KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

$90B Needed To Help 700M People In Poor Nations During Pandemic, U.N. Relief Coordinator Says; World Bank To Pay Out $196M To 64 Poorest Countries Next Week

AP: U.N.: $90 billion could protect 700 million poor in pandemic
“The U.N. humanitarian chief said Monday that $90 billion could provide income support, food, and a health response to the coronavirus pandemic for 700 million of the world’s most vulnerable people — a price tag just 1 percent of the $8 trillion stimulus package the 20 richest countries put in place to safeguard the global economy. Mark Lowcock told a video briefing most experts agree that the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t reached the poorest parts of the world, but may peak in the next three to six months…” (Lederer, 4/28).

Reuters: World Bank pandemic bonds will funnel $196 million to 64 poor countries
“A World Bank pandemic funding program will see $195.84 million distributed as soon as next week among 64 of the world’s poorest countries that have reported cases of COVID-19 to help tackle the fast-spreading disease, the lender said on Monday…” (Strohecker, 4/27).

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Countries Should Consider WHO Recommendations On COVID-19, DG Tedros Suggests, Saying Some Outbreaks Could Have Been Less Severe If Leaders Acted

Newsweek: WHO Director Says The World Should Have Listened To It About Coronavirus
“The World Health Organization’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has advised countries to consider the public health agency’s recommendations when crafting their responses to the coronavirus pandemic. During WHO’s latest press briefing in Geneva on Monday, Ghebreyesus said nations that have approached outbreak management in accordance with the organization’s previous guidelines are currently ‘in a better position’ than others. Ghebreyesus suggested that some outbreaks could have been less extreme if government leaders adopted containment measures earlier to manage the virus’ spread…” (Czachor, 4/27).

CNBC: WHO warns that ‘children will die’ as coronavirus pandemic postpones vaccinations against other diseases (Lovelace, 4/27).

Reuters: WHO warns on supply disruptions in coronavirus crisis, seeks more air capacity (Nebehay/Farge, 4/28).

Reuters: Southern hemisphere countries will have COVID lessons for North: WHO (Nebehay et al., 4/27).

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U.S. House Committee Launches Inquiry Into Trump Administration's WHO Funding Suspension; Administration Cuts Funding To EcoHealth Alliance; President's National Security Briefings Repeatedly Warned About Early Outbreak

CNN: House Foreign Affairs Committee launches inquiry into Trump’s decision to suspend World Health Organization funding
“The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee announced Monday he is opening an inquiry into the Trump administration’s decision to withhold funding to the World Health Organization. In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Rep. Eliot Engel wrote that the administration’s explanation for suspending the U.S. contribution in the midst of a pandemic was ‘inadequate.’ The New York Democrat said his committee ‘is determined to understand the reasons behind this self-defeating withdrawal from global leadership’…” (Hansler, 4/27).

POLITICO: Trump cuts U.S. research on bat-human virus transmission over China ties
“The Trump administration abruptly cut off funding for a project studying how coronaviruses spread from bats to people after reports linked the work to a lab in Wuhan, China, at the center of conspiracy theories about the Covid-19 pandemic’s origins. The National Institutes of Health on Friday told EcoHealth Alliance, the study’s sponsor for the past five years, that all future funding was cut. The agency also demanded that the New York-based research nonprofit stop spending the $369,819 remaining from its 2020 grant, according to emails obtained by POLITICO…” (Owermohle, 4/27).

Washington Post: President’s intelligence briefing book repeatedly cited virus threat
“U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat, according to current and former U.S. officials. The repeated warnings were conveyed in issues of the President’s Daily Brief, a sensitive report that is produced before dawn each day and designed to call the president’s attention to the most significant global developments and security threats. … But the alarms appear to have failed to register with the president, who routinely skips reading the PDB and has at times shown little patience for even the oral summary he takes two or three times per week, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified material…” (Miller et al., 4/27).

Fox News: Coronavirus crisis: Behind the effort to push the World Health Assembly to open formal probe into the WHO (McKay, 4/27).

New York Magazine: In the Midst of a Pandemic, Trump Continues to Cut Funding That May Prevent Pandemics (Stieb, 4/28).

Reuters: Taiwan pushes WHO participation in rare ministerial call with U.S. (Blanchard, 4/27).

Reuters: WHO says U.S. federal coronavirus plan is clear and science-based (Farge/Nebehay, 4/27).

