KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Media Outlets Examine U.S. Response To Coronavirus Outbreak In China, Domestically, With 5 Imported Cases Detected So Far

Baltimore Sun: Coronavirus cases found in U.S. will test a response developed during past outbreaks; precautions taken in Maryland
“For the third time in 18 years, a serious coronavirus outbreak has made its way to the United States, with the fifth case reported Sunday in Arizona. Public health officials and researchers, who never stopped preparing for the threat that a new form of the virus could emerge, are responding to this latest outbreak using the past as their guide…” (Cohn, 1/27).

The Hill: State Department orders U.S. employees in Wuhan to evacuate due to coronavirus
“The State Department is reportedly ordering an evacuation of American employees at the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan amid a deadly coronavirus outbreak in the central Chinese city. The department said in an email Sunday that it is arranging a flight from Wuhan to San Francisco on Tuesday as part of an effort to relocate diplomats and some private U.S. citizens, according to reports…” (Wise, 1/26).

New York Magazine: The Coronavirus Should Be a Wake-up Call for Congress
“Humanity’s luck in averting a global pandemic may hold up for a bit longer. But eventually, our good fortune will run out. The coronavirus outbreak must serve as a wake-up call to governments around the world, but especially to the one in Washington, D.C…” (Levitz, 1/23).

Washington Post: Chinese coronavirus infections, death toll soar as fifth case is confirmed in U.S.
“The Chinese government struggled Sunday to cope with a worsening coronavirus epidemic as its official number of infections soared and the death toll rose to 80, while additional cases appeared in the United States. … In the United States, health officials confirmed three new cases — one in Arizona and two in California — bringing the total to five. … Health officials expect more American cases, Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters. But the virus is not believed to be spreading from person to person in the United States, she said…” (Shih et al., 1/26).

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China's Response To Novel Coronavirus Outbreak Receives Mixed Reviews; Virus Might Be Impossible To Contain, Some Experts Say As WHO Calls For International Cooperation

New York Times: In Coronavirus, a ‘Battle’ That Could Humble China’s Strongman
“…Compared to the very low bar set by the Chinese leadership’s secrecy and inaction during the SARS epidemic in 2002 and 2003, [Chinese leader Xi Jinping] has responded with speed and alacrity to the latest health emergency, a pneumonialike virus that at last official count has killed at least 80, sickened thousands in China and spread around the world. But there are also signs that the government, especially at the regional level in Hubei Province, the source of the outbreak, was slow to recognize the danger and is continuing to mishandle the crisis. Some public health experts have asked whether the sweeping travel restrictions that have been imposed are leaving people without access to medical care, while many Chinese remain unconvinced the government is being completely forthcoming about the toll of the disease…” (Myers et al., 1/26).

Reuters: China bans wildlife trade nationwide due to coronavirus outbreak
“China banned wildlife trade nationwide in markets, supermarkets, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms due to the coronavirus outbreak, the country’s market watchdog, agricultural ministry, and forestry bureau said in a joint statement…” (Leng et al., 1/26).

STAT: Containing new coronavirus may not be feasible, experts say, as they warn of possible sustained global spread
“Some infectious disease experts are warning that it may no longer be feasible to contain the new coronavirus circulating in China. Failure to stop it there could see the virus spread in a sustained way around the world and even perhaps join the ranks of respiratory viruses that regularly infect people…” (Branswell, 1/26).

U.N. News: U.N. heath agency: Time is now to ‘act as one’ in fighting infectious coronavirus
“Following confirmed cases of the Novel coronavirus in Europe, the United Nations health agency released a statement on the need for the international community to work together as one to combat the infectious disease. The evolving outbreak that began in China is ‘a sign that every country needs to be ready to timely detect and manage outbreaks of any type,’ the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday…” (1/25).

Washington Post: Worries grow that quarantine in China not enough to stem increasingly virulent coronavirus
“Even as China takes more stringent measures to limit the movement of the vast country’s population during the biggest travel period of the year, there are increasing fears that the quarantine will not be enough to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, which so far has infected at least 2,800 people in China and killed 81…” (Shih et al., 1/27).

Additional coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and response is available from AP, CIDRAP News, Foreign Policy (2), The Guardian, The Hill, New York Times, Reuters (2), The Telegraph, Washington Post (2), and Xinhua.

