KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Reports Record Daily Increase In COVID-19 Cases On Saturday; Total Global Cases Pass 14M

Reuters: WHO reports record daily increase in global coronavirus cases for second day in a row
“The World Health Organization reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases for the second day in a row [on Saturday], with the total rising by 259,848 in 24 hours. The biggest increases reported on Saturday were from the United States, Brazil, India, and South Africa, according to a daily report. The previous WHO record for new cases was 237,743 on Friday. Deaths rose by 7,360, the biggest one-day increase since May 10. Deaths have been averaging 4,800 a day in July, up slightly from an average of 4,600 a day in June. Total global coronavirus cases surpassed 14 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, marking another milestone in the spread of the disease that has killed nearly 600,000 people in seven months. The surge means that 1 million cases were reported in under 100 hours…” (Shumaker, 7/18).

Washington Post: ‘Superspreading’ events, triggered by people who may not even know they are infected, propel coronavirus pandemic
“…Many scientists say such infection bursts — probably sparked by a single, highly infectious individual who may show no signs of illness and unwittingly share an enclosed space with many others — are driving the pandemic. They worry these cases, rather than routine transmission between one infected person and, say, two or three close contacts, are propelling case counts out of control. More than 1,000 suspected clusters — ranging from the single digits to thousands — have been logged in a database compiled by a coder in the Netherlands. A megachurch in South Korea. A political rally in Madrid. An engagement party in Rio de Janeiro. Nearly all took place indoors, or in indoor-outdoor spaces…” (Cha, 7/18).

Additional coverage of the spread of SARS-CoV-2 is available from NPR and VOA News.

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U.N. SG Guterres Slams International Community For Systemic Inequalities Exposed By Pandemic, Urges Major Reforms Of IMF, World Bank, Security Council; Other Officials Warn Pandemic Will Have Lasting Impacts

The Guardian: U.N. chief slams ‘myths, delusions and falsehoods’ around inequality
“The U.N. secretary general [on Saturday delivered] one of his most stinging speeches to date, attacking the ‘myths, delusions, and falsehoods’ around international progress on equality. In an unusually strongly worded speech, António Guterres urged major reform to the U.N. Security Council, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank, to address systemic inequalities exposed by the coronavirus pandemic. The health crisis had revealed the world’s fragility and ‘laid bare risks we have ignored for decades: inadequate health systems; gaps in social protection; structural inequalities; environmental degradation; the climate crisis,’ he said. He said the pandemic was exposing ‘fallacies and falsehoods everywhere: the lie that free markets can deliver healthcare for all. The fiction that unpaid care work is not work, the delusion that we live in a post-racist world, the myth that we are all in the same boat’…” (McVeigh, 7/18).

AP: U.N. chief: World ‘at the breaking point’ due to inequalities (Anna, 7/18).

CNBC: U.N. official warns of decades of tragedies if wealthy nations don’t help in global coronavirus fight (Lovelace/Kim, 7/17).

Devex: Navigating through the U.N. COVID-19 response and procurement priorities (Coralde/Tamonan, 7/17).

Euronews: Human tragedies more brutal than COVID-19 if poor not helped with coronavirus fallout, says U.N. (Hurst, 7/18).

Fox News: U.N.’s António Guterres: As coronavirus rages, developed countries have ‘failed’ to help nations in need (Miles, 7/19).

Reuters: G20 should start talks on reducing debts of poorest countries: World Bank chief (Shalal, 7/18).

Reuters: UPDATE 2-At G20, Germany pledges 3 bln euros for poor countries (7/18).

U.N. News: ‘Inequality defines our time’: U.N. chief delivers hard-hitting Mandela day message (7/18).

U.N. News: World’s poorest being pushed ‘closer to the abyss’ of famine, warns WFP chief (7/17).

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Media Outlets Examine Various Aspects Of Novel Coronavirus Vaccine R&D, Access, Funding

Bloomberg: U.K. Orders 90 Million Vaccine Doses from Pfizer, Valneva (Mulier, 7/20).

Bloomberg: Most of the World May Face Covid Without a Vaccine (Paton, 7/18).

Chicago Tribune: How will the first COVID-19 vaccine affect women? ‘This leaves a big question mark’ (Bowen, 7/19).

CNN: Why North Korea says it’s joining the coronavirus vaccine race, even though it has no cases (Berlinger, 7/20).

Financial Times: Britain signs up for 90m doses of German and French vaccines (Miller/Cookson, 7/20).

Financial Times: Pre-fab vaccine facilities aim to help fill production gap (Miller, 7/19).

Financial Times: World must pick sides in vaccines battle, says Russian wealth fund chief (Foy/Seddon, 7/17).

Homeland Preparedness News: COVAX Facility builds coalition of more than 160 countries interested in equitable COVID-19 vaccines (Galford, 7/17).

New York Times: Mistrust of a Coronavirus Vaccine Could Imperil Widespread Immunity (Hoffman, 7/18).

