KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

COVID-19 Threatens Global Peace, Security, U.N. SG Guterres Tells Security Council; Foreign Policy Examines U.N. Role During Pandemic

Bloomberg: U.N. Chief Urges Divided Security Council to Act on Coronavirus
“United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres urged members of the Security Council to come together to fight the global coronavirus outbreak, marking the first time the divided 15-nation body discussed the pandemic. ‘The engagement of the Security Council will be critical to mitigate the peace and security implications of the Covid-19 pandemic,’ Guterres told council members in a closed-door video conference on Thursday…” (Wainer, 4/9).

Foreign Policy: Can the United Nations Survive the Coronavirus?
“…Since the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11, a host of international dignitaries, including U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres and leaders from China and Estonia to Tunisia, France, and Russia, have vied with one another to fill the geopolitical vacuum, putting forward a succession of plans to address the health crisis. But each effort has met stiff resistance or indifference, raising questions about the ability of the U.N. to function effectively with a declining American superpower unwilling, and seemingly unable, to guide the world through the health calamity, and the capacity of a rising China to forge a concerted international response to a pandemic that started on its soil…” (Lynch, 4/8).

Additional coverage of Guterres’s comments at the Security Council briefing is available from AP and U.N. News.

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IMF, Reports Warn Novel Coronavirus Pandemic Impacts Will Widen Inequalities, Heavily Impact Global Economies

Financial Times: Effects of pandemic will widen inequality, report finds (Staton, 4/10).

Reuters: IMF chief says pandemic will unleash worst recession since Great Depression (Shalal/Lawder, 4/9).

U.N. News: Coronavirus-driven debt crisis threatens poor countries already at risk, says U.N. report (4/9).

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As COVID-19 Cases Stabilize In Some European Countries, Asia Braces For 2nd Wave; U.N. Human Rights Chief Warns Pandemic Worsening Inequality, Repression

CIDRAP News: Nations eye COVID-19 lockdown extensions as global cases rise
“With COVID-19 activity showing some early signs of stabilizing in parts of Europe, some governments are considering extending their lockdown orders, as cases are still surging or picking up in other parts of the continent. Meanwhile, cases are accelerating in part of Asia, including Indonesia, Singapore, and Japan, and economic leaders are grappling with the pandemic’s economic impact and how to fund the response…” (Schnirring, 4/9).

The Guardian: Global coronavirus cases pass 1.5 million amid fears of second wave of outbreaks
“Confirmed global coronavirus infections have passed the 1.5 million mark, as a new study of containment measures in China suggests that countries preparing to ease their lockdowns will have to continuously monitor potential new cases to prevent a second deadly outbreak. … In the U.S., figures showed that a staggering one in 10 workers — 16.8 million — had lost their jobs in the past three weeks. There are fears that the total could hit 20 million by the end of the month. While countries such as Spain and Italy reported that their rates of infection were beginning to plateau, others reported record one-day rises, including Russia, where the president, Vladimir Putin, warned that the coming weeks would be decisive in the fight against the virus…” (Beaumont, 4/9).

VOA: U.N. Official Says Coronavirus is Worsening Repression and Inequality
“U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet warned the coronavirus pandemic is likely to widen existing inequalities around the world if left unchecked, with the poor, the disabled, the homeless, minorities, women, and elderly among others most at risk. At a virtual meeting, the human rights chief also had stern criticism for governments that she said are using health emergency measures to justify repression and expand their powers…” (Schlein, 4/10).

AP: Africa must not be ‘neglected’ in virus fight, officials say (Anna, 4/9).

Devex: These countries have only a handful of ventilators (Smith, 4/9).

Financial Times: France to reallocate Africa aid money for fight against coronavirus (Aboud/Pilling, 4/9).

New York Times: Coronavirus Finds Fuel in a World of Migrants (Beech, 4/10).

U.N. News: Living apart, ‘we must stand together’ to battle coronavirus pandemic — U.N. rights chief (4/9).

Washington Post: Among the most vulnerable to coronavirus: The tens of millions who carry HIV and tuberculosis (Bearak/Slater, 4/9).

Washington Post: E.U. strikes deal to help hardest-hit countries, as strain of coronavirus threatens to fracture the bloc (Harlan et al., 4/9).

