KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Media Outlets Examine U.S. Government's Response To Novel Coronavirus, Both Domestically, Abroad

The Hill: CDC, State Department warn against any travel to China
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its highest travel warning on Monday, urging Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to China because of the outbreak of coronavirus. At the same time, the State Department raised its China travel warning to level 3, urging U.S. citizens to ‘reconsider travel’ to the country due to the coronavirus outbreak…” (Weixel, 1/27).

Homeland Preparedness News: Sen. Markey seeks information from HHS, State Department on coronavirus
“U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) sent letters to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the State Department seeking information on their response to the coronavirus originating out of Wuhan, China. … Markey, who serves on the East Asia subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is asking the State Department for information related to Taiwan, which is not part of the World Health Organization but is where vases have been confirmed…” (Kovaleski, 1/27).

STAT: He once sent untrue, alarmist tweets about Ebola. Now, Trump is facing his biggest outbreak emergency — and experts are worried
“…Now Trump is president, and leading an administration that is chaotic and fractious. The outbreak of a new coronavirus could be his biggest public health challenge, and veterans of other disease outbreaks and epidemics are worried about how he’ll handle it. … [A]s this outbreak spreads, Trump is not surrounded by seasoned advisers on public health. Trump’s onetime public health adviser, Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, left the National Security Council in 2018 and returned to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). His team was taken apart. Another adviser who advocated for strong defenses against disease and biological attacks, former homeland security adviser Tom Bossert, also resigned in 2018. … Not everyone sounds so concerned. … [Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases,] said that despite the lack of a designated White House coordinator, the National Security Council is paying close attention to the coronavirus outbreak…” (Fox, 1/28).

Additional coverage of the U.S. response to the coronavirus outbreak, domestically and abroad, is available from AP, The Hill, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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U.S. Drugmakers Send Antiviral Drugs To China To Assess Treatment Effectiveness Against Coronavirus

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Drugmakers Ship Therapies to China, Seeking to Treat Coronavirus
“U.S. drugmakers are shipping antiviral drugs to Chinese health authorities to assess whether the medicines could help contain the explosion of respiratory virus infections sweeping the country. … There are no vaccines or drugs approved anywhere in the world specifically for the new coronavirus, prompting health authorities to explore repurposing untested antivirals in a desperate effort to help contain an outbreak that has been spreading rapidly in China and has appeared in more limited cases overseas…” (Hopkins/McKay, 1/27).

Additional coverage of efforts to find treatments and vaccines for the novel coronavirus is available from Bloomberg and Science.

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China Confirms More Than 4,500 Coronavirus Cases With More Than 50 Cases Confirmed In Other Places; Media Outlets Examine Reaction To Outbreak

AP: China confirms 4,500 cases of virus, more than 50 elsewhere
“China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of a new virus, with 106 deaths. Most have been in the central city of Wuhan where the outbreak began in December. More than 50 cases have been confirmed in other places with nearly all of them involving Chinese tourists or people who visited Wuhan recently…” (1/28).

The Atlantic: The Deceptively Simple Number Sparking Coronavirus Fears
“…In December, a previously unknown coronavirus, now called 2019-nCoV, emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan. There have been more than 4,500 confirmed cases, the majority of which have been in mainland China. But several dozen cases have been detected in more than 15 other countries, and as the outbreak has spread, so has fear. Public-health researchers have sped to estimate the R0 of the new disease, and as they have shared their findings, this number has fueled several alarmed missives on social media…” (Yong, 1/28).

Additional coverage of reactions to the novel coronavirus, in China and on social media, is available from AP, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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WHO DG Tedros, Chinese President Xi Meet To Discuss Coronavirus Outbreak Response; Wuhan Mayor Says Central Government Rules Prevented Information Sharing

Reuters: China sure of slaying ‘devil’ virus, Hong Kong to cut links
“President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday China was sure of defeating a ‘devil’ coronavirus that has killed 106 people, spread across the world and rattled financial markets. … World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Xi met in Beijing to discuss how to protect Chinese and foreigners in areas affected by the virus and ‘possible’ evacuation alternatives, a WHO spokesman said…” (Munroe et al., 1/27).

