KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Nations' Protectionist Policies Could Hinder Efforts To Mitigate COVID-19 Pandemic; G20 Health Ministers To Meet; Global Willingness Exists For Debt Repayment Suspension, World Bank Says

New York Times: A New Front for Nationalism: The Global Battle Against a Virus
“…Now, just as the world requires collaboration to defeat the coronavirus — scientists joining forces across borders to create vaccines, and manufacturers coordinating to deliver critical supplies — national interests are winning out. This time, the contest is over far more than which countries will make iPads or even advanced jets. This is a battle for supremacy over products that may determine who lives and who dies. At least 69 countries have banned or restricted the export of protective equipment, medical devices or medicines, according to the Global Trade Alert project at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. The World Health Organization is warning that protectionism could limit the global availability of vaccines…” (Goodman et al., 4/10).

Reuters: G20 health ministers to speak next week about coronavirus: statement (Kalin, 4/13).

Reuters: World Bank sees “huge willingness” to suspend debt payments for poorest countries (4/13).

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Russia Begins To Acknowledge COVID-19 Cases; Some European Countries Begin To Ease Restrictions; Latin America's Health Care System Strains From Dengue, Coronavirus

AFRICA

Al Jazeera: ‘We feel abandoned’: HIV positive Tanzanians brace for COVID-19 (Ashly, 4/13).

NBC: African countries that faced Ebola outbreaks use lessons to fight COVID-19, experts say (Givetash, 4/14).

ASIA

Reuters: Philippines ramps up coronavirus testing to find thousands of unknown infections (Lema et al., 4/14).

Washington Post: Aggressive testing, contact tracing, cooked meals: How the Indian state of Kerala flattened its coronavirus curve (Masih/K.K., 4/13).

EUROPE

New York Times: After Months of Denial, Russia Admits the Virus Is Taking Hold (Higgins, 4/10).

New York Times: Putin’s Long War Against American Science (Broad, 4/13).

Reuters: Spain, Austria ease lockdowns but WHO warns coronavirus ‘has not peaked’ (Luelmo et al., 4/14).

Reuters: France’s Macron extends coronavirus lockdown until May 11 (Sudip-Kar-Gupta et al., 4/13).

Washington Post: Boris Johnson praises immigrant nurses who saved his life, as Britain’s NHS becomes a rallying cry (Booth et al., 4/13).

LATIN AMERICA

France 24: COVID-19 Pandemic: Latin America’s health care system already strained by dengue fever epidemic (4/14).

The Guardian: ‘We’re abandoned to our own fate’: coronavirus menaces Brazil’s favelas (Phillips, 4/14).

New York Times: Murder Rates Were Staggering. The Virus Has Brought Some Quiet, for Now (Semple/Ahmed, 4/11).

Reuters: Brazil likely has 12 times more coronavirus cases than official count, study finds (Spring et al., 4/13).

MIDDLE EAST

NPR: Coronavirus Pandemic Further Hurts Pakistan’s Poor And Hungry (Hadid, 4/14).

Washington Post: Libya’s war escalates despite international calls for ‘humanitarian pause’ amid pandemic (Raghavan, 4/13).

NORTH AMERICA

Global Health NOW: “We Need an Army”: A National Plan for Contact Tracing in the U.S. (Simpson, 4/12).

The Hill: Multiple states report coronavirus infection rate higher than some of hardest-hit countries (Coleman, 4/13).

STAT: ‘We need an army’: Hiring of coronavirus trackers seen as key to curbing disease spread (Fox, 4/13).

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WHO Urges Nations To Slowly Ease COVID-19 Restrictions, Says Disease 10 Times Deadlier Than 2009 Swine Flu

CIDRAP News: WHO urges nations to go slowly in easing COVID-19 steps
“With COVID-19 activity stabilizing and starting to decline in some of Europe’s hot spots but picking up in some middle- and low-income nations, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned against lifting restrictions too early while also noting that stay-at-home measures may not be practical for poor countries…” (Schnirring, 4/13).