Washington Post: Trump’s WHO funding freeze during coronavirus pandemic gives China an opening to expand its influence (Rauhala, 4/27).

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Without U.S., Funders Launch Effort To Find COVID-19 Treatments, Vaccines; Joe Biden Calls For 'Apollo-Like Moonshot' Effort To Find Vaccine; Group Of Scientists, Billionaires Push Manhattan Project For COVID-19

Devex: Funders commit to COVID-19 vaccine access but US opts out
“Twenty-five key players are pledging to make new vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 accessible around the world, following concerns that access for lower-income countries might not be prioritized. The COV-Access Agreement, launched virtually by the World Health Organization on Friday, commits countries to a cooperative international response to the pandemic and ‘equitable global access to innovative tools for COVID-19 for all.’ Leading funders including the U.K., France, Germany, the European Commission, the World Bank, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation signed the pledge, alongside Gavi, the Global Fund, and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers. But the U.S. — the world’s biggest bilateral donor, which recently suspended funding to WHO — was conspicuously absent from the agreement, which health experts said was ‘concerning’…” (Worley/Igoe, 4/28).

Forbes: Biden Calls For ‘Apollo-Like Moonshot’ Push To Develop Covid Vaccine
“Joe Biden released a blueprint for his plan to reopen the country Monday in which he called on President Trump to drastically increase testing through a coordinated nationwide program and to launch an all-out effort to develop a vaccine as fast as possible…” (Brewster, 4/27).

Wall Street Journal: The Secret Group of Scientists and Billionaires Pushing a Manhattan Project for Covid-19
“A dozen of America’s top scientists and a collection of billionaires and industry titans say they have the answer to the coronavirus pandemic, and they found a backdoor to deliver their plan to the White House. … These scientists and their backers describe their work as a lockdown-era Manhattan Project, a nod to the World War II group of scientists who helped develop the atomic bomb. This time around, the scientists are marshaling brains and money to distill unorthodox ideas gleaned from around the globe…” (Copeland, 4/27).

Additional coverage of research into novel coronavirus vaccines and treatments is available from Bloomberg, Devex, The Hill, New York Times, STAT (2), Vox, and Wall Street Journal.

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India Sees Drop In Overall Mortality Under Lockdown; European Hospitals Fear 2nd Wave Of COVID-19; Number Of U.S. Deaths High During First Weeks Of Pandemic

AFRICA

Financial Times: Low Covid-19 death toll raises hopes Africa may be spared worst (Pilling, 4/27).

The Telegraph: First Ebola, then measles, now Covid-19: Congo faces three simultaneous medical emergencies (Blomfield, 4/27).

ASIA

New York Times: Coronavirus Diplomacy: How China’s Red Cross Serves the Communist Party (Hernández et al., 4/28).

NPR: Despite The Pandemic, India Sees A Drop In Mortality Under Lockdown (Frayer, 4/27).

Reuters: Exclusive: North Korea economic delegation to visit Beijing for food, trade talks — sources (Smith et al., 4/28).

Reuters: Exclusive: More than 2,200 Indonesians have died with coronavirus symptoms, data shows (Allard et al., 4/27).

Reuters: On Japan’s stretched frontline, doctors and nurses DIY a coronavirus response (Park et al., 4/27).

Wall Street Journal: Japan’s Coronavirus Cases Fall Sharply Without Compulsory Measures (Gale, 4/27).

Wall Street Journal: New Zealand Claims a Victory Over Coronavirus, But Doubts Persist (Pannett, 4/27).

EUROPE

AP: Germany, Britain call for ‘green recovery’ from pandemic (Jordans, 4/27).

Financial Times: U.K.’s National Health Service survives first coronavirus wave (Neville, 4/27).

New York Times: Boris Johnson, Back on the Job, Urges Caution in Easing Covid-19 Rules (Landler/Castle, 4/27).

NPR: Masks Become Compulsory In Germany As Lockdown Restrictions Slowly Ease (Schmitz, 4/27).

Science: Reopening puts Germany’s much-praised coronavirus response at risk (Kupferschmidt/Vogel, 4/27).

Wall Street Journal: European Hospitals Hit Hard by Coronavirus Fear a Resurgence (Stancati et al., 4/27).

Washington Post: Boris Johnson is back after recovering from covid-19 (Booth/Adam, 4/27).

LATIN AMERICA

AP: Virus spreads fear through Latin America’s unruly prisons (Vergara/Verza, 4/27).

