KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

At U.N., China, Russia, U.S. Spar Over Pandemic Responses; African Nations Call For Fiscal Support; Guterres Urges Nations To Cooperate On COVID-19, Climate Change

AP: At U.N., China, Russia and U.S. clash over pandemic responses
“The United States butted heads with China and Russia at the United Nations on Thursday over responsibility for the pandemic that has interrupted the world, trading allegations about who mishandled and politicized the virus in one of the few real-time exchanges among top officials at this year’s COVID-distanced U.N. General Assembly meeting…” (Lederer, 9/24).

AP: At U.N., Africa urges fiscal help against virus ‘apocalypse’
“African nations came out swinging on the third day of the United Nations annual gathering of world leaders Thursday, calling for dramatic fiscal measures to help economies survive the coronavirus pandemic — which one leader called the ‘fifth horseman of the apocalypse.’ Africa’s 54 countries estimate they need $100 billion in support annually for the next three years, pointing out that it’s a fraction of the trillions of dollars some richer countries are using to revive their economies…” (Anna, 9/24).

Reuters: If world handles climate like COVID-19, U.N. chief says: ‘I fear the worst’
“The United States, China, and Russia fought on Thursday during a United Nations Security Council meeting on the coronavirus pandemic after U.N. chief António Guterres had warned the body that if the climate crisis was approached with the ‘same disunity and disarray’ of COVID-19, then: ‘I fear the worst’…” (Nichols, 9/24).

AP: Yemen’s president urges Houthis to allow humanitarian aid (9/24).

Devex: There is ‘enough common ground’ to revitalize the U.N., but it still won’t be easy (Lieberman, 9/25).

The Economist: Why governments get covid-19 wrong (9/26).

TIME: Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the Dangers of Politicizing the Coronavirus Pandemic (Oaklander, 9/24).

U.N. News: Pandemic shocks world, reinforces need for multilateralism, says Estonian President (9/24).

U.N. News: Haiti’s President urges ‘critical rethink’ to ensure development assistance targets national priorities (9/24).

U.N. News: Somalia committed to promoting democracy, accountability despite COVID-19 challenge (9/24).

U.N. News: Through solidarity, humanity will overcome COVID-19 pandemic: Timor-Leste President (9/24).

Xinhua: Albanian president expresses gratitude to WHO for helping contain COVID-19 (9/25).

Xinhua: World leaders call for continued commitment to SDGs (9/24).

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Additional Countries Join COVAX Facility, Including Brazil, Chile, Israel, UAE

Reuters: Brazil to join COVAX vaccine facility, as Chile, Israel, UAE also sign up
“Brazil, which has the world’s second-highest coronavirus death toll, has decided to join the global COVID-19 vaccine partnership known as COVAX and will earmark 2.5 billion reais ($454 million) for securing vaccines through it, President Jair Bolsonaro’s office said. … A total of 156 countries had joined the COVAX facility, which aims to deliver at least 2 billion doses of vaccines by the end of 2021, the WHO and [Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance] said on Monday. They expected a further 38 rich countries to join in coming days and said discussions continued with China. The United States has not signed up, having secured future supplies through bilateral deals…” (Paraguassu et al., 9/25).

Additional coverage of the COVAX facility and other vaccine research efforts is available from AP, Axios, CNBC, Homeland Preparedness News, New York Times, POLITICO, Quartz, and Science.

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Birx Not Considering Leaving U.S. White House Task Force; GAO Recommends 6 Guidelines For U.S. Government COVID-19 Response; Trump's Political Moves Impacting Vaccine Research Efforts

AP: Birx: Not considering leaving coronavirus task force
“White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx on Thursday pushed back against a report that said she was distressed over the direction of the task force and was considering leaving. During a livestreamed news conference at Auburn University in Alabama, Birx was asked about a CNN report that said she was frustrated with what she saw as a diminished role and questioned how long she could remain in the role. Birx said she was not considering leaving…” (9/24).

The Atlantic: Fauci to a Meddling HHS Official: ‘Take a Hike’
“[Tuesday], after weeks of reports about political interference in the efforts of government scientists and public-health experts to inform Americans about the pandemic, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, directly addressed the two Trump administration officials at the center of the recent controversy: Michael Caputo, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, and Caputo’s former science adviser, Paul Alexander, who attempted to censor what scientists, including Fauci, said about the coronavirus. ‘Caputo enabled Alexander,’ Fauci told me over email. ‘Alexander is the one who directly tried to influence the CDC (he may have succeeded, I cannot really say) and even me (I told him to go take a hike).’ Fauci’s comments came after his appearance at The Atlantic Festival [Tuesday] evening…” (Madrigal, 9/23).