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WHO DG In China To Meet With Health Officials Regarding Coronavirus Outbreak; Chinese Premier Li Visits Wuhan

The Guardian: China coronavirus: mayor of Wuhan admits mistakes
“The mayor Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, has acknowledged criticism over his handling of the crisis, admitting that information was not released quickly enough. … [On] Monday, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, held a special meeting with officials in Beijing to discuss how to contain the outbreak. The organisation has stopped short of declaring a public health emergency of international concern, but did say it was an emergency for China…” (Ratcliffe/Standaert, 1/27).

Reuters: Chinese Premier Li visits Wuhan, epicenter of virus outbreak
“Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday visited Wuhan, epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak that has killed 80 and infected more than 2,700 people in the country, China’s government said in a statement…” (Lee/Zhang, 1/26).

Reuters: China’s Li pledges medical reinforcements as virus toll hits 81
“Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will ‘inspect and direct’ efforts to control a virus outbreak in the central city of Wuhan and promised reinforcements, as provincial authorities faced accusations from the public of a failure to respond in time…” (Zhou et al., 1/26).

Additional coverage of the WHO’s and Chinese government’s cooperation is available from CNBC, Foreign Policy, and NPR.

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Scientists Race To Learn More About Novel Coronavirus, Develop Vaccines, Investigate Potential Treatments

Foreign Policy: The Wuhan Coronavirus: A Tentative Clinical Profile
“…Controlling the spread of the virus requires both public health and medical measures—and for that we need a clear clinical profile. At this stage, that information is only just being put together, but what we do have is disturbing…” (Sparrow, 1/26).

STAT: How fast can biotech come up with a vaccine for the latest outbreak?
“The deadly outbreak of a novel coronavirus has sparked a race among biotech companies, each claiming that its technology can quickly whip up a vaccine to quell a potential crisis. But history suggests the road ahead will be long, unpredictable, and expensive…” (Garde, 1/24).

Additional coverage of science- and epidemiology-related developments surrounding the novel coronavirus is available from Bloomberg (2), Quartz, Reuters, Science (2), STAT, Wired, and Xinhua.

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Gavi Celebrates 20th Anniversary; CEO Says 'Signals Are Good' To Reach 2021-25 Replenishment Goals

Devex: ‘Signals are good’ ahead of Gavi replenishment, CEO says
“The team from Gavi celebrated the vaccine alliance’s 20th anniversary and made the case for its upcoming replenishment at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting [last] week. … Gavi is trying to raise $7.4 billion to support its work from 2021-25, and the ‘signals are good’ thus far in the run-up to the June 4 replenishment conference, [Gavi CEO Seth] Berkley said…” (Saldinger, 1/24).

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U.S. Federal Officials To Revisit Review Policies For Gain-Of-Function Research, Examine Transparency Questions

Science: After criticism, federal officials to revisit policy for reviewing risky virus experiments
“A long-running debate over U.S. government-funded research that tweaks risky pathogens in ways that could make them more dangerous to humans is flaring up again. This time, at issue is whether officials should make public the work of a closed-door federal committee that weighs the risks and benefits of experiments proposed for funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and in the past 2 years has greenlighted two controversial avian influenza studies…” (Kaiser, 1/24).

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Pakistan Records First Cases Of Polio In 2020

Outbreak News Today: Pakistan reports 1st wild poliovirus case of 2020
“Officials with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) have reported the first wild poliovirus 1 (WPV1) case of 2020 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan. … Additionally, four WPV1-positive environmental samples were reported: one each from Punjab and FATA provinces and two from Balochistan province…” (1/24).

Additional coverage of polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan is available from Dawn, Foreign Policy, and VOA.

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Haiti Marks 1 Year With No New Cholera Cases

U.N. News: Haiti cholera outbreak ‘stopped in its tracks’
“After a nine-year long cholera outbreak in Haiti that killed close to 10,000 people, [last] week the country reached the milestone of an entire year free from any new cases of the deadly waterborne disease. This was achieved following concerted efforts from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Haitian Government and others, to address the root causes of cholera…” (1/24).