NPR: WHO Says COVID-19 Immunity Is An Unknown; Disease ’10 Times Deadlier’ Than 2009 Flu
“People who have recovered from COVID-19 may or may not be immune to getting sick again — and it’s too soon to know how long any immunity might last, World Health Organization experts say. The appraisal comes as WHO leader Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says COVID-19 is ’10 times deadlier than the 2009 flu pandemic’…” (Chappell, 4/13).

U.N. News: Testing, tracing, and when to lift restrictions: WHO’s latest advice
“…In its updated guidance, WHO is expected to summarize … a new, six-point set of criteria for countries to consider as they weigh whether to lift restrictions already imposed against COVID-19. First, countries should confirm that transmission of the virus has been controlled. Second, they must ensure that health systems are capable of detecting, testing, isolating and treating every case of COVID-19, as well as tracing every contact. Third, they must make sure that outbreak risks are minimized, especially in such settings as health facilities and nursing homes. Fourth, countries must put in place preventive measures in workplaces, schools, and other essential places. Fifth, they must manage importation risks, and sixth, they should fully educate, engage, and empower communities to adjust to the ‘new norm’ of everyday life…” (4/13).

Additional coverage of the WHO’s comments and updates on the global outbreak is available from NPR (2) and VOA.

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Vaccination Campaigns For Other Diseases Halted Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, Putting Children At Risk, U.N., Other Groups Warn

New York Times: Millions of Children Are at Risk for Measles as Coronavirus Fears Halt Vaccines
“More than 100 million children could be at risk for measles because countries around the world are suspending national immunization programs in order to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection, international public health leaders warned on Monday. So far, 24 low- and middle-income countries, including Mexico, Nigeria, and Cambodia, have paused or postponed such programs, according to the Measles and Rubella Initiative, a consortium whose members include UNICEF, the American Red Cross, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Foundation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…” (Hoffman, 4/13).

Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Fight Hinders Action Against Other Deadly Diseases
“…All polio vaccination drives — part of a decadeslong effort to wipe out the disease — have now been suspended by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Even routine immunization programs, often carried out in hospitals and clinics, have been disrupted or halted. Experts worry the lockdowns, while saving lives from Covid-19, could multiply death and suffering from other diseases in developing countries…” (Shah/Parkinson, 4/13).

Additional coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on child health is available from Reuters and U.N. News (2).

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Trump Administration Weighing Options For Withholding WHO Funding, Officials Say

Fox News: Trump administration weighing WHO funding options amid coronavirus outbreak
“The Trump administration is weighing options related to putting a hold on U.S. funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) amid the president’s vocal frustration with the organization throughout the coronavirus pandemic…” (Singman/Burman, 4/13).

Reuters: WHO chief says confident U.S. funding will continue in COVID fight
“The head of the World Health Organization voiced confidence on Monday that the United States would continue funding his U.N. agency which is leading the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite criticism by President Donald Trump…” (Nebehay/Koltrowitz, 4/13).

Wall Street Journal: Trump Funding Threat Against World Health Organization Linked to Hiring Practices
“President Trump’s threat to withhold money from the World Health Organization stems from an ongoing discussion inside the administration to link the $12 billion the U.S. spends on international organizations to the number of American citizens hired by the groups, officials said…” (Bender, 4/13).

Washington Post: Trump likely to announce curbs on funding for World Health Organization this week
“President Trump is likely to announce restrictions on U.S. funding for the World Health Organization this week over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as the administration and conservative allies have ramped up their criticism that the United Nations agency catered to China early in the outbreak and jeopardized global health…” (Gearan/Morello, 4/13).

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Republican Sen. Ron Johnson To Lead Investigation Into Several Aspects Of Coronavirus Pandemic, Including WHO Actions, U.S. Stockpile Preparation

POLITICO: Senate Republicans plan coronavirus probe — with a focus on China
“The Senate’s main oversight committee is beginning a wide-ranging probe into the origins of and response to the coronavirus pandemic, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson said in an interview on Monday. Johnson (R-Wis.) said his committee is ‘going to conduct oversight on this thing in its entirety.’ He listed several elements of the probe: Why the national stockpile wasn’t ‘better prepared,’ why pharmaceutical ingredients and medical devices are manufactured overseas, the World Health Organization’s response to the virus, and how the virus spread in the first place…” (Everett/Levine, 4/13).