CIDRAP News: Watchdog to feds: Do more to blunt COVID-19 harms
“The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) this week recommended 16 federal actions to shore up the U.S. response to the country’s ongoing COVID-19-related ‘catastrophic loss of life and profound economic disruption’…” (Van Beusekom, 9/23).

CNBC: Trump’s coronavirus vaccine czar says he’s had ‘enough’ of Democratic calls for his firing over pharma stock holdings
“President Donald Trump’s coronavirus vaccine czar told CNBC on Wednesday that he’s had enough of accusations that his former work in the pharmaceutical industry creates a conflict of interest. Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who was appointed May 15 to run the Trump administration’s Covid-19 vaccine program, Operation Warp Speed, is a former executive at GlaxoSmithKline as well as a former board member of Lonza Group and Moderna…” (Lovelace, 9/23).

The Lancet: Media reports reveal political interference at the U.S. CDC
“After news stories about attempts by members of the Trump administration to manipulate COVID-19 reports published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and over-rule its scientists, one top official is taking a sudden leave of absence for health reasons. Another’s government contract has abruptly ended…” (Jaffe, 9/26).

NBC News: Secret, powerful panels will pick Covid-19 vaccine winners
“…The data and safety monitoring board — known as a DSMB — is supposed to make sure the medicine is safe and it works. It has the power to halt a clinical trial or fast-track it. Shielding the identities of clinicians and statisticians on the board is meant to insulate them from pressure by the company sponsoring the trial, government officials, or the public, according to multiple clinical trial experts who have served on such panels. That could be especially important in the pressure-cooker environment of Covid-19 vaccine research, fueled by President Donald Trump’s promises to deliver a vaccine before Election Day…” (Pradhan, 9/24).

POLITICO: How Trump is undermining his own vaccine race
“…Almost since the start of the coronavirus crisis, Trump has promised a vaccine is just around the corner, repeatedly contradicting his own experts on the timeline and the standards necessary for approval. The goal, he’s made clear, is a viable vaccine just before Election Day — the centerpiece of his own claims that the administration deserves an ‘A-plus’ for its response to Covid-19. But that single-minded pursuit has left a string of damaging episodes in its wake and hopelessly intertwined the delicate drug development process with Trump’s political aims, according to interviews with a dozen public health experts both inside and outside the administration…” (Cancryn, 9/24).

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Researchers Examine Coronavirus Impacts In Africa; COVID-19 Stigma High Among Some Populations In Asia-Pacific; E.U., Canada Face Possible 2nd Waves; New Wave Building In U.S.

AFRICA

BBC News: Coronavirus corruption in Kenya: Officials and businesspeople targeted (Igunza, 9/24).

DW: World in Progress: Coronavirus makes life harder for HIV/AIDS patients in Uganda (Nakirya, 9/24).

NBC News: Africa has held off the worst of the coronavirus. Researchers are working to figure out how (Chow, 9/25).

ASIA

AP: Asia Today: India’s daily new virus cases on declining trend (9/25).

Devex: COVID-19 stigma high among certain groups in Asia-Pacific, survey reveals (Ravelo, 9/25).

Financial Times: India’s top coronavirus adviser defends pandemic response (Findlay, 9/24).

Washington Post: ‘Tis the season for travel in China. But virus fears cast a shadow over festivities (Dou/Li, 9/25).

EUROPE

AP: E.U. warns of slim window to avoid repeat of prior virus peak (9/24).

The Guardian: What lessons can Europe learn from Sweden’s Covid-19 experience? (Henley, 9/25).

Washington Post: As pandemic winter looms, leaders in Europe and Canada issue stark warnings (Rauhala et al., 9/24).

MIDDLE EAST

AP: AP Interview: Israeli virus czar fights outbreak, politics (Goldenberg, 9/25).

Washington Post: Coronavirus is out of control in Syria, no matter what the government says (Dadouch, 9/25).

NORTH AMERICA

The Hill: New wave of COVID-19 cases builds in U.S. (Wilson, 9/25).

Newsweek: How the U.S. ‘Uniquely Mismanaged’ the Coronavirus Pandemic (Gander, 9/24).

Washington Post: The code: How genetic science helped expose a secret coronavirus outbreak (Kaplan et al., 9/24).

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Actual COVID-19 Death Toll Could Be Closer To 2M, Academics Say; POLITICO Interviews Experts About How Pandemic Might End

Bloomberg: Covid Death Toll Nears 1 Million, But Real Number May Be Double
“The world will officially record 1 million deaths from Covid-19 in the next few days, but the real tally might be almost double that. Actual fatalities from the worst pandemic in a century may be closer to 1.8 million — a toll that could grow to as high as 3 million by the end of the year, according to Alan Lopez, a laureate professor and director of the University of Melbourne’s global burden of disease group…” (Du, 9/24).