Reuters: ‘Another pandemic’: In Latin America, domestic abuse rises amid lockdown (Sigal et al., 4/27).

MIDDLE EAST

Wall Street Journal: Iran-Backed Groups in Lebanon and Iraq Seek Public Support Through Coronavirus Fight (Coles/Osseiran, 4/27).

Washington Post: Sickness amid the cedars (Dadouch, 4/27).

NORTH AMERICA

The Atlantic: The Scariest Pandemic Timeline (Khazan, 4/24).

Washington Post: U.S. deaths soared in early weeks of pandemic, far exceeding number attributed to covid-19 (Brown et al., 4/27).

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Domestic Violence Cases Set To Rise 20% Worldwide During Pandemic-Related Lockdowns, UNFPA Warns

The Guardian: ‘Calamitous’: domestic violence set to soar by 20% during global lockdown
“At least 15m more cases of domestic violence are predicted around the world this year as a result of pandemic restrictions, according to new data that paints a bleak picture of life for women over the next decade. The U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) has also calculated that tens of millions of women will not be able to access modern contraceptives this year, and millions more girls will undergo female genital mutilation or be married off by 2030. Natalia Kanem, the fund’s executive director, called the findings ‘totally calamitous’…” (Ford, 4/28).

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U.N. Agencies Highlight Roles Of Women, Youth, Workers, Refugees In COVID-19 Pandemic

U.N. News: COVID-19: New women-led U.N. initiative aims to save lives and protect livelihoods
“Against the backdrop of the unprecedented global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the deputy U.N. chief briefed journalists on Monday about a new women-led initiative that mobilizes support to save lives and protect livelihoods…” (4/27).

U.N. News: Tap youth talent to tackle COVID-19 crisis and beyond, U.N. chief tells Security Council
“Even amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries must do more to harness the talents of young people to address the crisis and its aftermath, the U.N. Secretary-General told the Security Council on Monday during a videoconference meeting to review the five years since its adoption of a landmark resolution on youth, peace and security…” (4/27).

U.N. News: Protect workers during and after lockdowns, urges U.N. labour agency
“Marking the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has urged States to take action to prevent and control COVID-19 in the workplace…” (4/27).

U.N. News: FROM THE FIELD: How refugees are helping overwhelmed health systems’ COVID-19 response
“With many European health services struggling to deal with an influx of COVID-19 patients, many refugees and migrants with experience in the sector, are being drafted in to help respond to the crisis…” (4/27).

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Data Show Novel Coronavirus Impacts Children Less While U.K., Italian Experts Investigate Possible Link Between COVID-19, Deadly Syndrome In Children

Reuters: U.K. says some children have died from syndrome linked to COVID-19
“Some children in the United Kingdom with no underlying health conditions have died from a rare inflammatory syndrome which researchers believe to be linked to COVID-19, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Tuesday. Italian and British medical experts are investigating a possible link between the coronavirus pandemic and clusters of severe inflammatory disease among infants who are arriving in hospital with high fevers and swollen arteries…” (Faulconbridge/Holton, 4/28).

Wall Street Journal: Consensus Is Emerging That Children Are Less Vulnerable to Coronavirus
“Doctors are increasingly confident that children are less affected by the new coronavirus than adults, a finding that could aid governments considering next steps in reopening economies. … From Wuhan in China, where the outbreak began, to the U.S. and Europe, children are far less likely than adults to suffer gravely from Covid-19, with most showing few symptoms. Available data shows only a tiny proportion have succumbed and died…” (Douglas, 4/27).

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New Humanitarian Examines Potential Link Between Warming Climate, Spread Of Dengue In Latin America

New Humanitarian: Is global warming driving the spread of dengue across Latin America?
“International scientists have for years warned that climate change is likely to lead to an increase in epidemics caused by pathogens and viruses. While there’s no evidence to link the COVID-19 pandemic to global warming, major ongoing outbreaks of dengue fever in Latin America are currently adding credence to the theory…” (Collins, 4/27).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: Are local and international aid worker disparities worsening under COVID-19? (Green, 4/28).

The Guardian: Halt destruction of nature or suffer even worse pandemics, say world’s top scientists (Carrington, 4/27).

MedPage Today: HIV Treatment as Prevention Worked in Australia (Laub, 4/27).

PRI: Discussion: Pandemic exposes health inequities in vulnerable communities (4/27).

PRI: Shutdowns have led to cleaner air quality. Is it sustainable? (4/27).