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White House Denies Trump Considering Firing Anthony Fauci Following President's Retweet Of Hashtag Calling For Dismissal

New York Times: Fauci Defends Trump, Who Says He Has No Plans to Dismiss Him
“Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the leading public health expert on President Trump’s coronavirus task force, sought on Monday to smooth over a growing rift with the president, taking the podium during the task force’s daily briefing to defend Mr. Trump, who has been enraged by reports that he was warned about the potential for a pandemic but oversaw a halting response. Dr. Fauci said the president approved social distancing measures the first time they were recommended to him. ‘The first and only time that Dr. Birx and I formally made a recommendation to the president’ to put in place strong mitigation measures, he said, referring to Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House’s coronavirus coordinator, ‘the president listened and went to the mitigation.’ Mr. Trump, who on Sunday reposted a message on Twitter saying, ‘Time to #FireFauci,’ stood at his side…” (Karni, 4/13).

Washington Post: White House denies Trump is considering firing Fauci despite his retweet of a hashtag calling for his ouster
“The White House denied Monday that President Trump is considering firing the nation’s top infectious-disease specialist, Anthony S. Fauci, after Trump retweeted a message Sunday night that included the hashtag ‘FireFauci’ amid a flurry of Twitter activity responding to criticism of the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak. ‘This media chatter is ridiculous — President Trump is not firing Dr. Fauci,’ White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement. ‘Dr. Fauci has been and remains a trusted adviser to President Trump’…” (Shepherd et al., 4/13).

Additional coverage of Fauci’s relationship with Trump and career is available from the New Yorker.

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Media Outlets Examine Safety, Effectiveness Of Malaria Drug Touted By Trump As Treatment For COVID-19, Used To Treat Other Ailments

CNN: President Trump is wrong in so many ways about hydroxychloroquine studies. Here are the facts (Cohen/Nigam, 4/11).

Financial Times: Trump’s malaria drug hope: ‘game changer’ or dangerous gamble? (Kuchler, 4/14).

Forbes: Trump’s Hydroxychloroquine Focus Causes A Shortage For Others (Sarkis, 4/13).

New York Times: Small Chloroquine Study Halted Over Risk of Fatal Heart Complications (Thomas/Sheikh, 4/12).

Washington Post: How false hope spread about hydroxychloroquine to treat covid-19 — and the consequences that followed (Samuels/Kelly, 4/13).

Washington Post: Anti-malarial drug touted by Trump was subject of CIA warning to employees (Barrett, 4/13).

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Ebola Resurfaces In DRC; Concerns Grow Over Need For Country To Address Multiple Health Challenges

New Humanitarian: As coronavirus spreads in Congo, Ebola resurfaces
“When the first case of COVID-19 in the Democratic Republic of Congo was declared in early March, the country’s once-packed Ebola treatment centers had been empty for weeks. It was hoped resources could be shifted to combat the new disease. But on Friday — just two days before the World Health Organisation was due to announce an end to an Ebola outbreak that has left more than 2,200 people dead — a new case was reported in the eastern city of Beni. As the spread of coronavirus accelerates across the country, health authorities now have to juggle both responses — while also treating those affected by the world’s worst measles epidemic, an outbreak of cholera, and the victims of Congo’s many ongoing conflicts…” (Kleinfeld/Flummerfelt, 4/13).

Additional coverage of the new Ebola cases in the DRC is available from Al Jazeera, Becker’s Hospital Review, Democracy Now!, PBS, and Reuters.

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Second Wave Of Desert Locusts Could Be 20 Times Worse Than Previous Wave, Threatening East Africa's Food Security, Livelihoods

The Guardian: Second wave of locusts in East Africa said to be 20 times worse
“A second wave of desert locusts is threatening East Africa with estimates that it will be 20 times worse than the plague that descended two months ago. The locusts present ‘an extremely alarming and unprecedented threat’ to food security and livelihoods, according to the U.N. A swarm of just more than a third of a square mile can eat the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people…” (Okiror, 4/13).