Wall Street Journal: Wuhan Mayor Says Beijing Rules Partially Responsible for Lack of Transparency
“The mayor of Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of China’s viral outbreak, said rules imposed by Beijing limited what he could disclose about the threat posed by the pathogen, suggesting the central government was partially responsible for a lack of transparency that has marred the response to the fast-expanding health crisis. Mayor Zhou Xianwang’s comments were broadcast on China’s state television network hours after Premier Li Keqiang arrived in the city to meet infected patients and front-line health workers — an attempt to tamp down rising public frustration with how local officials have dealt with the coronavirus outbreak…” (Chin et al., 1/27).

Additional coverage of the meeting between Tedros and Xi, as well as the Chinese government’s response, is available from The Hill, Reuters (2), U.N. News, and Wall Street Journal.

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African Nations Take Steps To Prevent Coronavirus Spread; Gates Foundation Providing $5M To Africa CDC For Screening, Preparedness

Business Insider: The Gates Foundation is spending $10 million to fight the coronavirus outbreak in China and Africa. Bill Gates has warned about a pandemic for years.
“As a coronavirus continues to spread around the world, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced Sunday that it is contributing $10 million toward the fight to contain the outbreak. Of that total, the foundation is giving $5 million to support the response in China, while the other $5 million is going to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for screening and crisis preparedness there…” (Secon, 1/27).

Devex: African countries brace for coronavirus spread
“Across Africa, countries are ramping up airport screenings of passengers arriving from China, in efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus on a continent already facing multiple outbreaks, including Ebola and measles. … Heightening concerns about a spread to Africa are the high levels of movement between the two continents as commerce and trade increases between regions…” (Jerving/Ravelo, 1/28).

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News Outlets Report On Various Aspects Of Novel Coronavirus Outbreak

AFP: ‘Draconian’ travel curbs needed to halt spread of virus: scientists (1/27).

New York Times: ‘What if We All Get Sick?’: Coronavirus Strains China’s Health System (Wee et al., 1/27).

New York Times: A Divided Hong Kong Confronts the Arrival of the Coronavirus (Ramzy et al., 1/28).

PBS NewsHour: What we know about novel coronavirus so far (1/27).

Reuters: Confusion and lost time: how testing woes slowed China’s coronavirus response (Chen et al., 1/27).

Reuters: Factbox: Countries evacuating nationals from China virus areas (Aung et al., 1/27).

Wall Street Journal: Hong Kong-China Travel to Be Reduced Significantly Due to Coronavirus (Russolillo et al., 1/28).

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The Guardian Examines How, Why World Recording More Viral Epidemics, Efforts To Prevent Spread

The Guardian: The disease always gets a head start: how to handle an epidemic
“…Advances in medical science by the late 1960s led some experts to declare that humanity had conquered infectious diseases. It was wishful thinking. Two decades into the 21st century, viruses are breaking out more frequently than in the past, data shows…” (Safi, 1/27).

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9 Of 10 Underreported Crises Occurred In African Nations In 2019, CARE International Annual Report Says

Devex: Interactive: What were the most underreported humanitarian crises of 2019?
“In 2019, nine out of 10 underreported crises were from Africa — reinforcing the challenge countries face in generating media attention for protracted crises in the region, with North Korea making it back to the list. The fourth annual list of underreported humanitarian crises from CARE International analyzes 40 disasters and conflicts affecting at least a million people to determine which are the most underreported…” (Cornish, 1/28).

The Guardian: Africa is humanitarian ‘blind spot’: the world’s top 10 forgotten crises — report
“…Madagascar’s chronic food crisis, where 2.6 million people were affected by drought in 2019, came top of the list of 10 of the most under-reported crises last year, Care International’s annual survey found. Others included Zambia, a country on the frontline of the climate emergency, with 2.3 million struggling to eat due to drought, and Kenya, which received only 20% of expected rainfall in 2019, and where 1.1 million people were hungry amid both floods and drought. Last year, climate activism led by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg dominated headlines in the northern hemisphere, but the suffering of millions of people in food poverty caused by global heating in the south was not being covered, according to the research…” (McVeigh, 1/28).

