KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report
In The News
- WHO Declares Novel Coronavirus Outbreak Constitutes Global Emergency, Calls For International Cooperation, 'Facts, Not Fear'
ABC News: Coronavirus declared global health emergency by WHO after 1st person-to-person U.S. case reported
“The World Health Organization declared coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern at a news conference Thursday in Geneva. This is only the sixth time such an emergency has been declared, with past examples including the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Zika virus…” (Schumaker, 1/30).
Al Jazeera: WHO calls for science and solidarity over coronavirus
“…An ‘unprecedented outbreak’ had been met with an ‘unprecedented response,’ said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, following a crisis meeting in the Swiss city of Geneva on Thursday. … ‘This is the time for facts, not fear,’ he said. ‘This is the time for science, not rumors. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma’…” (1/30).
Devex: Declaring coronavirus emergency alone is not enough, experts say
“…[M]uch more needs to be done to coordinate responses internationally and strengthen China’s public health response. WHO needs to launch a global action plan to get the outbreak under control, Lawrence Gostin, director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, and director at the WHO Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law, told Devex. Apart from the rapid development of a vaccine, the plan should also include actions that will allow for a surge in public health response in China, particularly Hubei province, the center of the epidemic, he said…” (Ravelo, 1/31).
Reuters: WHO says countries should keep borders open, trade & people moving despite coronavirus
“Borders should be kept open and people and trade flowing in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, although countries have a sovereign right to take measures to try to protect their citizens, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. The WHO, which declared the accelerating outbreak a global emergency on Thursday, voiced fresh concern that the virus could spread undetected in a country with a weak health system…” (Nebehay, 1/31).
Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Is Declared a Global Health Emergency as Threat Rises Outside China
“…Public-health authorities said the WHO designation helps mobilize resources to contain the virus’s spread. The WHO’s director-general can make recommendations to the international community, though they aren’t legally binding. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was confident in China’s capacity to control the outbreak, which has sickened more than 9,500 people and killed 213 — up from 170 a day earlier — mostly in China’s Hubei province, which surrounds Wuhan. ‘Let me be clear. This declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China,’ Dr. Tedros said. ‘I have never in my life seen this kind of mobilization’…” (Abbott et al., 1/30).
Additional coverage of the WHO’s declaration of a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) is available from AP, BBC, Breitbart, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News, New Humanitarian, PBS NewsHour, Quartz, Reuters, Science Speaks, STAT, TIME, Vox, and U.N. News.
- Media Outlets Examine Trump Administration's Response To Novel Coronavirus Outbreak Domestically, Abroad
CNBC: Trump says coronavirus outbreak is ‘all under control’ and a ‘very small problem’ in U.S.
“President Donald Trump said the U.S. government was working closely with China to contain the coronavirus outbreak that has killed at least  people, predicting ‘a very good ending’ for the United States. ‘We are working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for us, that I can assure you,’ Trump said Thursday while visiting a manufacturing plant for auto supplier Dana in Warren, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Trump said U.S. officials believe ‘we have it all under control,’ adding that it’s a ‘very small problem in this country’…” (Wayland, 1/30).
The Hill: House panel to hold hearing on response to coronavirus
“A House panel announced Thursday that it will hold a hearing next week on how the federal government is handling the global coronavirus outbreak. Next Wednesday’s hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation will be the first congressional hearing on the coronavirus, which has killed at least  people. The hearing is currently slated to feature testimony from a group of experts on China and public health…” (Marcos, 1/30).
POLITICO: Trump sticks embattled health chief with coronavirus response
“In the span of a day, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar suddenly became the face of the Trump White House’s public response to the Wuhan coronavirus. He could just as easily become the fall guy if the president grows unhappy with the speed or nature of the virus’ transmission, or the increasingly intense media coverage surrounding the administration’s actions. … On Monday, several senior officials expressed extreme frustration with Azar and the White House’s response, feeling that the administration was caught flat-footed. Some specifically criticized Azar for not widely sharing information and being too slow to ramp up the administration’s efforts…” (Cook/Diamond, 1/30).
STAT: A coronavirus ‘czar’? Trump took the opposite course: a 12-member committee
“…[S]ome lawmakers and public health experts say that an obvious step is for President Trump to appoint a White House-level coordinator, a coronavirus ‘czar.’ What works best, they said, is to have a quarterback who has both the ear of the president and the backing to corral the sprawling federal agencies that would respond to an epidemic. … This week, President Trump took the opposite approach. Rather than a single overseer, he appointed a committee of 12 headed by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar … While some question Trump’s strategy, others said they were not convinced a coordinator role would suit this White House…” (Fox, 1/31).