POLITICO: Europe’s challenge of a lifetime: Manufacturing enough coronavirus vaccines (Furlong, 7/18).

POLITICO Magazine: An Indian drug mogul says Americans will pay too much for the Covid vaccine — and wants to change that (Wheaton, 7/19).

STAT: 6 burning questions Congress could push Covid-19 vaccine makers to answer (Garde/Branswell, 7/20).

The Telegraph: Russian elite received experimental Covid-19 vaccine in April, reports say (Vasilyeva, 7/20).

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Drug Regulators Continue Cooperation Amid Political Pressures, European Medicines Agency Head Says

POLITICO: Drug regulators remain united on Covid-19, says E.U. agency boss
“The competition among governments to secure access to medicines and future vaccines against coronavirus has been fierce — but it hasn’t turned drug regulators against each other. On the contrary, it has brought them closer together, said Guido Rasi, the boss of the European Medicines Agency, which is in charge of recommending drug and vaccine approvals for all 27 E.U. members. Rasi told POLITICO that a unified front among global regulators on the data necessary to approve new medicines or vaccines for the novel coronavirus will help them withstand political pressure at home, as governments compete to be the first to offer their citizens vaccines or treatments…” (Paun, 7/18).

Additional coverage of Rasi’s interview and cooperation among drug regulators is available from POLITICO.

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Pandemic Gaining Momentum In Africa, Asia; NYT Examines Europe's COVID-19 Response; Brazil Health Workers May Have Spread Virus To Indigenous Populations; Syrian Government Takes Action As Cases Rise; White House Seeks To Block Funding For CDC, Testing, Tracing


AP: Home learning, reopening schools especially hard in Africa (Muhumuza et al., 7/20).

BBC: Why some Kenyans still deny coronavirus exists (7/20).

Bloomberg: Nairobi Hospital Builds Virus Facility for U.N. Africa Workers (Malingha, 7/19).

Bloomberg: South Africa Data May Underreport Virus Deaths, Experts Say (Bax et al., 7/18).

Financial Times: ‘The pandemic is gaining momentum’: Africa prepares for surge in infections (Pilling, 7/19).


AP: Families step in at Kabul COVID-19 ward to care for patients (Akhgar, 7/20).

AP: Asia Today: Outbreak in northwest China spreads to 2nd city (7/20).

TIME: Coronavirus Is Surging All Over Asia and the Pacific. Here’s What the Rest of the World Can Learn (Gunia, 7/17).


New York Times: Europe Said It Was Pandemic Ready. Pride Was Its Downfall (Kirkpatrick et al., 7/20).


New Humanitarian: Haitian mental health needs rise yet again with COVID-19 trauma (Obert, 7/17).

New York Times: Brazil Health Workers May Have Spread Coronavirus to Indigenous People (Andreoni et al., 7/19).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Fears of HIV spike in Jamaica as pandemic hits prevention efforts (Chappell, 7/20).

Washington Post: As coronavirus explodes in Venezuela, Maduro’s government blames ‘biological weapon’: the country’s returning refugees (Herrero et al., 7/19).


PRI: Israel considers a second lockdown as coronavirus cases surge (Oseran, 7/17).

Washington Post: Coronavirus cases suspiciously low in Syria, but new uptick is spurring the government to act (Dadouch/Khattab, 7/18).


CNBC: Governors urge Trump administration to delay shift of coronavirus data away from CDC, while Democratic senators push for reversal (Feuer, 7/17).

New York Times: Vulnerable Border Community Battles Virus on ‘A Straight Up Trajectory’ (Dickerson, 7/19).

POLITICO: Trump admin allows group Covid-19 testing (Ollstein, 7/18).

VOA News: White House Seeks to Block Funding for CDC, Coronavirus Testing and Contact Tracing (7/19).

Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Deaths Surpass 140,000 in U.S., as Trump Sees Flare-Ups as ‘Burning Embers’ (Calvert et al., 7/19).

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News Outlets Examine U.S. Government's Response To COVID-19 Pandemic, Highlight Role Of Deborah Birx, 2018 State Department Cable Expressing Concern Over Wuhan Lab Personnel

CNN: How Dr. Deborah Birx’s political skills made her the most powerful person on the coronavirus task force
“As the relationship between Dr. Anthony Fauci and President Donald Trump publicly disintegrated over the past few months, Dr. Deborah Birx, Fauci’s former mentee, solidified her standing inside the White House, to the point that sources familiar with the situation say she has essentially taken charge of running the task force day to day…” (Salama et al., 7/17).

New York Times: Inside Trump’s Failure: The Rush to Abandon Leadership Role on the Virus
“Each morning at 8 as the coronavirus crisis was raging in April, Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, convened a small group of aides to steer the administration through what had become a public health, economic, and political disaster. … But their ultimate goal was to shift responsibility for leading the fight against the pandemic from the White House to the states. … Over a critical period beginning in mid-April, President Trump and his team convinced themselves that the outbreak was fading, that they had given state governments all the resources they needed to contain its remaining ’embers’ and that it was time to ease up on the lockdown. … Mr. Trump’s bet that the crisis would fade away proved wrong. But an examination of the shift in April and its aftermath shows that the approach he embraced was not just a misjudgment. Instead, it was a deliberate strategy that he would stick doggedly to as evidence mounted that, in the absence of strong leadership from the White House, the virus would continue to infect and kill large numbers of Americans…” (Shear et al., 7/18).