Reuters: Parasite antigen shows promise as malaria vaccine (Boggs, 4/27).

TIME: The World Health Organization’s Maria Van Kerkhove On Balancing Science, Public Relations and Politics (Ducharme, 4/27).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorials, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Lessons For Future Pandemic Threats

Devex: Opinion: How to simultaneously tackle malaria and COVID-19
Sean Callahan, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (4/28).

Forbes: The Great Lockdown Is Saving Lives While Increasing Poverty And Hunger Globally
Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, chief economics commentator at Forbes Asia and visiting scholar at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore (4/28).

The Hill: Washing our hands of the coronavirus
Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.) (4/27).

The Hill: Putin must stop exploiting coronavirus for geopolitical gain
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (4/27).

The Hill: Learning from COVID-19 for the coming pandemics
Felicia Goodrum Sterling, virologist, president-elect of the American Society of Virology, fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and professor and scientist at the University of Arizona, and James Alwine, virologist and fellow of the American Academy for Microbiology and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, and visiting professor at the University of Arizona (4/27).

IPS: SDGs: the Challenge to Improve Lives After the COVID-19 Crisis
Alexander Trepelkov, officer-in-charge of the Division for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the U.N.’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) (4/27).

The Lancet Global Health: Decolonizing COVID-19
Editorial Board (5/1).

The Lancet Global Health: COVID-19 pandemic in West Africa
Melisa Martinez-Alvarez with the Medical Research Council Unit in The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and colleagues (5/1).

New Humanitarian: African elections and COVID-19: A crisis of legitimacy
Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, senior managing legal officer at the Open Society Foundations (4/27).

New York Times: Covid-19: Lessons From the Yanomami
Bruce Albert, anthropologist (4/27).

New York Times: How Trump and His Team Covered Up the Coronavirus in Five Days
Ryan Goodman, professor at New York University School of Law, and Danielle Schulkin, student at New York University School of Law (4/28).

Project Syndicate: How South Korea Stopped COVID-19 Early
Myoung-hee Kim, epidemiologist and former research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and director of the Center for Health Equity Research at the People’s Health Institute in South Korea (4/27).

Quartz Africa: I am alive because my Kenyan great-grandfather quarantined 100 years ago and here we go again
Carey Baraka, Quartz Africa contributor (4/26).

SciDev.Net: Build diverse food systems for post-COVID-19 world
Trevor Nicholls and colleagues, representatives of the members of the Association of International Research and Development Centers for Agriculture (AIRCA) (4/27).

Scientific American: Comparing COVID-19 Deaths to Flu Deaths Is Like Comparing Apples to Oranges
Jeremy Samuel Faust, instructor at Harvard Medical School and president of the Roomful of Teeth Vocal Arts Project (4/28).

Slate: Lessons From Ebola and Cholera Could Help Us Get Out of This Sooner
Regan Marsh, emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the Division of Global Emergency Care and Humanitarian Studies, director of clinical systems at Partners in Health, and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School; and Shada Rouhani, emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the Division of Global Emergency Care and Humanitarian Studies, director of emergency and critical care at Partners in Health, and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School (4/27).

Washington Post: Trump and Pompeo need to stop making the WHO a scapegoat for their failures
Editorial Board (4/27).

Washington Post: It’s time to return to globalization. But this time let’s do it right.
Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, king of Jordan (4/27).

Washington Post: Covid-19 quickly kills some while others don’t show symptoms. Can genetics explain this?
Andrea Ganna, group leader at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland at the University of Helsinki; Benjamin Neale, institute member at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT; Mark Daly, founding chief of the analytic and translational genetics unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and director of the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (4/27).

Washington Post: Pandemic ethics: The case for experiments on human volunteers
Richard Yetter Chappell, assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Miami, and Peter Singer, professor of bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University (4/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.N. Agencies, Other Organizations Publish Statements, Blog Posts Addressing COVID-19

BMJ Opinion: Pandemic parlance: public health needs new language for the coronavirus pandemic
Joanne Silberner, features editor at The BMJ and a freelance journalist, and Howard Frumkin, professor emeritus and former dean at the University of Washington School of Public Health and former director of the National Center for Environmental Health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (4/27).

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières: A “devil’s choice”: Balancing childhood immunization with preparing for COVID-19
Barbara Saitta, vaccination medical adviser with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (4/27).

ONE: 6 key questions about a COVID-19 vaccine
Anne Paisley, senior editorial manager at ONE (4/27).

