KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump Says U.S. 'Shut Down' Coronavirus Threat, Signs Order Temporarily Banning, Quarantining People Entering U.S. From China

AP/Journal Gazette: U.S. readies as virus from China spreading
“…U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Saturday approved a request from the Department of Health and Human Services for the possible use of military facilities to accommodate 1,000 people who may have to be quarantined upon arrival from overseas due to a new virus. … An order signed Friday by President Donald Trump temporarily bars entry to foreign nationals who have traveled to China within the last 14 days, with the exception of immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Americans returning from China will be allowed into the country but will face screening at select ports of entry and be required to undertake 14 days of self-screening to ensure they don’t pose a health risk. Those returning from Hubei province will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine…” (2/2).

POLITICO: White House seeks to calm U.S. fears over Wuhan coronavirus
“White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien on Sunday sought to quell fears over the Wuhan coronavirus, saying the outbreak poses ‘low risk’ now in the United States. ‘Right now there’s no reason for Americans to panic. This is something that is a low risk, we think in the U.S,’ O’Brien said on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’…” (Cammarata, 2/2).

Reuters: Trump says U.S. has ‘shut down’ coronavirus threat; China shuns U.S. help
“The United States has taken decisive action to protect Americans from the threat of a fast-moving coronavirus while offering help to China, President Donald Trump said on Sunday, but a key adviser said Beijing had not accepted the offers of assistance. Trump appeared to downplay concerns about the impact in the United States of the flu-like virus that has killed 350 people in China and spread to more than two dozen countries, telling Fox television in an interview, ‘We’re gonna see what happens, but we did shut it down, yes’…” (Chiacu et al., 2/2).

STAT: To fight coronavirus spread, the U.S. may expand ‘social distancing’ measures. But it comes at a cost
“Canceling large public gatherings. Asking students to stay home from school. Closing down borders. Many places around the world have already implemented such drastic steps in response to the new coronavirus outbreak that originated in China and has spread to at least 27 territories outside mainland China. If the U.S., which has 11 cases so far, begins to see sustained human-to-human transmission, health officials may also have to rapidly step up their own use of ‘social distancing’ measures to prevent further spread…” (Chakradhar, 2/3).

Washington Post: White House advisers study potential economic fallout from coronavirus as global response intensifies
“White House economic advisers are studying the potential impact that the coronavirus scare could have on the U.S. economy, according to two people familiar with the internal review, as federal officials enact unprecedented travel restrictions amid the disease’s spread in China. The White House National Economic Council and the Council of Economic Advisers are jointly assessing both the potential short-term and long-term effects of the coronavirus, these officials said, with fears mounting over the virus’s spread into the United States…” (Stein, 2/2).

Additional coverage of the U.S. response to the novel coronavirus outbreak is available from AP, Fox News, The Hill (2), Military.com, New York Times, Reuters (2), and STAT.

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Despite Coronavirus Outbreak Increasingly Looking Pandemic, Control Possible, U.N. Expert Says; Researchers Work To Determine How Disease Spreads, Mortality Rate

AP: New China virus details show challenge for outbreak control
“…Details that emerged last week about the new virus from China show how challenging it could be to control this outbreak, health experts say…” (Marchione, 2/2).

New York Times: Wuhan Coronavirus Looks Increasingly Like a Pandemic, Experts Say
“The Wuhan coronavirus spreading from China is now likely to become a pandemic that circles the globe, according to many of the world’s leading infectious disease experts…” (McNeil, 2/2).

STAT: Top WHO official says it’s not too late to stop the new coronavirus outbreak
“There is still reason to believe the growing coronavirus outbreak in China can be contained, a top World Health Organization official said Saturday, pointing to some evidence that the disease may not be spreading as rapidly as is feared. He also downplayed reports that people infected with the virus may be contagious before they show symptoms — a feature that, if true, would make it much harder to control…” (Branswell, 2/1).

Wall Street Journal: Experts Race to Figure Out How Contagious the Coronavirus Is
“…Studies published in recent days say the new virus appears to be more contagious than seasonal flu and on par with the similar pathogen behind an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2002 and 2003. The new virus’ mortality rate, however, is far below that of SARS…” (Deng et al., 2/2).

Washington Post: Early missteps and state secrecy in China probably allowed the coronavirus to spread farther and faster
“…An analysis of those early weeks — from official statements, leaked accounts from Chinese medical professionals, newly released scientific data, and interviews with public health officials and infectious disease experts — reveals potential missteps by China’s overburdened public health officials. It also underscores how a bureaucratic culture that prioritizes political stability over all else probably allowed the virus to spread farther and faster…” (Shih et al., 2/1).