Washington Post: Trump under growing pressure on U.S. response to growing coronavirus threat
“President Trump, a leading critic of the Obama White House’s handling of the Ebola outbreak in 2014, is under increasing political pressure to mount a coordinated federal response to the threat of the new strain of coronavirus — amid fears of a global health crisis with economic ramifications in an election year. … Trump has been uncharacteristically muted on the coronavirus. … But increasingly, there is a feeling among aides that the president must say more, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations. … Some global health security experts said that a more senior White House official should be in charge of the Trump administration’s response given that Azar has little authority over other agencies…” (Nakamura et al., 1/30).
- Scientists Focus On How Novel Coronavirus Spreads As First Person-To-Person Transmission Cases Documented; Research Into Vaccine Moves Quickly
AP: How well new China virus spreads is focus of control efforts
“Scientists are starting to fill in some key gaps in what’s known about the new virus from China. New research suggests it spreads a little easier than regular flu but not as well as some other respiratory diseases like whooping cough or tuberculosis. Health officials are focusing on person-to-person spread as the virus extends its geographic reach…” (1/30).
New York Times: Coronavirus Anger Boils Over in China and Doctors Plead for Supplies
“One week into a lockdown, anger and anxiety deepened in China on Thursday as the central province at the center of the coronavirus outbreak endured shortages of hospital beds, medical supplies, and doctors. … At the same time, hospitals in the region renewed pleas to the public for help to replenish their supplies, which were fast disappearing…” (Buckley et al., 1/30).
STAT: Study documents first case of coronavirus spread by a person showing no symptoms
“People showing no symptoms appear to be able to spread the novel coronavirus that has caused an outbreak in China and led world health authorities to declare a global emergency, researchers reported Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. If confirmed, the finding will make it much harder to contain the virus…” (Joseph, 1/30).
Washington Post: Coronavirus vaccine research is moving at record speed
“…To scientists, the work to create a vaccine against the new coronavirus is advancing with a speed they could barely have imagined a decade ago. At the same time, it’s not even close to quick enough to contain the spreading infection — and in many ways, the outbreak will test the capacity of science to react in real time to a new and unknown ‘pathogen X’ that takes the world by surprise…” (Johnson, 1/30).
- Democratic Presidential Candidate Amy Klobuchar Publishes Plan To Prevent, Respond To Global Disease Outbreaks
AP: Klobuchar proposes plan to prevent, address global outbreaks
“Democratic presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar released a plan Thursday to prevent and respond to global outbreaks like the new virus that has sickened people in China and spread to more than a dozen countries, including the U.S. … Klobuchar said she would invest in early-warning systems to help stop outbreaks before they become pandemics, increase stockpiles of existing vaccines and invest in the development of new vaccines. The Minnesota senator also would recommit the U.S. to the Global Health Security Agenda, an Obama administration initiative to respond to the threat of infectious diseases; work with organizations like WHO to help at-risk countries and regions improve local health services; and fully fund departments and agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health…” (Burnett, 1/30).
- Washington Post Examines Kenya's Blood Supply, Impact Of PEPFAR Aid Transition
Washington Post: Kenya’s blood banks are running dry after the U.S. ended aid — and a baby’s life is at risk
“…The country had relied for years almost entirely on U.S. aid for its state-run blood transfusion service, but the funding was discontinued in September. The director of the service, part of Kenya’s Health Ministry, said the support ended abruptly and prematurely, leaving Kenyan officials unprepared. But U.S. officials said a transition of responsibility had been discussed for 10 years. The U.S. government gave Kenya $72.5 million over more than 15 years through its global HIV/AIDS … program, called PEPFAR, to build its blood safety and transfusion infrastructure nearly from scratch — from the blood banks themselves to equipment and training. The aid was aimed at building confidence in blood collection so Kenyans wouldn’t fear getting tested for the virus. ‘The United States had consulted with the government of Kenya for several years on plans to transition this blood safety assistance to their responsibility,’ said U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter. … But the Kenyan government did not provide for the transfusion service in its budget for 2020, and the past year’s blood collection totals were dire, according to Fridah Govedi, the head of the transfusion service…” (Bearak/Ombour, 1/30).
- Gavi Replenishment, Other Funding, National Commitments To Child Nutrition, Air Pollution Reduction Top Discussions At Global Forum On Childhood Pneumonia
Devex: Gavi replenishment tops concerns at Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia
“The need for a successful replenishment of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to increase childhood immunization against pneumonia dominated conversations at the Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia this week. Other calls at the gathering in Barcelona included the need for more domestic resources and international development assistance, national commitments to childhood nutrition, and a reduction in air pollution…” (Root, 1/31).
- Health Officials Continue To Report New Ebola Cases In Beni As Violence Worsens In Region
CIDRAP News: Ebola sickens 1 more in DRC; healthcare spread noted in recent Beni cases
“One more illness has been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC’s) Ebola outbreak, raising the total to 3,421, of which 2,242 were fatal, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) online Ebola dashboard…” (1/29).