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More News In Global Health

Borgen Magazine: Dengue Fever in Indonesia (Cullen, 4/13).

Devex: The case for data: How CRVS systems can help improve gender equity (4/14).

Devex: Cash transfers lead the social assistance response to COVID-19 (Jerving, 4/14).

Devex: What are the opportunities COVID-19 creates for the humanitarian sector? (Cornish, 4/14).

Devex: Gayle Smith: ‘Deficit of global leadership’ plagues COVID-19 response (Saldinger, 4/13).

The Hill: Bill Gates: The world is ‘in uncharted territory’ due to lack of preparation for the coronavirus pandemic (Guzman, 4/13).

New York Times: Childbirth in Venezuela, Where Women’s Deaths Are a State Secret (Turkewitz/Herrera, 4/10).

New York Times: Does a Dept. of Pandemics Sound Odd? Homeland Security Once Did, Too (Hulse, 4/11).

STAT: U.S. is ‘less safe’ from coronavirus when CDC goes quiet, former director says (Herper, 4/13).

U.N. News: During this coronavirus pandemic, ‘fake news’ is putting lives at risk: UNESCO (4/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

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

Bloomberg: Cooperate With China on Coronavirus But Don’t Trust It
Hal Brands, Bloomberg Opinion columnist, Henry Kissinger distinguished professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (4/12).

Forbes: Two Legal Experts Explain Why The U.S. Should Not Pull Funding From The WHO Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Lawrence O. Gostin, professor and director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University and director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on National & Global Health Law, and Sarah Wetter, O’Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law fellow (4/13).

Foreign Affairs: There Is No Devil’s Bargain Between Privacy and Public Health
Martin Eiermann, sociologist (4/13).

Foreign Affairs: Xi Jinping Won the Coronavirus Crisis
Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and professor at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations (4/13).

Financial Times: Science funding must remain after the crisis
Audrey Azoulay, director general of UNESCO (4/13).

Fox News: Gen. Zinni & Adm. Stavridis: Global coronavirus fight — U.S. leadership, investment the keys to victory
James Stavridis and Anthony Zinni, both chairs of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s National Security Advisory Council (4/14).

The Guardian: Inequality doesn’t just make pandemics worse — it could cause them
Laura Spinney, science journalist, novelist, and author (4/12).

The Hill: Coronavirus is ultimate test of leadership in brave new world
Michael Carpenter, managing director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania (4/13).

The Lancet: Three lessons for the COVID-19 response from pandemic HIV
James Hargreaves, professor, and Calum Davey, assistant professor, both at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, writing for the Group for lessons from pandemic HIV prevention for the COVID-19 response (4/13).

New Humanitarian: To truly beat COVID-19, we need ‘sans frontières’ solidarity
Mariano Lugli, program manager at Médecins Sans Frontières Switzerland (4/13).

New York Times: The Global Coronavirus Crisis Is Poised to Get Much, Much Worse
Editorial Board (4/13).

New York Times: The Huge Cost of Waiting to Contain the Pandemic
Britta L. Jewell, research fellow in the department of infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College, and Nicholas P. Jewell, chair of biostatistics and epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and professor at the University of California, Berkeley (4/14).

New York Times: Letters to the Editor: Trump’s Slow Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
David Sarokin, microbiologist; Aaron Belkin, professor of political science at San Francisco State University; and others (4/13).

Project Syndicate: Blaming China Is a Dangerous Distraction
Jim O’Neil, chair of Chatham House (4/14).

Project Syndicate: Suspend Emerging and Developing Economies’ Debt Payments
Carmen M. Reinhart, professor of the international financial system at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Kenneth Rogoff, professor of economics and public policy at Harvard University, recipient of the 2011 Deutsche Bank Prize in financial economics, and author (4/13).

TIME: The Coronavirus Pandemic Can Lead Us to a Smarter Future. Let’s Make Sure It Does.
Richard Stengel, former editor of TIME and MSNBC analyst (4/13).

Washington Post: Jair Bolsonaro risks lives by minimizing the coronavirus pandemic
Editorial Board (4/14).