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Taiwan Being Included In High-Risk Coronavirus Area But Unable To Receive Firsthand Information From WHO, Other International Organizations

Reuters: Shut out of WHO, Taiwan faces flight bans, delays in virus updates
“Shut out of the World Health Organization, Taiwan faces a dual problem in battling the threat of a new coronavirus: it is being included as a high-risk area as part of China but is unable to get epidemic information firsthand. Taiwan is denied membership of most international bodies including the WHO, a U.N. agency, due to the objections of China, which considers the island a Chinese province with no right to participate unless it accepts it is part of China, something Taiwan’s fiercely democratic government will not do. … Now, with the virus biting, Taiwan says this policy means it has become collateral damage…” (Blanchard, 2/3).

Additional coverage of Taiwan’s efforts to receive information regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak is available from Bloomberg, CNSNews.com, Reuters.

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Media Outlets Highlight Efforts To Treat Novel Coronavirus, Research Vaccines, Medicines

AP: Built in 10 days, China’s virus hospital takes 1st patients (McDonald, 2/3).

BBC: Coronavirus: U.K. donates £20m to speed up vaccine (2/2).

Daily Mail: Britain’s £20 million cash injection for Coronavirus vaccine: Inoculation could be ready to test on patients in just four months amid global push by scientists backed by U.K. government (Allen/Ward, 2/2).

Reuters: British drugmaker GSK to collaborate with CEPI in effort to develop coronavirus vaccine (Singh, 2/2).

Reuters: Cocktail of flu, HIV drugs appears to help fight coronavirus: Thai doctors (Wongcha-um, 2/2).

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Coronavirus Outbreak Impacting Travel, Trade, Life In Quarantined Chinese Cities

AP: Fears of new virus trigger anti-China sentiment worldwide
“A scary new virus from China has spread around the world. So has rising anti-Chinese sentiment, calls for a full travel ban on Chinese visitors and indignities for Chinese and other Asians…” (Kim, 2/2).

CNN: U.S. enforces coronavirus travel restrictions. China says it’s an overreaction
“The U.S. has begun implementing new rules around travel from China as the coronavirus death toll creeps higher — rules that include re-routing Americans flying into the country to specific airports for screening. So far, more than 360 people have died in China and more than 17,000 have been infected across more than 25 countries…” (Maxouris, 2/3).

New York Times: Quieter Response to Coronavirus in Countries Where China Holds Sway
“…The World Health Organization has declared the epidemic, which appears to have originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, a global health emergency. But the message does not seem to be resonating in some parts of Southeast Asia, a magnet for Chinese tourists and workers. The region now has the largest cluster of coronavirus patients outside China. Some governments there have either played down the threat of the epidemic or openly worried about offending a superpower whose economic heft can propel their economies…” (Beech, 2/2).

Reuters: WHO chief says widespread travel bans not needed to beat China virus
“World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday there was no need for measures that ‘unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade’ in trying to halt the spread of a coronavirus that has killed 361 people in China. … China is facing increasing international isolation due to restrictions on flights to and from the country, and bans on travelers from China…” (Nebehay/Macfie, 2/3).

Reuters: China decries travel, visa measures taken against WHO advice on virus
“China on Monday decried some countries for denying entry to people from Hubei province, at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, and cancelling of flights, as going against WHO recommendations not to take unnecessary or excessive measures. In a speech to the World Health Organization’s Executive Board, which opened a six-day session in Geneva, China’s delegate said the international community needed to treat the new virus outbreak objectively, fairly, and not ‘deliberately create panic’ among the general public…” (Nebehay/Williams, 2/3).

Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Closes China to the World, Straining Global Economy
“China’s isolation amid the coronavirus outbreak, a rare freeze out for such a vital economic center, is rippling across the world. Uncertainty over the virus — which has infected more than 17,000 people — has disrupted world-wide trade and supply chains, depressed asset prices, and forced multinational businesses to make hard decisions with limited information…” (Areddy et al., 2/3).