New Humanitarian: In the news: Militia attack leaves dozens dead in Congo’s Beni region
“Militia fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern Beni region have killed at least 38 people — the deadliest in a string of similarly bloody attacks that have caused widespread outrage and mass protests in the Ebola-hit area. Almost 300 people have been killed — most of them women and children — in Beni over the past 12 weeks, and thousands more have been displaced by the attacks, which have been blamed on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militant group. … On a visit to Beni earlier this month, The New Humanitarian found dozens of abandoned villages, and spoke to residents who described a state of near-constant fear…” (1/30).
- Carter Center To Stop Mass Drug Administration Program In Ethiopia, Sudan Border Region After Success
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Carter Center declares early win against river blindness in Ethiopia
“The Carter Center has won a first battle against river blindness in the border region between Ethiopia and Sudan. Dr. Frank Richards, the center’s campaign director, said it is stopping mass drug administration in a 7,500 square kilometer area of northwest Ethiopia and a bordering 22,400 square kilometer area of Sudan…” (Quinn, 1/29).
- 'Super-Swarms' Of Locusts Destroy Crops, Threaten Food Supply In East Africa; FAO Calls For $76M 'Now' To Address Situation
AP: U.N.: Africa’s locust outbreak needs $76M ‘by, actually, now’
“The worst locust outbreak that parts of East Africa have seen in 70 years needs some $76 million to help control and the money is ‘required by, actually, now,’ the United Nations said Thursday. So far just $15 million has been mobilized to help stop the outbreak that threatens to worsen an already poor hunger situation for millions of people in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, and elsewhere, Dominique Bourgeon, emergencies director with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, told a briefing in Rome…” (Anna, 1/30).
The Telegraph: Africa threatened with severe food crisis as locust ‘mega-swarms’ devour crops
“…The swarms emerged in Yemen early last summer but have since poured into northern Kenya — where a ‘super-swarm’ some 2,400 square kilometers wide was spotted last week. It is only the third time since 1950 that locusts swarms have been seen on this scale. In the last serious locust upsurge, between 2003 and 2005 across some 20 countries in North Africa and the Middle East, roughly $750 million (£574 million) was spent to bring the swarms under control, and some 12 million hectares of land were sprayed with pesticides…” (Newey, 1/26).
- More News In Global Health
AP: Afghans will need billions more in aid, as U.S. looks to leave (Faiez, 1/31).
Devex: MSF launches online course for humanitarians on medical abortion (Root, 1/31).
Devex: Q&A: Steps to making this the decade of delivery (1/31).
Devex: Local volunteers are vital to aid work — but don’t always get equal support (Smith, 1/30).
The Guardian: Drought leaves tens of thousands in Lesotho ‘one step from famine’ (Charumbira, 1/30).
The Lancet: African nations to criminalize falsified medicine trafficking (Adepoju, 2/1).
Refinery29: “This Is An Emergency”: 20 Leading Activists Unite To Call Out World Leaders (O’Sullivan, 1/30).
Reuters: In Senegal, online videos break silence over domestic abuse (Pujol-Mazzini et al., 1/31).
RICE: Living with HIV in Singapore: “The virus doesn’t kill. The stigma does” (Ping, 1/31).
The Telegraph: Motorbike gunmen kill two polio workers in Pakistan (Farmer, 1/30).
Editorials and Opinions
- Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Novel Coronavirus Outbreak, Epidemic Preparedness
The Atlantic: Coronavirus Is Coming — And Trump Isn’t Ready
Ronald Klain, former White House Ebola response coordinator (1/30).
The Atlantic: We Don’t Have Enough Masks
James Hamblin, staff writer at The Atlantic and author (1/30).
CNN: Coronavirus shows disease prevention needs to be a policy priority
Sten Vermund, dean of the Yale School of Public Health and Anna M.R. Lauder professor of public health and professor of pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine (1/30).
The Guardian: Poorer countries suffer most from global health crises. We need help to handle coronavirus
Claude Posala, eye surgeon in the Solomon Islands (1/30).
The Hill: The world has seen outbreaks like coronavirus before. Have we learned from them?
Joel Breman, president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene (1/30).
JAMA: The Novel Coronavirus Originating in Wuhan, China: Challenges for Global Health Governance
Alexandra L. Phelan, member of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University and adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center; Rebecca Katz, professor and director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University; and Lawrence O. Gostin, director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University and founding O’Neill chair in Global Health Law (1/30).
The Lancet: Emerging understandings of 2019-nCoV
Editorial Board (1/24).
The Lancet: Offline: 2019-nCoV outbreak — early lessons
Richard Horton, editor in chief of The Lancet (2/1).
New York Times: Coronavirus and the Panic Epidemic
Ian Johnson, writer and inaugural recipient of a Robert B. Silvers Foundation grant (1/30).