POLITICO: Here’s How the Pandemic Finally Ends
“…[T]his is how it could happen in the United States: By November 2021, most Americans have received two doses of a vaccine that, while not gloriously effective, fights the disease in more cases than not. Meanwhile, Americans continue to wear masks and avoid large gatherings, and the Covid-19 numbers drop steadily after a series of surges earlier in the year. Eventually, as more and more Americans develop immunity through exposure and vaccination, and as treatments become more effective, Covid-19 recedes into the swarm of ordinary illnesses Americans get every winter. … The future laid out above is the likeliest scenario for how the pandemic could end, based on interviews with 11 top-level experts who think about the future of those microscopic SARS-CoV-2 particles every day…” (Ralph, 9/25).

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News Outlets Examine 'Infodemic,' Social Media, Digital Inclusion, Remote Work Among Development Professionals Amid Pandemic

Al Jazeera: How do we tackle an ‘infodemic’ amid a pandemic? (Pietromarchi, 9/24).

Devex: Remote work takes a toll on development professionals’ well-being (Smith, 9/25).

Devex: Digital inclusion will be critical to pandemic recovery (Cheney, 9/25).

SciDev.Net: Social media COVID-19 crackdowns are censoring the press (Deighton, 9/24).

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Emails Show Industry Influence Over U.S. Position In International Talks Related To Drug-Resistant Infections

New York Times: Emails Show How Pesticide Industry Influenced U.S. Position in Health Talks
“The emails, from a pesticide industry lobbyist to employees at the Department of Agriculture, expressed alarm over proposed guidelines issued by a United Nations task force working to combat the rise of drug-resistant infections that kill thousands each year. Ray S. McAllister, a policy official at the trade association CropLife America, urged U.S. agriculture officials to fight any effort to include the words ‘crops’ or ‘fungicides’ in the guidelines — a position that would run counter to growing international consensus that the overuse of antifungal compounds is a threat to human health by contributing to drug resistance and should be monitored. … Mr. McAllister got what he wanted. … The emails, which were written in 2018 and obtained through a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental advocacy group, offer a behind-the-curtain peek at how the powerful pesticide industry influences policy decisions that can affect billions of people across the globe…” (Jacobs, 9/24).

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More News In Global Health

Bloomberg: Who’s Succeeding Against the Coronavirus and Why (Loh, 9/25).

The Guardian: Unicef U.K. chief quits after bullying claims against chairman (Murray, 9/24).

The Guardian: El Salvador woman freed after six years in jail following stillbirth (Ford, 9/24).

The Lancet: Inappropriate behavior claims at Stop TB prompt review (Burki, 9/26).

New York Times: Vietnam Confiscates Over 300,000 Recycled Condoms for Sale (Doan et al., 9/25).

U.N. News: INTERVIEW: ‘Famine is preventable, if there is political will’ (9/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19, Including Opportunity To Transform Aid Sector; Ebola Response Amid Pandemic; Vaccine R&D, Distribution

The Conversation: Where in the world will the next epidemic start?
Naomi Forrester-Soto, reader in Vector Biology at Keele University (9/24).

Devex: Opinion: How COVID-19 could help create more diversity in the aid sector
Shweta Suresh, strategy officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (9/24).

The Lancet: COVID-19 in India: the dangers of false optimism
Editorial Board (9/26).

The Lancet: Offline: COVID-19 is not a pandemic
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet (9/26).

New England Journal of Medicine: Ebola Response Priorities in the Time of Covid-19
Athalia Christie, adviser at the CDC’s Center for Global Health, and colleagues (9/24).

New England Journal of Medicine: Evaluating and Deploying Covid-19 Vaccines — The Importance of Transparency, Scientific Integrity, and Public Trust
Jason L. Schwartz, assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Yale School of Public Health and the Section of the History of Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine (9/23).

New York Times: A Global Vaccine?
Jeneen Interlandi, member of the New York Times editorial board, and Chai Dingari, producer with Opinion Video at the New York Times (9/24).

Rewire.News: What Is ‘Pro-Life’ About Letting 200,000 People Die of COVID-19?
Danielle Campoamor, freelance writer and editor (9/24).

Scientific American: How to Distribute a COVID Vaccine Ethically
Nicole Hassoun, visiting scholar at the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University, professor at Binghamton University, and author (9/25).

STAT: We can’t tackle the pandemic without figuring out which Covid-19 vaccines work the best
Peter B. Bach, physician and director of the Drug Pricing Lab at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (9/24).

The Telegraph: Why young women are bearing the brunt of Covid’s second wave
Sophia Walker, chief executive of Young Women’s Trust (9/25).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Opinion: Why COVID makes internet access more urgent than ever
Adrian Lovett, World Wide Web Foundation president and CEO (9/24).