Additional coverage of travel bans related to coronavirus and the economic and social impacts is available from ABC, AFP, BBC, Financial Times, Fortune, New York Times (2) (3) (4), NPR, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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USAID Bureau Working To Develop New Strategies To Be More Agile, Adaptable In Conflict Environments, Official Says

Devex: USAID needs to increase agility in conflict environments, official says
“U.S. foreign assistance agencies must learn how to be more agile in executing and then evaluating the effectiveness of programming in conflict environments, said U.S. Agency for International Development Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance Robert Jenkins. … Jenkins said the current bureaucratic process of developing USAID’s five-year country development cooperation plans doesn’t allow the agency to be able to evaluate programming in real-time and adapt if something is not working as intended or if conditions on the ground have shifted since a program was conceived. … As part of USAID’s transformation, the agency’s conflict and prevention activities are being separated from humanitarian assistance into a standalone Bureau of Conflict and Prevention. Jenkins said his team has been empowered by USAID Administrator Mark Green to design a new way of working that is better adapted to the rapid pace of change around the world in many conflict environments, and to try to eliminate bureaucratic processes that prevent agility…” (Welsh, 1/31).

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Devex Examines Trends In Development Finance For 2020

Devex: What to watch in development finance in 2020
“A number of factors, including the growing interest of private capital in sustainable investing and the Sustainable Development Goals, seem poised to push the development finance industry to change this year, experts tell Devex. Growing corporate interest in sustainability investing, a mounting demand for transparency and a sense of urgency around achieving the SDGs are all spurring some interesting conversations, and potential changes in development finance…” (Saldinger, 1/31).

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Human Trial Of Experimental HIV Vaccine Ends In Failure In South Africa, Researchers Announce

Washington Post: Trial of promising HIV vaccine fails in South Africa
“A broad study of a promising vaccine for HIV has ended in failure after an interim analysis showed it was no more effective than placebo, researchers announced Monday. Vaccinations were halted after an independent monitoring panel for the ‘Uhambo’ study in South Africa determined on Jan. 23 that 129 people who received the vaccine developed HIV while 123 who were given a placebo contracted the infection…” (Bernstein, 2/3).

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Timely HPV Screening, Vaccination, Treatment Could Help Eliminate Cervical Cancer Within 100 Years, Lancet Studies Show

IANS/IBT: 62 million women’s lives can be saved from cervical cancer by 2120
“Timely screening and vaccination once or twice in a woman’s lifetime can help avert 74 million cases and 62 million cervical cancer deaths over the next century, and reduce deaths by a third by 2030, two new studies published in The Lancet have predicted. … The first study modeled the progress that could be made towards eliminating new cervical cancer cases by introducing or increasing HPV vaccination coverage, or by combining high levels of vaccination with cervical screening once, or twice, in a woman’s lifetime. The second study included cancer treatment in its models alongside other variables and analyzed the impact of vaccination, screening, and treatment on reducing deaths…” (2/3).

PTI/The Week: Cervical cancer could be eliminated within next 100 years: Lancet study
“…Based on the results of the studies, WHO’s cervical cancer elimination strategy has been updated which will be presented for adoption at the World Health Assembly in May 2020, the scientists noted. ‘If the strategy is adopted and applied by member states, cervical cancer could be eliminated in high income countries by 2040, and across the globe within the next century, which would be a phenomenal victory for women’s health,’ [Marc Brisson, study co-author from Laval University,] said. ‘However, this can only be achieved with considerable international financial and political commitment, in order to scale-up prevention and treatment,’ he added” (1/31).

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More News In Global Health

Borgen Magazine: H.Res. 517: Fighting AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Frazer, 2/3).

Devex: Q&A: As conflict rumbles on, water pipes run dry in eastern Ukraine (Root, 2/3).

VOA: Hunger in Central Sahel Rising at Alarming Rate as Conflict Intensifies (Schlein, 2/2).

Xinhua: Global Fund to grant Tanzania 600 mln USD for fighting malaria, TB, and AIDS (1/31).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Novel Coronavirus Outbreak

Foreign Affairs: How to Prepare for a Coronavirus Pandemic
Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

“…An nCoV pandemic would require a great many measures from governments, the World Health Organization, other international organizations, medical and public health professionals, industry, and the public. … This new virus could prove to be both uncontainable and to cause a serious or lethal disease for many across the globe. Governments need to come to grips with this risk and act accordingly. If that worst-case outcome fails to materialize, their work will still have been right and worthwhile, as an insurance against this crisis and as preparation for the next one. If these measures turn out to be necessary, however, then the earlier we start, the more valuable our efforts will be” (1/31).