Washington Post: Trump threatened to defund WHO. That could leave another global initiative under China’s influence
Alexander Cooley, Tow professor of political science at Barnard College and director of Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, and Daniel Nexon, associate professor in the Department of Government and School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University (4/14).

Washington Post: The horrendous reality at the heart of Trump’s pandemic response
Michael Gerson, nationally syndicated columnist (4/13).

Washington Post: Why Trump and his allies’ criticisms of the WHO are wrong
Lawrence O. Gostin, professor and director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University and director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on National & Global Health Law, and Matthew M. Kavanagh, assistant professor of global health and director of global health policy and politics at Georgetown’s O’Neill Institute (4/13).

Washington Post: State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses
Josh Rogin, columnist for the Global Opinions section of the Washington Post and political analyst for CNN (4/14).

Washington Times: The world deserves a better, totally transparent and accountable, WHO
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (4/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Health Community Addresses Various Angles Of COVID-19 Pandemic

Brookings: What to do about the coming debt crisis in developing countries
Homi Kharas, interim vice president and director of Global Economy and Development at Brookings (4/13).

Council on Foreign Relations: The World Health Organization Is Trump’s Latest Target in His COVID-19 Blame Game
Stewart M. Patrick, James H. Binger senior fellow in global governance and director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program (4/13).

IntraHealth International: IntraHealth International Urges Action to Protect Frontline Health Workers amid COVID-19 Pandemic (4/13).

Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security: National Plan to Enable Comprehensive COVID-19 Case Finding and Contact Tracing in the U.S.
Crystal Watson, senior scholar and assistant professor with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, and colleagues (April 2020).

PLOS Blogs: PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and COVID-19 (4/13).

Think Global Health: The World Health Organization and Pandemic Politics
David P. Fidler, adjunct senior fellow for cybersecurity and global health at the Council on Foreign Relations (4/10).

U.N.: U.N. working to avert dual crises as COVID-19 hits hunger hotspots (April 2020).

World Economic Forum: Coronavirus makes inequality a public health issue
Alexandre Kalache, president of the International Longevity Centre in Brazil (4/13).

WHO: Public statement for collaboration on COVID-19 vaccine development (4/13).

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Foreign Policy Interviews Former USAID Administrator Mark Green On Impact Of U.S. Foreign Aid, Discusses Green's Tenure At Agency

Foreign Policy: Outgoing USAID Chief Says Pandemic Underscores Importance of Foreign Aid
“On April 10, U.S. President Donald Trump’s top foreign aid official stepped down from his post in a long-planned departure, saying the coronavirus pandemic shows how critical U.S. assistance to global health organizations has become, especially in the developing world. In an interview with Foreign Policy, Mark Green, the outgoing administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), raised alarms about how refugees and displaced populations will be affected by the pandemic and reflected on the Trump administration’s repeated attempts to cut funding for foreign aid…” (Gramer, 4/13).

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Ratio Of New HIV Infections To Number Of People Living With HIV Shows Global Progress, But World Not Yet On Track To End AIDS As Public Health Threat By 2030, UNAIDS Says

UNAIDS: Ratio of new HIV infections to number of people living with HIV improving
“Recent trends in new HIV infections and AIDS-related mortality can only show part of the story of the AIDS response. Epidemic transition metrics have been developed by UNAIDS and its partners as measures that countries can use to better track their progress towards ending AIDS as a public health threat. One such metric, the incidence-prevalence ratio, uses the number of new HIV infections and the number of people living with HIV within a population. … The global incidence-prevalence ratio has declined from 11.2% in 2000 to 6.6% in 2010 to 4.6% in 2018, showing that important progress has been made against the HIV epidemic. Despite this, the world is not yet on track to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030… ” (4/14).

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From the U.S. Government

President Trump, Vice President Pence, Members Of Coronavirus Task Force Provide Update On U.S. Response To COVID-19 In Press Briefing

White House: 4/13/20: Members of the Coronavirus Task Force Hold a Press Briefing
In this press briefing held Monday, President Trump, Vice President Pence, and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force discuss developments regarding the U.S. response to COVID-19 (4/13).

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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 14, 2020 (4/14).

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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