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Gavi To Disburse $29M To Help Lower-Income Countries Address COVID-19; Mass Vaccination Campaigns In Many Countries Halted

Reuters: GAVI to disburse $29 million to help COVID fight in 13 countries
“The GAVI vaccine alliance will disburse $29 million to help health systems in 13 lower-income countries fight COVID-19, it said on Thursday, part of a $200 million program approved by its board last month…” (Nebehay, 4/9).

Science: Pandemic brings mass vaccinations to a halt
” ‘A devil’s choice.’ That’s how Seth Berkley, head of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, describes the dilemma facing global health organizations in the past few weeks. They could either continue to support mass vaccination campaigns in poor countries but risk that they would inadvertently help spread COVID-19 — or recommend their suspension, inevitably triggering an upsurge of many other infectious diseases. In the end, they chose the latter, and mass vaccination campaigns against a host of diseases are now grinding to a halt in many countries…” (Roberts, 4/10).

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WHO To Launch COVID-19 Funding Appeal Amid Trump Administration's Heightened Scrutiny Of U.N. Agency

The Guardian: The WHO v. coronavirus: why it can’t handle the pandemic
“…[I]t is possible to imagine a world in which every nation respects the WHO’s authority, follows its advice and lets it coordinate the flow of information, resources and medical equipment across national boundaries to areas of greatest need. That is not the world we live in. … [T]he WHO is desperately struggling to get its 194 member states to actually follow its guidance. … There is a simple reason for this. For all the responsibility vested in the WHO, it has little power…” (Buranyi, 4/10).

POLITICO: Trump team ramps up scrutiny of funds to WHO
“U.S. agencies and departments that channel money to the World Health Organization have been asked not to send more such funds this fiscal year without first obtaining higher-level approval, two people familiar with the issue said. The decision comes after President Donald Trump threatened to cut off funding to the U.N. global health body over allegations that the WHO’s leaders are too friendly to China and made missteps in the early days of the coronavirus crisis…” (Toosi/Diamond, 4/9).

Reuters: WHO’s new funding appeal for coronavirus fight to top $1 billion: diplomats
“The World Health Organization (WHO) is preparing to launch an appeal soon for more than $1 billion to fund operations against the COVID-19 pandemic through year-end, diplomats told Reuters on Thursday. It comes against the backdrop of a salvo lobbed by U.S. President Donald Trump against the WHO over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and suggestions from his administration it might re-evaluate U.S. funding…” (Nebehay, 4/9).

Additional coverage of the WHO’s COVID-19 response, as well as controversy over its leadership and relationship with China, is available from The Hill, POLITICO, Quartz, Reuters (2), and U.N. News.

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Trump Administration Officials Discuss COVID-19 Pandemic, Hear Calls To Loosen Iran Sanctions

CNN Business: White House reverses position after blocking health officials from appearing on CNN
“Vice President Mike Pence’s office reversed course on Thursday afternoon, after declining for days to allow the nation’s top health officials to appear on CNN and discuss the coronavirus pandemic, in what was an attempt to pressure the network into carrying the White House’s lengthy daily briefings in full…” (Darcy, 4/10).

CNN: Barr calls coronavirus restrictions ‘draconian’ while health experts say they’re helping lower death projections
“Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday called current restrictions to mitigate the spread of coronavirus ‘draconian,’ as the White House coronavirus task force’s health experts have lauded such measures as helpful to lowering the rate of spread…” (Shortell/Stracqualursi, 4/9).

Roll Call: Calls grow for Trump to relax humanitarian sanctions on Iran
“The Trump administration is coming under increasing pressure to modify its sanctions on Iran to allow medicine and medical equipment to be imported into the Islamic Republic, which is struggling to manage a coronavirus health disaster…” (Oswald, 4/9).

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War-Torn Yemen Records 1st Coronavirus Case; COVID-19 Becomes Leading Cause Of Death Per Day In U.S.; U.K. PM Leaves ICU, Still Under Treatment

AFRICA

The Guardian: Foreigners targeted in Central African Republic as coronavirus fears grow (Losh, 4/10).

New Humanitarian: Zimbabwe’s triple threat: Coronavirus, food shortages, and an economy in meltdown (Mukeredzi, 4/9).

Reuters: In Uganda, mothers in labor die amidst coronavirus lockdown (Biryabarema/Akwiri, 4/9).

Reuters: Some African countries heading for coronavirus peak in weeks: WHO (Carsten et al., 4/9).

ASIA

Foreign Policy: Taiwan Is Exporting Its Coronavirus Successes to the World (Aspinwall, 4/9).