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Nearly 5M Children In Central Sahel Need Humanitarian Assistance In 2020 Due To Increasing Regional Violence, UNICEF Warns

U.N. News: Nearly 5 million children in need due to rising violence in central Sahel: UNICEF
“A surge in violence in the central Sahel region in Africa means nearly five million children will need humanitarian assistance this year, up from 4.3 million, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned on Tuesday. The agency reported that children have been attacked, abducted, or recruited into armed groups due to the spike in armed conflict and insecurity in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger…” (1/27).

Additional coverage of the advocacy brief is available from AFP and DW.

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GSK Licenses Experimental TB Vaccine To Gates Medical Research Institute To Continue Development

FierceBiotech: GSK hands TB vaccine to Gates Foundation’s nonprofit biotech
“GlaxoSmithKline has licensed a tuberculosis vaccine to the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute (MRI). The deal sets the stage for a push to build on recent phase 2b data and make the vaccine available in low-income countries where TB is prevalent. … In a statement to disclose the news, GSK framed the licensing deal as a way to support the continued development of the vaccine for use in low-income countries with high TB burdens. The focus on such populations gives the vaccine limited commercial potential, but the financial model of Gates MRI means it is insulated from such concerns…” (Taylor, 1/27).

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World Leprosy Day Raises Awareness Of Need To End Discrimination Of People Affected By Disease

IPS: Leprosy Re-emerges as a Global Health Challenge
“Sunday, Jan. 26, [was] World Leprosy Day, which is observed to raise awareness about the disease and those affected by it. IPS Senior Correspondent Stella Paul looks at how the disease is re-emerging as a global health challenge, particularly in countries like India, Brazil, and Indonesia…” (Paul, 1/23).

U.N. News: End discrimination against women and children affected by leprosy
“Governments must put an end to the informal segregation and institutionalized neglect of hundreds of thousands of women and children affected by leprosy, an independent U.N. human rights expert said on Sunday, World Leprosy Day…” (2/26).

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More News In Global Health

Borgen Magazine: The Top 4 Diseases of Poverty Worldwide (Rasmussen, 1/27).

Globe and Mail: Canadian researchers in Nairobi say fight against HIV/AIDS is still uphill battle, despite 40 years of medical advances (Leung, 1/27).

New Times: Rwanda deploys drones to eliminate malaria mosquitoes (Bishumba, 1/28).

Scientific American: Scientists Solve a Deadly TB Mystery (Nuwer, February 2020).

Xinhua: FAO holds informal meeting in Laos to discuss future of food, agriculture (1/28).

Xinhua: Roundup:Rwanda to host global summit on malaria, neglected tropical diseases (1/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinions Address U.S. Role, Other Aspects Of Novel Coronavirus Outbreak

The Atlantic: A Historic Quarantine
James Hamblin, preventive medicine physician and staff writer at The Atlantic (1/24).

Bloomberg: The China Coronavirus Will Test the U.S., Too
Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg opinion columnist and professor of economics at George Mason University (1/27).

The Conversation: Coronavirus outbreak: WHO’s decision to not declare a global public health emergency explained
Tom Solomon, director of the U.K. National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections, and professor of neurology in the Institute of Infection and Global Health at University of Liverpool (1/27).

Financial Times: Containing the spread of the coronavirus is a forlorn hope
Anjana Ahuja, science commentator (1/27).

The Hill: Is coronavirus a global emergency? What we don’t know can be dangerous
Marc Siegel, professor of medicine and medical director of Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Health and a Fox News medical correspondent (1/27).

NBC: Coronavirus threat needs a national emergency response. Trump’s putting ours at risk.
Vin Gupta, health policy researcher and assistant professor of global health and pulmonary/critical care medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine (1/27).

New York Times: We Made the Coronavirus Epidemic
David Quammen, author and journalist (1/28).

New York Times: Leaving Shanghai as the Coronavirus Extended Its Reach
Perri Klass, pediatrician and writer (1/28).