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Critics Say Brazil's Government Blurring Line Between State, Church With Abstinence Campaign For Teenagers

New York Times: Brazil Under Bolsonaro Has Message for Teenagers: Save Sex for Marriage
“Brazil’s far-right government has a message for adolescents as the nation grapples with a stubbornly high teenage pregnancy rate and rising HIV infections: Save sex for marriage. … To formulate her policy, [Damares Alves, the minister of human rights, family and women,] has made clear she consulted closely with the team behind a campaign called ‘I Chose to Wait,’ started by evangelical pastors with a large social media following. In doing so, she has incited a heated debate about reproductive rights and sex education in Latin America’s largest nation. Critics say the government’s new emphasis on abstinence blurs the line between church and state and could lead young people to make poorly informed decisions about sex that may be detrimental to their health…” (Londoño/Casado, 1/26).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: Q&A: ‘Transformation takes time,’ Richard Horton on the EAT-Lancet Commission diet (Ravelo, 1/27).

Devex: Civil society groups issue Guterres gets a B- for gender equality work (Lieberman, 1/27).

The Guardian: World Bank urged to scrap $500m loan to Tanzania over schoolgirls’ rights concerns (McVeigh, 1/26).

NPR: Is Davos As Bad As Critics Say? Global Leaders Weigh In (Lu, 1/24).

Outbreak News Today: Dengue in 2019, the vaccines and the quest for a World Dengue Day (Herriman, 1/24).

Science: Industry says voluntary plan to curb antibiotic pollution is working, but critics want regulation (Gilbert, 1/24).

U.N. News: Deadly earthquake kills dozens in Turkey; U.N. stands in solidarity and offers support (1/25).

Xinhua: Afghanistan launches polio vaccination targeting 9.1 mln children (1/27).

Xinhua: Over 1 mln Bangladeshi capital dwellers to get cholera vaccine (1/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

Presidential Candidate Joe Biden, Infectious Disease Expert Laurie Garrett, National Security, Development Expert Paul Wolfowitz, Others Discuss Wuhan Coronavirus Outbreak In Opinion Pieces

USA TODAY: Joe Biden: Trump is worst possible leader to deal with coronavirus outbreak
Joe Biden, former vice president of the United States and current candidate for president

“…Pandemic diseases are a prime example of why international cooperation is a requirement of leadership in 2020. … [T]he United States must step forward to lead these efforts, because no other nation has the resources, the reach, or the relationships to marshal an effective international response. … As president, I will reassert U.S. leadership in global health security. My policies will always uphold science, not fiction or fear mongering. I will ask Congress to beef up the Public Health Emergency Fund and give me the power to use the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to declare a disaster if an infectious disease threat merits it. I will also renew funding … for the nationwide network of hospitals that can isolate and treat people with infectious diseases, and fully fund the Global Health Security Agenda so the world is ready for the next outbreak. And I will rebuild public trust, make sure we have dedicated resources to help us respond to crises quickly, and better harness the capabilities of the private sector to protect the American people. Our national security requires nothing less” (1/27).

Foreign Policy: Welcome to the Belt and Road Pandemic
Laurie Garrett, former senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…China’s [President Xi Jinping’s] political agenda may turn out to be a root cause of the [coronavirus] epidemic. By making the Belt and Road Initiative endeavor — a multitrillion-dollar program to expand Chinese trade and infrastructure around the world — the centerpiece of his foreign and economic policy, Xi has made it possible for a local disease to become a global menace. … China is … a nation deeply connected to the rest of the world … If the Belt and Road Initiative and other Chinese connections with the rest of the world are in 2020 sufficiently robust that a prolonged Wuhan pneumonia epidemic might drive down the nation’s gross domestic product, cheapen world oil prices, and devastate the Shanghai stock market, that vast infrastructure is certainly adequate to provide a serious spread of the virus. … [I]t’s impossible to fathom a scenario in which the new coronavirus does not become a global crisis. … It’s hard to look at the new routes built with Chinese aid over Siberia and the Himalayas and as far as Africa without seeing potential routes for disease that could carry contagion to every corner of the world” (1/24).