The Guardian: ‘Delivers the stats like no other’: New Zealand’s Covid-19 crush on health chief (Roy, 4/9).

NBC News: Taiwan’s coronavirus success bolsters case for joining WHO, experts say (Sui, 4/9).

EUROPE

The Hill: Italy reports 4,204 new cases of coronavirus (Axelrod, 4/9).

New York Times: Iceland’s ‘Test Everyone’ Goal Has Skeptics, but It May Be Working (Ortiz, 4/9).

NPR: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Leaves ICU Amid Treatment For COVID-19 (Dwyer, 4/9).

Reuters: Spain’s coronavirus death toll curve flattening at last (Keeley/Landauro, 4/10).

The Telegraph: No end to lockdown in sight as U.K. coronavirus deaths rise by 938 in a day (Fawehinmi et al., 4/9).

LATIN AMERICA

New York Times: Indigenous Groups Isolated by Coronavirus Face Another Threat: Hunger (Turkewitz et al., 4/9).

Reuters: Brazil minister resists calls for wider use of hydroxychloroquine (Paraguassu et al., 4/9).

Reuters: Chile plans ‘release certificates’ for recovered coronavirus patients (Laing, 4/9).

MIDDLE EAST

Al Jazeera: Coronavirus widespread among Saudi royal family: Report (4/9).

Reuters: War-ravaged Yemen confirms first coronavirus case, braces for more (Ghobari et al., 4/10).

NORTH AMERICA

AP: PM: Canada’s first wave of cases won’t end until the summer (Gillies, 4/9).

AP: Mexico City seeks to help home-bound, homeless in pandemic (4/10).

Newsweek: Coronavirus Becomes Number One Cause of Death Per Day in U.S., Surpassing Heart Disease and Cancer (Impelli, 4/9).

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Media Outlets Report On Efforts To Develop Novel Coronavirus Treatments, Vaccines

The Atlantic: The Best Hopes for a Coronavirus Drug (Zhang, 4/8).

Financial Times: Covid-19 drugs could be made for $1 per day, say academics (Mancini, 4/9).

The Lancet: Regulators split on antimalarials for COVID-19 (Jaffe, 4/11).

Nature: If a coronavirus vaccine arrives, can the world make enough? (Khamsi, 4/9).

New York Times: At the Center of a Storm: the Search for a Proven Coronavirus Treatment (Kolata, 4/9).

Quartz: A ‘bridge to a vaccine’: The race to roll out antibody-based Covid-19 drugs (McDonnell, 4/8).

Reuters: Key China coronavirus hospital says HIV drug beneficial to patients (Goh et al., 4/9).

Science: Can prophylactic drugs keep fragile health systems running? (Kupferschmidt, 4/10).

Science: Is France’s president fueling the hype over an unproven coronavirus treatment? (Sciama, 4/9).

VOA: China Recruits Volunteers for Phase 2 Coronavirus Vaccine Trial (Xie, 4/9).

Wall Street Journal: The Bats Behind the Pandemic (Ridley, 4/9).

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Scientists Working To Understand Immunity To Novel Coronavirus, Whether Patients' Infections Can 'Reactivate'

Scientific American: What Immunity to COVID-19 Really Means
“…At this early stage of understanding the new coronavirus, it is unclear where COVID-19 falls on the immunity spectrum. Although most people with SARS-CoV-2 seem to produce antibodies, ‘we simply don’t know yet what it takes to be effectively protected from this infection,’ says Dawn Bowdish, a professor of pathology and molecular medicine and Canada Research Chair in Aging and Immunity at McMaster University in Ontario. Researchers are scrambling to answer two questions: How long do SARS-CoV-2 antibodies stick around? And do they protect against reinfection?…” (McKenna, 4/10).

Bloomberg: Coronavirus May ‘Reactivate’ in Cured Patients, Korean CDC Says (Park, 4/9).

Financial Times: Mystery surrounds ‘cured’ patients who tested positive (White/Jung-a, 4/10).

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Locust Swarms Continue To Impact East Africa, Threatening Food Security; Response Complicated By COVID-19

Al Jazeera: Uganda faces food shortage as coronavirus disrupts locust fight
“Farmers in Uganda are bracing for a fresh onslaught of desert locusts after two swarms entered the country from neighboring Kenya last week, threatening to destroy crops and intensify hunger amid the struggle to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Countries across East Africa are battling the worst locust outbreak in decades, with the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warning on Wednesday that the situation remained ‘extremely alarming’ as hopper bands and an increasing number of new swarms form in parts of the region. … The fight against the ravaging pests has been complicated by flight bans imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19, the highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus. The restrictions have significantly delayed deliveries of pesticides in countries across the region…” (Okiror, 4/9).