Washington Post: Is China ready for this major global health challenge?
Elanah Uretsky, medical anthropologist and assistant professor of international and global studies and anthropology at Brandeis University (1/27).

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Opinion Piece Highlights Role Of Science In Global Health Advances, Urges More Support Of Discipline

Project Syndicate: How to Improve on a Good Year for Global Health
Melvin Sanicas, medical director at Takeda

“…The discovery of many new viruses, vaccines, and treatments in 2019 was the result of investments in global surveillance, cross-sector partnerships, and scientific advances. But much more needs to be done. For example, we are only beginning to understand the impact of climate change on the emergence of infectious diseases and on the social and environmental determinants of health. Science may have been successful last year, but it still needs support. This should include more high-quality education in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), increased funding of global research collaborations, and continued government support for innovation and research and development. At a time when misinformation is calling into question the validity of facts, the world also needs better science communication — including higher-quality science reporting by the mass media. This year started with a mysterious outbreak in Wuhan, China, involving individuals who have contracted a novel coronavirus. … Science helped the world with the pandemic H1N1, SARS, and Ebola viruses, and science will once again help the world overcome this new threat…” (1/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Save the Children Urges E.U. To Continue Support Of Gavi In Next Replenishment

Save the Children: Gavi and the E.U.: A Partnership for the Future
Save the Children released a statement urging the E.U. to continue its support of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in light of Gavi’s upcoming replenishment in June. The release states, “As a vaccine champion, the E.U. can lead the way to a successful replenishment with an early pledge, catalyzing support from E.U. Member States. For these reasons, we call on the European Commission to live up to its reputation as a champion of vaccination and global health by making a robust, increased, and unearmarked commitment, through grant funding, to the Vaccine Alliance of €300 million for the years 2021-2025” (1/27).

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Oxfam Blog Post Calls For More Action On Preventing Road Traffic Accidents In Developing Countries

Oxfam’s “From Poverty To Power”: Why is Road Traffic not more of a development issue? It’s killing 1.25m (mainly poor) people a year.
This Oxfam blog post discusses the problem of road traffic accidents in developing countries and urges more action on the issue (1/27).

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Wilson Center Expert Discusses Applying Lessons From Botswana To Address Demographic Shifts, Development In Western Sahel

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Emulating Botswana’s Approach to Reproductive Health Services Could Speed Development in the Sahel
Richard Cincotta, global fellow at the Wilson Center, discusses demographic patterns in Africa’s Western Sahel region, including its “youth bulge,” and examines lessons from Botswana, which has taken steps resulting in a different demographic pattern. Cincotta writes, “Botswana provides an example of a country that, over the past four decades, has succeeded in substantially reducing the frequency of adolescent pregnancy and early marriage, increase birth spacing, and vastly improving its level of girls’ educational attainment — aspects of development that generally drive improvements in child nutrition and survival, improve maternal health, and initiate a shift to a smaller average family size” (1/27).

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From the U.S. Government

NIH Begins First Human Testing Of Monoclonal Antibody To Prevent Malaria

NIH: First human trial of monoclonal antibody to prevent malaria opens
“A Phase 1 clinical trial testing the safety and effectiveness of a monoclonal antibody (mAb) against malaria has begun enrolling healthy adult volunteers at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The trial, sponsored by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is the first to test mAb CIS43LS in humans. It aims to enroll up to 73 volunteers aged 18 through 50 years old who have never had malaria. After receiving mAb CIS43LS, most of the volunteers will be exposed to malaria parasite-carrying mosquitoes under carefully controlled conditions at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda to assess the ability of the mAb to confer protection from malaria infection…” (1/27).

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From KFF

KFF Expert Answers Questions On Novel Coronavirus Outbreak

KFF: Ask KFF: Josh Michaud Answers 3 Questions on the Coronavirus and U.S. Response
Josh Michaud, an associate director for Global Health Policy at KFF, offers perspective on the U.S. role in the novel coronavirus outbreak and how the response to this outbreak compares to others, such as SARS and the Ebola epidemic (Rice/Michaud, 1/27).

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