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Opinion Pieces Address Threats To Progress On Sexual Reproductive Health, Rights; Potential Impact Of U.S. Withdrawal From U.N. Agencies; Importance Of Addressing Diet-Related Conditions Through Policy

Devex: Opinion: Facing threats to gender justice together in Europe and beyond
Caroline Hickson, regional director of the IPPF European Network (9/25).

Foreign Affairs: The United States Can’t Quit on the U.N.
Kristine Lee, associate fellow with the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (9/24).

The Telegraph: Poor diets are killing us — why aren’t more governments taking urgent action?
Neena Prasad, director of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Food Policy Program, and Kelly Henning, director of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health Program (9/23).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts Address Various Topics Related To COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Vaccines, Easing Of Restrictions, Maternal Mortality, Impact On Women, Children

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance: 10 reasons why pandemic fatigue could threaten global health in 2021 (9/23).

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Science, not politics, must lead to COVID vaccine approvals
Uché Blackstock, founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity, and Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC (9/24).

The Lancet: Lessons learnt from easing COVID-19 restrictions: an analysis of countries and regions in Asia Pacific and Europe
Emeline Han of Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore, and colleagues (9/24).

MFAN: Principles to Practice: How local organizations and INGOs are working locally for an effective pandemic response (9/24).

ONE Campaign: Who in the E.U. supports a global COVID-19 response? (9/24).

Save the Children: Over 21,000 People Killed Since U.N. Global Ceasefire-Resolution (9/24).

Think Global Health: Who Gets What and Why?
Héctor Castro, senior technical director and global lead for infectious diseases, financing, technologies, data, and impact at Management Sciences for Health and Latin America policy forum chair for Health Technology Assessment International (9/23).

Think Global Health: Two Hundred Thousand and (Not) Counting
Thoai Ngo, global director of the Poverty, Gender, and Youth Program and founding director of the Girl Innovation, Research, and Learning (GIRL) Center at the Population Council, and colleagues (9/22).

Think Global Health: Falling Through the Cracks: COVID-19 and the Rise of Maternal Deaths in Africa
Marleen Vellekoop, project director for the Evidence for Action (E4A) project at Options Consultancy Ltd. (9/21).

UNICEF: Conflict, climate crisis and COVID-19 pose great threats to the health of women and children (9/24).

World Bank: For COVID and Coverage: Financing Reforms are Critical for Better Health in Armenia
Adanna Chukwuma, health specialist at the World Bank Group, and colleagues (9/24).

World Economic Forum: Google shows huge panic attack rise during COVID-19
Barri Bronston-Tulane, writer for Futurity (9/24).

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FIGO Blog Post Features 3 Perspectives On Impact Of Pandemic On Sexual, Reproductive Health Services On World Contraception Day

FIGO: World Contraception Day 2020 — Three Perspectives
Katherine Dean, project coordinator at FIGO, writes, “Each year, on the 26th September, World Contraception Day seeks to improve awareness of contraceptive methods and enable men and women to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health. … We spoke to Jill Sheffield, founder of Women Deliver and chair of the FIGO Contraception and Family Planning Committee, as well as her committee colleagues Megan Elliot (Marie Stopes International), Dr. Jotham Musinguzi (National Population Council), and Professor Gamal Serour (Al Ahzar University) on how the pandemic has affected services and the ways in which we can ensure that contraception remains available to all across the world…” (9/25).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Acting Administrator Delivers Remarks At UNGA Event On Global Humanitarian Needs

USAID: Acting Administrator John Barsa’s Remarks at UNGA Event: A Dialogue With the World’s Top 10 Donors on Global Humanitarian Needs
During remarks at a UNGA event, USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa discussed the U.S. response to global humanitarian needs, noting, “The U.S. will continue to engage the international humanitarian system to ensure a coordinated, principled, and effective response to the world’s most pressing crises” (9/24).

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U.S. Announces Approximately $980M In New Humanitarian Assistance To Several Countries Including Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, South Sudan, Syria

USAID: United States Announces Nearly $152 Million in New Humanitarian Assistance in the Central Sahel Countries of Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania (9/24).

USAID: United States Announces Nearly $108 Million in New Humanitarian Assistance to Help the People of South Sudan (9/24).

USAID: The United States Announces More Than $720 Million in Additional Humanitarian Assistance for the Response to the Crisis in Syria (9/24).

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From KFF

KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of September 25, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (9/25).

Additional KFF COVID-19 resources on the global situation, as well as those focused on the response and impact within the U.S., are available here. KFF’s blog series “Coronavirus Policy Watch” is available here.

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