Foreign Policy: Trump Has Sabotaged America’s Coronavirus Response
Laurie Garrett, former senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…The epidemic control efforts unfolding today in China — including placing some 100 million citizens on lockdown, shutting down a national holiday, building enormous quarantine hospitals in days’ time, and ramping up 24-hour manufacturing of medical equipment — are indeed gargantuan. It’s impossible to watch them without wondering, ‘What would we do? How would my government respond if this virus spread across my country?’ For the United States, the answers are especially worrying because the government has intentionally rendered itself incapable. … In the spring of 2018, the White House pushed Congress to cut funding for Obama-era disease security programs … In May 2018, Trump ordered the [White House National Security Council’s (NSC)] entire global health security unit shut down, calling for reassignment of Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer and dissolution of his team inside the agency. … The next epidemic is now here; we’ll soon know the costs imposed by the Trump administration’s early negligence and present panic…” (1/31).

Fox News: Former HHS Secretary Tom Price, M.D.: Coronavirus — the good, the bad, and the ugly
Tom Price, senior fellow for health care with Job Creators Network

“Most of us feel at least a bit of anxiety over the latest ‘flu’ challenge — novel 2019 coronavirus (2019-nCoV). … If the past is prologue, there is little confidence that China is sharing all the needed information … One would think that the WHO would have the benefit of the world’s greatest knowledge and complete participation, especially at emergent times such as this. Sadly, due to politics, that is not the case. Taiwan has shown itself to be extremely responsible and transparent in its actions, especially in the area of medicine and science. … [T]he capacity of Taiwan to help formulate a vaccine or assist in other ways to help save lives and advance human engagement and intelligence at this time is remarkable. However, China and other nations refuse to allow the full and equitable participation of Taiwan in the WHO. This increases the danger for all of us and makes global health security in times of crisis that much more difficult. The U.S. has appropriately and rightly supported Taiwan in its stated goal to participate in all international organizations. Ending Chinese political opposition to this is an important step in making the world safer…” (2/2).

Foreign Policy: The Wuhan Virus Could Hurt the Party’s Legitimacy
Taisu Zhang, associate professor at Yale Law School (1/31).

International Business Times: With Coronavirus Spreading, Now Is Not The Time For Restrictions On Animal Research
Matthew R. Bailey, president of the Foundation for Biomedical Research (2/2).

Washington Post: Why we should be wary of an aggressive government response to coronavirus
Wendy Parmet, Matthews distinguished professor of law, professor of public policy and urban affairs, and faculty director of the Center for Health Policy and Law at Northeastern University School of Law; and Michael Sinha, research fellow at Harvard Medical School and visiting scholar in the Center for Health Policy and Law at Northeastern University School of Law (2/3).

Washington Post: Past epidemics prove fighting coronavirus with travel bans is a mistake
Jennifer B. Nuzzo, epidemiologist with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Health Security (2/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Doctor Discusses 'Parallel Epidemics Of Xenophobia, Misinformation' Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

BMJ Opinion: Abraar Karan: Coronavirus — Containing the parallel epidemics of xenophobia and misinformation
Abraar Karan, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, discusses the challenges of xenophobia and racism against Chinese communities amid the coronavirus outbreak, writing, “[A]s we prepare to respond [to coronavirus] as a global community, we need to be sure to contain the parallel epidemics of xenophobia and misinformation” (1/31).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 372 of the ‘Global Fund Observer.’ The newsletter features a commentary discussing whether the Global Fund Secretariat’s influence in the development of funding requests impacts the effectiveness of Global Fund grants; an interview with the Global Fund’s first-ever ethics officer, Nick Jackson, on the application of ethics within the Global Fund; and an analysis on addressing low retention-in-care rates among people living with HIV in West and Central Africa (1/29).

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Harvard Kennedy School Paper Discusses Potential Threats To Health Intelligence Systems

Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs: Weaponizing Digital Health Intelligence
Margaret Bourdeaux, research director for the Security and Global Health Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and colleagues discuss the role of digital information and communication systems in health emergencies and the potential for actors to use that information to undermine or manipulate responses to these emergencies. The authors write, “Recently, concerns that new technologies will facilitate a new generation of bioweapons have grabbed headlines, and appropriately so. However, much less attention has been paid to the risks of cyberattacks on health intelligence systems. This paper focuses on these vulnerabilities and the motivations states may have to exploit them in order to achieve their strategic and geopolitical aims” (January 2020).

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Tanzania's Health Policies Discriminate Against LGBT People, HRW Report Says

Human Rights Watch: Tanzania: Obstructions to LGBT Health, Rights
“The government of Tanzania’s health policies deny adequate services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and others who are particularly vulnerable to HIV, jeopardizing public health, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Tanzania should reverse these policies, end arbitrary arrests of LGBT people, and ban forced anal examinations that are used as spurious evidence of homosexual conduct. The 112-page report … documents how since 2016 the government of Tanzania has cracked down on LGBT people and the community-based organizations that serve them…” (2/3).

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