out only.
  • April 7: Indiana’s death toll rises above 300. Indiana health commissioner Box says four long-term care facilities have 22 deaths that appear to be related to COVID-19.
  • April 10: ISDH said 24 residents of a long-term care facility in Madison County have died from COVID-related illness.
  • April 11: Indiana’s death toll rises above 400.
  • April 14: Indiana’s death toll rises above 500.
  • April 16: Indiana records more than 10,000 positive coronavirus tests. The governor says he expects Indiana to experience a reopening in early May.
  • April 17: Indiana’s death toll rises above 600. The governor says that he will extend the “stay at home” order through May 1.
  • April 20: Indiana’s death toll rises above 700. Gov. Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order to May 1. The governor also says, if the medical supply chain is in good shape, other elective medical procedures can resume April 27.
  • April 22: Indiana’s death toll rises above 800. The Tyson facility in Logansport voluntarily closes so 2,200 employees can be tested for COVID-19.
  • April 24: Indiana’s death toll rises above 900. The Indianapolis City-County Council approves $25 million to help small businesses. Fishers City Council creates a city health department with a plan to test every resident.
  • April 25: ISDH says it will launch an antibody testing study for Hoosiers; thousands of residents were randomly selected to participate in the study.
  • April 27: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,000.
  • April 28: Indiana officials say they will open COVID-19 testing to more Hoosiers, with expanded criteria and new testing services at 20 sites around the state.
  • April 29: The state says it will spent $43 million on contact tracing.
  • April 30: Indianapolis extends its stay-at-home order through May 15.
  • May 1: Gov. Holcomb announces a phased reopening plan for the state of Indiana. He also extends the stay-at-home order to May 4.
  • May 3: Indiana records more than 20,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • May 4: Indiana enters Stage 2 of its Back on Track plan, which excludes Cass County until May 18, and Lake and Marion counties until May 11.
  • May 6:The state begins testing for all Hoosiers at 20 sites, with plans to expand the number of sites to 50 in a week. Ivy Tech Community College says it will continue virtual classes when summer courses begin in June. 
  • May 8: Cris Johnston, director of the Office of Budget and Management, says the state missed out on nearly $1 billion in anticipated April revenues; all state agencies will be given budget-cutting goals. Purdue University OKs plans to reopen for the fall semester with social distancing and other safety measures.
  • May 10: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,500.
  • May 13: The first phase of a state-sponsored study of the coronavirus estimated about 186,000 Hoosiers had COVID-19 or the antibodies for the novel virus by May 1. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced plans for limited reopenings of worship services, retail establishments, libraries and restaurants.
  • May 15: Simon Property Group reopens Castleton Square Mall, Circle Centre Mall, and Fashion Mall at Keystone
  • May 18: Indiana reports its first case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in a child. The Farbest Foods turkey-processing plant in Huntingburg is closed for three days; 91 people had tested positive there.
  • May 21: Indiana records more than 30,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • May 22: Indiana advances to Stage 3 of the Back on Track reopening plan. Indianapolis closes portions of five streets to allow restaurants to reopen with outdoor dining only.
  • May 27: Indiana University says the fall semester will have in-person and online courses, plus an adjusted calendar through May 2021. Ball State University says the fall semester will be 13 straight weeks of in-person classes with no day off on Labor Day and no fall break.
  • May 28: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,000.
  • May 29: Places of worship in Marion County can begin holding indoor services at 50% capacity with proper social distancing. Jim Schellinger, Indiana secretary of commerce, said the federal Paycheck Protection Program has made 73,430 loans in Indiana totaling $9,379,164,461, the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan program has made 5,070 loans in Indiana totaling $445,428,500, and the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans Advance program has made 38,365 grants in Indiana totaling $136,554,000.
  • June 1: Marion County restaurants begins serving customers indoors and outdoors with 50% capacity. Marion County salons, tattoo parlors reopen by appointment only. Marion County gyms, fitness centers and pools reopen with 50% capacity and no contact sports. However, a Marion County curfew that began the night of May 31 and continued into the morning of June 3 after rioting impacted the reopening of some businesses.
  • June 3: Phase 2 of statewide testing of random Hoosiers by the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI and the Indiana State Department of Health begins.
  • June 5: Indiana reports May tax revenues were 20% short of projections made before the coronavirus closings started.