U.N.: COVID-19 shocks too big to handle for small island nations, U.N. warns (April 2020).

UNCTAD: Coronavirus: Let’s not forget the world’s poorest countries
Paul Akiwumi, director of UNCTAD’s division for Africa and Least Developed Countries (4/27).

UNFPA: Millions more cases of violence, child marriage, female genital mutilation, unintended pregnancies expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic (4/28).

Science Speaks: With evidence against the origin of COVID-19 being the seafood market in December, a call to share and discuss all data at the 73rd World Health Assembly in May
Daniel Lucey, infectious diseases physician and adjunct professor of infectious diseases at Georgetown University Medical Center, and Kristen Kent, medical student at Georgetown University School of Medicine (4/27).

UNAIDS: UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific Pia Wurtzbach steps up to support the response to COVID-19 (4/28).

UNAIDS: “I’ve saved lives on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic in China” (4/28).

UNAIDS: UNAIDS and MPact are extremely concerned about reports that LGBTI people are being blamed and abused during the COVID-19 outbreak (4/27).

World Economic Forum: Malaria could make a comeback thanks to COVID-19
Harry Kretchmer, senior writer with Formative Content (4/27).

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UNAIDS Articles Focus On HIV/AIDS In Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia

UNAIDS: Helping people living with HIV with food supplies in Kyrgyzstan (4/27).

UNAIDS: Providing protection and support to returning migrants in Cambodia (4/27).

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From the U.S. Government

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

White House: Remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Members of the Coronavirus Task Force in 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 (4/27).

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Research Suggests Association Between COVID-19 Control Measures, Declines In Influenza Activity In Taiwan, Singapore

CDC’s “Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal”: Collateral Benefit of COVID-19 Control Measures on Influenza Activity, Taiwan
Shu-Chen Kuo, attending physician and associate investigator at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology at the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan, and colleagues discuss research findings that show decreases in influenza diagnoses in Taiwan during the COVID-19 outbreak, noting, “The government of Taiwan took swift action to prevent coronavirus disease (COVID-19) importation and outbreaks. … Although the success of these measures for limiting COVID-19 transmission remains to be determined, nationwide surveillance has shown the rapid decline of influenza activity during the first 12 weeks of 2020 (through March 21) in Taiwan” (4/27).

CDC’s “Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal”: Decreased Influenza Incidence under COVID-19 Control Measures, Singapore
Roy Jiunn Jye Soo, preventative medicine resident in the National University Health System in Singapore, and colleagues discuss research findings that show decreases in influenza activity in Singapore during the COVID-19 outbreak, noting, “We compared indicators of influenza activity in 2020 before and after public health measures were taken to reduce coronavirus disease (COVID-19) with the corresponding indicators from 3 preceding years. Influenza activity declined substantially, suggesting that the measures taken for COVID-19 were effective in reducing spread of other viral respiratory diseases” (4/27).

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Co-Chairs Of Special ASEAN-U.S. Foreign Ministers' Meeting On COVID-19 Release Joint Statement

U.S. Department of State: Joint Statement From the Co-Chairs of the Special ASEAN-United States Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
In a joint statement, Saleumxay Kommasith, minister of foreign affairs of the Lao PDR, and Michael Pompeo, U.S. secretary of state, both co-chairs of the Special ASEAN-United States Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on COVID-19, discuss ASEAN-U.S. efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the shared commitment to strengthen the ASEAN-U.S. Strategic Partnership (4/26).

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From KFF

KFF Updates Brief On U.S. Global Health Assets In LMICs Amid COVID-19, Another On Donor Funding For Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of April 28, 2020 (4/28).

KFF: Preparing for COVID-19 in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Leveraging U.S. Global Health Assets
This data note updates an earlier analysis that examined where the U.S. government already had existing global health assets that could be mobilized to address COVID-19. It includes the latest case numbers, expands beyond health to identify countries where the U.S. also provides (non-health) development assistance, and identifies the most recent list of countries receiving COVID-19 assistance from the U.S. In addition, it indicates the level of COVID-19 preparedness in each country, based on the World Health Organization’s country preparedness and readiness assessment index (Kates/Moss/Oum, 4/24).

KFF: Donor Funding for the Global Novel Coronavirus Response
This updated data note provides an accounting of publicly available information on donor funding to date for the global coronavirus response. The vast majority (85%) was provided by donor governments (including the U.S.), the World Bank, and other multilateral organizations (Moss, 4/23).

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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