New York Times: To Understand the Wuhan Coronavirus, Look to the Epidemic Triangle
Dan Werb, author (1/30).
STAT: With coronavirus, as with AIDS and Ebola, we must move beyond the fear
Danielle Ofri, physician at Bellevue Hospital, clinical professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine, and editor in chief of the Bellevue Literary Review (1/30).
Washington Post: The next pandemic is coming. We’re not prepared for it.
Tom Frieden, president and chief executive of Resolve to Save Lives (1/30).
Washington Post: The actual danger of coronavirus
Jessica Hauger, doctoral student in Duke University’s department of history (1/30).
Washington Times: Responding to the coronavirus threat using lessons learned from Ebola
Sheldon Jacobson, professor of computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and chair of the INFORMS National Science Foundation Liaison Committee (1/30).
- More Opinions In Global Health
Devex: Opinion: We’re not fighting hard enough against the top killer of children
Henrietta H. Fore, executive director at UNICEF, and Kevin Watkins, chief executive of Save the Children U.K. (1/30).
Foreign Affairs: Democracy Is Good for Your Health — And Vice Versa
Thomas J. Bollyky, director of the Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations and author (1/30).
Global Health NOW: Neglected Tropical Diseases: A Lesson in Elimination?
Catharina Boehme, CEO of the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND); Joseph Ndung’u, head of neglected tropical diseases at FIND, chair of FIND Kenya, and chancellor of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT); and Madhukar Pai, Canada research chair in epidemiology and global health at McGill University, director of McGill Global Health Programs, and director of the McGill International TB Centre (1/30).
STAT: Companies must responsibly manufacture the antimicrobials society needs
Alba Tiley, director of global sustainable antibiotics at Centrient Pharmaceuticals and member of the AMR Industry Alliance, and Steve Brooks, chair of the AMR Industry Alliance’s Manufacturing Working Group (1/30).
From the Global Health Policy Community
- Task Force For Global Health Discusses Global Efforts To Address NTDs
Task Force for Global Health/Medium: The Ambitious Goal of Beating Neglected Tropical Diseases
This post recognizes the first-ever World NTD Day and discusses global efforts, challenges, and progress in addressing NTDs (1/28).
- Oxfam Blog, UNICEF Releases Discuss Childhood Pneumonia
Oxfam’s “From Poverty to Power”: Everyone is talking about Coronavirus, but why does the World do so little about Pneumonia, which kills 2,000 children a day?
In this guest post, Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children U.K., discusses the importance of addressing childhood pneumonia (1/29).
UNICEF: UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore’s remarks at Fighting for Breath: The Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia
This transcript contains remarks by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore at the Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia (1/29).
UNICEF: Two million children in Nigeria could die in the next decade unless more is done to fight pneumonia
Rabiu Musa, communications specialist at UNICEF Nigeria, highlights a Johns Hopkins University study modeling childhood pneumonia deaths in Nigeria over the next 10 years (1/30).
UNICEF: Childhood pneumonia: Everything you need to know
This press release provides a Q&A on childhood pneumonia (1/28).
- CFR Working Paper Focuses On Mitigating Communicable Diseases In Refugee Populations
Council on Foreign Relations: Refuge From Disease
In this working paper, Swee Kheng Khor of the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford and David L. Heymann of the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House discuss mitigating communicable diseases in refugee populations and present recommendations to improve health care in these situations. The authors note, “Any efforts to address communicable diseases should not be viewed in isolation but instead as one part of the entirety of policy options for refugees. The medical, logistical, technical, and financial hurdles can be overcome, but the political and geopolitical hurdles are more difficult. Nation-states need to enter into a new era of rational self-interest in dealing with refugee health given the powerful, albeit largely invisible, benefit” (1/30).
- 53 Cases Of Guinea Worm Reported In 2019, Carter Center Announces
Carter Center: 53 Cases of Guinea Worm Reported in 2019
On Wednesday, the Carter Center announced that a total of 53 cases of Guinea worm disease were reported in 2019. This release discusses the number of cases and infections by country, as well as highlights the Carter Center’s efforts against the disease (1/29).
- Global Health Experts Remember Peter Salama
Think Global Health: A Tribute to Peter Salama, a Champion of People in Fragile States and War-Torn Places
Richard Brennan, regional emergency director of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region, and David Nabarro, professor at Imperial College, London and strategic director of Skills, Systems and Synergies for Sustainable Development (4SD), discuss the professional accomplishments of Peter Salama, original director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, who recently passed away. The authors write, “Peter Salama … was a brilliant, accomplished, and inspiring health leader who focused on the needs of women and children globally, particularly in war-torn places where health services had collapsed. He led on health issues within the United Nations, translating knowledge to action and becoming increasingly effective as he gained experience” (1/29).