  • June 8: Indianapolis leaders agree to spend $79 million in coronavirus relief funding on contact tracing, rent relief, personal protective equipment and support for small businesses.
  • June 12: Indiana, excluding Marion County, advances to Stage 4 of reopening plan.
  • June 15: Casinos and parimutuel racing reopen in the state. Marion County’s public libraries begin a phased reopening.
  • June 19: Marion County advances to Stage 4 of state’s reopening plan.
  • June 24: The governor says the state’s moratorium on the eviction on renters will be extended through July. Indiana announces it will create a rental assistance program July 13. Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon says he has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • June 27: Indiana hospitalizations for COVID-19 begin to increase, with about 33 new patients a day through July 1.
  • July 1: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,500. The governor pauses Stage 5 final reopening plan, announces Stage 4.5 from July 4-17.
  • July 4: Indiana’s Stage 4.5 reopening plan begins.
  • July 9: Indiana records more than 50,000 positive coronavirus tests. Marion County mandates mask-wearing.
  • July 10: Indianapolis Public Schools announces its reopening plans.
  • July 11: Indy Eleven resumes 2020 season with victory at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis reopens.
  • July 13: Indiana begins rental assistance program for all counties but Marion County. Marion County begins its own rental assistance program.
  • July 15: Indiana announces the Stage 4.5 reopening plan will continue another two weeks. The WNBA season begins.
  • July 16: Indianapolis suspends applications for its rental assistance program due to overwhelming demand.
  • July 24: Bars, taverns and nightclubs in Indianapolis are shut down again. City officials also return to other previous restrictions.
  • July 25: Indiana Fever begins WNBA season after delays.
  • July 27: Indiana governor’s order to wear face coverings begins. Great Lakes Valley Conference, which including University of Indianapolis, postpones most fall sports, including football, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball, until spring.
  • July 30: NBA season resumes.
  • Aug. 4: Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the Aug. 23 Indianapolis 500 will be run without fans.
  • Aug. 5: With more than 1,000 positive tests reported in a single day, Indiana jumps to a total of 70,993 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Aug. 10: Indiana records more than 75,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Aug. 17: Indianapolis Public Schools restarts with online-only classes. News 8 learns the 2021 NBA All-Star Game will not happen on Presidents Day weekend in 2021.
  • Aug. 20: Indiana’s death toll rises above 3,000. Purdue University suspends 36 students after a party at a co-op.
  • Aug. 21: Indiana high school football season begins with some teams not playing due to COVID-19 concerns.
  • Aug. 23: Butler University tells undergraduates that instruction will occur remotely for the first two weeks of the semester, starting Aug. 24, instead of in classrooms.
  • Aug. 24: Purdue, Indiana, IUPUI and Ball State universities resume in-person classes.
  • Aug. 25: Reports say a fraternity, a sorority and a cooperative house at Purdue University are under quarantines.
  • Aug. 26: Gov. Holcomb extends the mask mandate through Sept. 25. Indiana’s rental assistance program will take applications for one last day.
  • Aug. 27: Indiana University says eight Greek houses are under 14-day quarantines.
  • Sept. 2: Indiana University tells 30 Greek houses in Bloomington to quarantine.
  • Sept. 6: Indiana records more than 100,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Sept. 8: Marion County allows bars and nightclubs to reopen with 25% capacity indoors and 50% capacity outdoors.
  • Sept. 12: The Indianapolis Colts open their season with a loss in a Jacksonville stadium with a limited number of fans.
  • Sept. 21: The Indianapolis Colts home opener is limited to 2,500 fans.
  • Sept. 23: Gov. Eric Holcomb extends the mask mandate through Oct. 17.
  • Sept. 24: The state’s mask mandate is extended through Oct. 17.
  • Sept. 25: The Mid-American Conference announces it will start a six-game football season Nov. 4, with the championship game Dec. 18 or 19.
  • Sept. 26: Indiana advances to a revised Stage 5 of Indiana Back on Track plan with relaxed limits on gatherings, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and more. Marion, Monroe and Tippecanoe counties decided to have more restrictive limits, however.
  • Sept. 27: The Indianapolis Colts second home game is limited to 7,500 fans.
  • Sept. 28: Purdue University says it’s suspended 14 students, including 13 student-athletes, for violations of a pledge designed to curb the coronavirus pandemic on campus.