Additional coverage of locust swarms in Africa and implications for food security is available from AP, Bloomberg, and U.N. News.

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Bill Gates Comments On U.S. COVID-19 Response, Other Aspects Of Pandemic

NPR: Bill Gates, Who Has Warned About Pandemics For Years, On The U.S. Response So Far
“Five years ago, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates gave a TED Talk about global pandemics, warning that the world was not ready to take one on. Now, in the midst of such an outbreak, he has been thinking about how to make up for lost time. Gates has invested in coronavirus research as well as global health more broadly. … In a conversation with NPR’s Ari Shapiro, Gates gives the U.S. response high marks for social distancing efforts but low marks for testing…” (Glen, 4/9).

Additional coverage of comments made by Bill Gates in relation to COVID-19 is available from CNBCFinancial Times, and The Hill.

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Devex Explores Potential Candidates For USAID Administrator Role In Wake Of Green's Resignation

Devex: Who will succeed Mark Green at USAID?
“In the wake of Mark Green’s resignation as administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, speculation about a potential successor has begun to build among Washington insiders. Multiple sources with knowledge of the process believe that Jim Richardson, currently the director of the State Department’s Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources, could have the inside track on the nomination at this point. … After Green steps down on Friday, John Barsa, currently the assistant administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean, will take over as acting administrator. Barsa was a surprise pick for that job, with many assuming that Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick would take the helm until the White House nominated and confirmed a permanent administrator. Richardson’s is not the only name to surface as a potential replacement for Green…” (Igoe, 4/10).

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More News In Global Health

BBC: Yemen: World Food Programme to cut aid by half in Houthi-controlled areas (4/10).

Devex: NGOs lay off, furlough staff as financial crisis bites (Worley, 4/9).

Devex: Watch: Former OFDA chief gives Trump administration a ‘D’ on its COVID-19 response (Kumar, 4/10).

The Guardian: Tanzania to ease education ban on pregnant girls — but not in classrooms (McCool, 4/10).

Quartz: How the military secured a coronavirus drug that has yet to win FDA approval (MacLellan, 4/9).

STAT: It’s difficult to grasp the projected deaths from Covid-19. Here’s how they compare to other causes of death (Begley/Empinado, 4/9).

STAT: Social distancing is controlling Covid-19; now scientists need to figure out which measures are most effective (Begley, 4/9).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Response

Bloomberg: We’re Too Quick to Call a Coronavirus Peak
Mark Gongloff, editor with Bloomberg Opinion (4/8).

Bloomberg: China’s Participation in the WHO Comes at a Price
Eli Lake, Bloomberg Opinion columnist (4/9).

CNN: Virology in the time of coronavirus: What a difference a month makes — and the most important questions we still need to answer
Tom Frieden, president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives and senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Cyrus Shahpar, director of preventing epidemics at Resolve to Save Lives (4/9).

The Conversation: How Africa has developed its scientific research capabilities
Moses John Bockarie, honorary chief specialist scientist at the South African Medical Research Council (4/8).

The Conversation: Coronavirus an ‘existential threat’ to Africa and her crowded slums
David Sanderson, professor and inaugural Judith Neilson chair in architecture at UNSW (4/9).

Devex: Opinion: 3 things frontline health workers need to battle COVID-19
Polly Dunford, president and CEO of IntraHealth International (4/10).

The Guardian: Coronavirus is the greatest global science policy failure in a generation
Richard Horton, doctor and editor-in-chief of The Lancet (4/9).

The Hill: Financial recovery and prevention of disasters must be inclusive
Vinod Thomas, visiting professor at the Asian Institute of Management (4/9).

The Lancet: Palliative care and the COVID-19 pandemic
Editorial Board (4/11).

The Lancet: The gendered dimensions of COVID-19
Editorial Board (4/11).

The Lancet: Centering sexual and reproductive health and justice in the global COVID-19 response
Kelli Stidham Hall, founding director and principal investigator at the Center for Reproductive Health Research in the SouthEast (RISE) at Emory, and colleagues (4/11).

Project Syndicate: The Invisible Killers
Edoardo Campanella, fellow at the Center for the Governance of Change at IE University in Madrid (4/10).