Wall Street Journal: China’s Censorship Helps Spread the Virus
Paul Wolfowitz, former World Bank president and visiting scholar, and Max Frost, senior associate in foreign and defense policy, both at the American Enterprise Institute

“Xi Jinping has acknowledged that the ‘accelerating spread’ of a new coronavirus from the central Chinese city of Wuhan is a ‘grave situation.’ To stop the virus’s spread, the Chinese government has barred residents of Wuhan and nearby cities from traveling and blocked outbound flights, trains, buses, and ferries. But if this develops into a catastrophe, the cult of personality around Mr. Xi and the Communist regime’s efforts to control information will deserve much of the blame. … China has no independent media and strict censorship even in peacetime. The virus has spread to Xinjiang, where the government holds more than a million Uighurs in densely populated ‘re-education centers.’ Beijing has blocked Taiwan — which has three confirmed cases of the virus — from participating in a World Health Organization discussion of the outbreak. Meanwhile, Chinese police are interrogating people for ‘spreading rumors’ on social media about the virus. … Wuhan’s bestselling newspaper didn’t put the outbreak on its front page until nearly three weeks after the first cases. … [S]ecrecy can kill. Chinese communism now threatens the world with a massive medical disaster” (1/26).

CNN: The World Health Organization should sound the alarm on Wuhan coronavirus
Michael Bociurkiw, global affairs analyst and former spokesman for both the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and UNICEF (1/25).

The Hill: An evolving novel coronavirus epidemic
Amesh Adalja, infectious disease physician and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (1/25).

New York Times: Will the Largest Quarantine in History Just Make Things Worse?
Howard Markel, George E. Wantz distinguished professor of the history of medicine at the University of Michigan (1/27).

Washington Post: The WHO held off on declaring the Wuhan coronavirus a global health emergency. Here’s why.
Mara Pillinger, associate at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University (1/26).

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More Opinions In Global Health

Devex: Opinion: Scaling up multisectoral nutrition — the role of international NGOs
Thomas Schaetzel, director of nutrition for CARE USA (1/24).

The Guardian: Depriving poor nations of drugs is a dangerous false economy
Kenan Malik, writer, lecturer, and broadcaster (1/26).

Foreign Policy: The Future of Development Is Local
Xavier Michon, deputy executive secretary, and Jaffer Machano, global program manager for municipal investment finance, both with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (1/22).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

'Science Speaks' Highlights Several Pieces On Coronavirus Outbreak

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Wuhan 2019-nCoV — What we’re reading: Tracking the spread, impacts and learning curve
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” highlights several pieces that discuss issues surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, including a New York Times map of the outbreak that is being updated continuously (1/26).

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BMJ Collection, Research Article Explore Women's, Children's, Adolescents' Health In SDG Era

BMJ: Leaving no woman, no child, and no adolescent behind
“In 2020 the world enters the last 10 years of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The SDGs’ mantra … is ‘Leave no one behind.’ The 2030 goals target health and well-being for all and the U.N.’s Every Woman Every Child global strategy for women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health (2016-2030) is the unifying roadmap to achieve that for women, children, and adolescents. Is leaving no one behind just rhetoric, or is it leading to measurable change? In this collection of articles leading researchers from around the world explore the data on health inequalities in an attempt to answer this question. One third of the way through the SDG era, what will it take to ensure that no woman, child, or adolescent is left behind?” (January 2020).

BMJ Global Health: Are the poorest poor being left behind? Estimating global inequalities in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health
Aluisio J.D. Barros of the Department of Data and Analytics at WHO and colleagues discuss an analysis on wealth-related inequalities in reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health, writing, “There are huge inequalities between the richest and the poorest women and children in most countries. These inequalities are strongly driven by low coverage among the poorest given the wealthiest groups achieve high coverage irrespective of where they live, overcoming any barriers that are an impediment to others. Countries that ‘punched above their weight’ in coverage, given their level of absolute wealth, were those that best managed to reach their poorest women and children” (January 2020).

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IntraHealth Blog Post Discusses Role Of Nurses, Midwives In Advancing Global Health

IntraHealth International’s “VITAL”: The Future of Global Health Starts with Nurses and Midwives
This piece discusses the role of nurses and midwives in global health and highlights ways in which IntraHealth will work “to help nurses and midwives gain the power, authority, and resources they need to lead us all into the future of global health” (1/23).

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Head Of Novartis Foundation Discusses Efforts To Address Leprosy

Health Affairs: One Step Closer To Ending Leprosy
Ann Aerts, head of the Novartis Foundation, discusses the foundation’s efforts to address leprosy, highlighting the leprosy post-exposure prophylaxis (LPEP) initiative launched in 2014 as an approach to case detection and preventive treatment. Aerts writes, “We would encourage every country to follow the WHO guidelines and implement this approach as the international standard” (1/24).

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