  • Sept. 30: The Indiana State Department of Health’s online coronavirus dashboard began showing data on positive coronavirus cases in Indiana schools.
  • Oct. 1: IU’s website shows two additional fraternities and a sorority at the Bloomington campus have been issued “cease and desist” orders.
  • Oct. 2: Franklin College suspends classes and moves to virtual education and activities through Oct. 9 after a “concerning and unusual” increase in the positivity rate for COVID-19.
  • Oct. 3: Indiana records more than 125,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Oct. 4: Indiana’s death toll rises above 3,500.
  • Oct. 12: Franklin College returns to in-person classes.
  • Oct. 13: Indianapolis-based drugmaker Lilly pauses its trial of a combination antibody treatment for coronavirus for safety reasons.
  • Oct. 14: Indiana health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box announces she has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Oct. 15: Gov. Holcomb issues executive order to extend mask mandate and Stage 5 reopening plan.
  • Oct. 18: The Indianapolis Colts third home game was limited to 12,500 fans.
  • Oct. 19: Indiana records more than 150,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Oct. 23: The Big Ten begins its football season.
  • Oct. 26: Indiana’s death toll rises above 4,000.
  • Oct. 29: Indiana records more than 175,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Oct. 30: Gov. Holcomb extends the public health emergency through Dec. 1.
  • Nov. 1: Indiana National Guard to begin deploying to long-term care facilities to provide coronavirus assistance.
  • The Mid-American Conference football teams begins its six-game regular season.
  • Nov. 5: Indiana records more than 200,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Nov. 8: The Indianapolis Colts fourth home game was limited to 12,500 fans.
  • Nov. 9: Indiana’s death toll rises above 4,500.
  • Nov. 11: Indiana records more than 233,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Nov. 12: Indianapolis calls for schools to go to virtual learning by Nov. 30.
  • Nov. 14: Indiana records more than 251,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Nov. 15: Indiana adds coronavirus-control restrictions for all businesses and gatherings in counties with the highest number of new cases as part of an update to the statewide COVID-19 pandemic response.
  • Nov. 16: Indiana records more than 262,000 positive coronavirus tests. Indianapolis limits capacity inside bars, private clubs, fraternal organizations and gyms to 25%; inside restaurants, libraries, funeral homes, swimming pools and shopping malls’ food courts to 50%; and inside religious services to 75%. Marion County Health Department requires preregistration for COVID-19 testing after increased demand at three drive-thru locations.
  • Nov. 18: Indiana records more than 275,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Nov. 20: Indiana’s death toll rises above 5,000.
  • Nov. 21: Indiana’s death toll rises above 5,100.
  • Nov. 22: Indiana records more than 300,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Nov. 23: Indiana’s death toll rises above 5,200. Indiana records more than 306,000 positive coronavirus tests. Indianapolis Public Schools returns to virtual learning through Jan. 18.
  • Nov. 24: Indiana’s death toll rises above 5,300. Indiana records more than 312,000 positive coronavirus tests. The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball seasons begin; some games had no fans in the stands.
  • Nov. 25: Indiana records more than 318,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Nov. 26: Indiana’s death toll rises above 5,400. Indiana records more than 324,000 positive coronavirus tests. Butler University men’s basketball cancels Nov. 29 game against Eastern Illinois after a positive COVID-19 test.
  • Nov. 27: Indiana’s death toll rises above 5,500. Indiana records more than 328,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Nov. 28: Indiana records more than 333,000 positive coronavirus tests. Butler University men’s basketball team postponed two more games because of a positive COVID-19 test.
  • Nov. 29: Indiana’s death toll rises above 5,600. Indiana records more than 338,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Nov. 30: Indiana records more than 344,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Dec. 1: Indiana’s death toll rises above 5,700. Indiana records more than 350,000 positive coronavirus tests. Bankers Life Fieldhouse hosts its first NCAA men’s basketball game, Kansas vs. Kentucky, since the start of the pandemic.
  • Dec. 2: Indiana records more than 359,000 positive coronavirus tests. Indianapolis ends its rental assistance program.
  • Dec. 12: Indiana’s mask mandate is set to expire.
  • Dec. 22: NBA to start league’s 75th season, delayed and shortened to a 72-game schedule because of the pandemic.

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