Science Magazine: G20 leaders must answer to COVID-19
Caroline Atkinson, senior adviser at the Rock Creek Group (4/10).

The Telegraph: To protect our own populations and economies from Covid-19, the world must work together
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, secretary of state for international development and MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed, and colleagues (4/9).

TIME: What We Must Do to Prevent a Global COVID-19 Depression
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chair of the World Economic Forum, and Guido Vanham, professor of virology at the University of Antwerp (4/9).

Washington Post: The pandemic strengthens the case for universal basic income
Ishaan Tharoor, writer at the Washington Post (4/10).

Washington Post: The pandemic means the Trump administration must stop mistreating USAID
Josh Rogin, columnist for the Global Opinions section of the Washington Post and political analyst for CNN (4/9).

Washington Times: To stop COVID-19 pandemic, America needs a sanitizing line of defense
Gary D. Alexander, Pennsylvania’s Human Services Secretary from 2011-2013 and Rhode Island’s Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2006-2011 (4/9).

Washington Times: Words matter in fight against coronavirus
Deborah Simmons, opinion writer and senior correspondent at the Washington Times (4/9).

Wired: We Need a Covid-19 Vaccine — Let’s Get It Right the First Time
Maryn McKenna, senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University (4/8).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Multilateral Groups, Private Sector, NGOs, Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Response

Brookings: Africa needs debt relief to fight COVID-19
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, nonresident distinguished fellow for global economy and development at the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings, and colleagues (4/9).

Clinton Health Access Initiative: How can we support health workers? Invest in them.
Katie Ruffing, Community Health Systems associate; Attila Yaman, Health Workforce Strategy and Investment senior associate; and Tej Nuthulaganti, senior director of the Global Health Workforce Program, all with the Clinton Health Access Initiative (4/6).

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund creates mechanism to respond to COVID-19 and protect gains in global AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria responses (4/9).

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund Partners Unite to Fight (4/9).

Merck: Merck Announces $3M Commitment to Address Critical Maternal Health Needs During COVID-19 Pandemic (4/9).

ONE: G20: Cancel debt to support vulnerable countries during COVID 19 (4/9).

Treatment Action Group: Treatment Action Group Information Note on BCG and SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 (4/9).

UNAIDS: UNAIDS condemns misuse and abuse of emergency powers to target marginalized and vulnerable populations (4/9).

UNICEF: Don’t let children be the hidden victims of COVID-19 pandemic
Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF (4/9).

United Nations: World Faces ‘Gravest Test’ since Founding of United Nations, Secretary-General Tells Security Council, Calling for Unity to Address COVID-19 Pandemic (4/9).

WHO Africa: Drawing on Ebola readiness to tackle COVID-19 (4/9).

World Bank: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Drives Sub-Saharan Africa Toward First Recession in 25 Years (4/8).

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From the U.S. Government

NIH Begins Clinical Trial To Evaluate Malaria Drug As Potential Therapy For COVID-19

NIH: NIH clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine, a potential therapy for COVID-19, begins
“A clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of adults hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has begun, with the first participants now enrolled in Tennessee. The Outcomes Related to COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine among In-patients with symptomatic Disease study, or ORCHID Study, is being conducted by the Prevention and Early Treatment of Acute Lung Injury (PETAL) Clinical Trials Network of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health. … Hydroxychloroquine is used to treat malaria and rheumatoid conditions such as arthritis. In various studies, the drug has demonstrated antiviral activity, an ability to modify the activity of the immune system, and has an established safety profile at appropriate doses, leading to the hypothesis that it may also be useful in the treatment of COVID-19. The drug is not without risks as even short term use can cause cardiac arrythmias, seizures, dermatological reactions, and hypoglycemia…” (4/9).

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From KFF

KFF Analyzes CARES Act; Other Resources Examine Global, Domestic Issues Related To COVID-19

KFF: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act: Summary of Key Health Provisions
On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law, marking the third and largest major U.S. legislative initiative to address COVID-19 to date. (The first was the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, signed into law on March 6, followed by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed into law on March 18.) The CARES Act contains a number of health-related provisions focused on the outbreak in the United States, including paid sick leave, insurance coverage of coronavirus testing, nutrition assistance, and other programs and efforts. It also includes support for the global response. This issue brief includes summaries of key health-related provisions of the act (Moss et al., 4/9).

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of April 10, 2020 (4/10).

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

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