New York Times: Inside the Failure: 5 Takeaways on Trump’s Effort to Shift Responsibility
“…Interviews with more than two dozen senior administration officials, state and local health officials, and a review of emails and documents, show how a critical period in mid-April set the nation on a course to a new surge, with the United States logging more than 65,000 new cases of the virus each day. Here are some of the key findings…” (Shear, 7/18).

Washington Post: The crisis that shocked the world: America’s response to the coronavirus
“…Six months after the coronavirus appeared in America, the nation has failed spectacularly to contain it. The country’s ineffective response has shocked observers around the planet. Many countries have rigorously driven infection rates nearly to zero. In the United States, coronavirus transmission is out of control. The national response is fragmented, shot through with political rancor and culture-war divisiveness. … How the world’s richest country got into this dismal situation is a complicated tale that exposes the flaws and fissures in a nation long proud of its ability to meet cataclysmic challenges…” (Achenbach et al., 7/19).

Washington Post: State Department releases cable that launched claims that coronavirus escaped from Chinese lab
“The State Department has released an internal cable from 2018 detailing the concerns of U.S. Embassy officials in China about a lack of adequately trained personnel at a virology lab in Wuhan, the city that later became the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Leaked contents of the cable sparked unproven speculation from senior U.S. officials beginning in April that the outbreak occurred as a result of an accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology…” (Hudson/Jones, 7/17).

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E.U. Leaders Enter 4th Day Of Negotiations Over COVID-19 Recovery Plan

Wall Street Journal: E.U. Leaders Deadlocked on Coronavirus Recovery Plan
“Negotiations among the European Union’s 27 leaders for recovery plans worth €1.8 trillion ($2.06 trillion) dragged into a fourth day on Monday, leading to tense exchanges and fears of a breakdown. After three days of talks to agree a proposed spending package to lift Europe’s economy out of a coronavirus-sparked slump, E.U. leaders still hadn’t nailed down the size of the final plan, how much of it should be available in grants and some of the conditions attached. The discussions ran through the night and will resume on Monday afternoon Brussels time. Failure to reach a deal could spark a negative financial markets response, weeks after European leaders said there was a basic consensus around the outlines of the plan. A number of top E.U. leaders have said a deal must be in place before the traditional summer break begins at the end of July…” (Norman, 7/20).

Additional coverage of the meeting is available from AP (2) and BBC News.

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Melinda Gates Discusses Importance Of Focus On Women During Pandemic In Opinion Piece, Interview; Gates Foundation Investing In Efforts To Develop Vaccines, Therapies

Borgen Magazine: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation COVID-19 Response
“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a leading voice in the fight against global poverty through innovation and promoting equal access to healthcare and education. At the Coronavirus Global Response Summit on May 4, the Gates Foundation committed an additional $125 million to the global COVID-19 response. This pushed its total contribution to $300 million towards battling the pandemic. The foundation’s goal is to develop testing, therapies, and vaccines, as well as to promote equal access to these resources…” (Cullen, 7/20).

The Guardian (Nigeria): Gates tasks policymakers on protection of women, girls in fight against COVID-19
“In a paper titled ‘The Pandemic’s Toll on Women and Girls,’ Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates, has tasked global leaders and policymakers on the protection of women and girls in the fight against the coronavirus. Gates said that to recover fully from this pandemic, leaders must respond to the ways that it is affecting men and women differently…” (Adepetun, 7/17).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: INTERVIEW — Look to women to drive global economic recovery from pandemic — Melinda Gates
“Efforts to help the world economy recover from the coronavirus crisis must give a lead role to women, even as the pandemic deals an especially sharp blow to their jobs and finances, philanthropist Melinda Gates said. Recovery policies and strategies that focus on women — and do not minimize or overlook them — will prove the most successful, the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said in an interview this week. … Gates spoke following the publication this week of an opinion piece she wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine, in which she outlined policy proposals focused on women…” (Wulfhorst, 7/17).

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UNAIDS Taking Comprehensive Approach To Developing New Strategy; POZ Highlights Studies On HIV In Children, Criminalization Of Gay Sex In Africa Presented At AIDS 2020

Devex: Future HIV/AIDS response: ‘Some things we will need to do differently’
“Approaches to tackling persistent barriers preventing women and girls, and other key populations from exercising their rights and accessing critical services will need to change. UNAIDS is engaging a wide range of stakeholders, including civil society organizations and members of other United Nations agencies, in online consultations for its future strategy. Interventions such as those pertaining to harm reduction and the provision of comprehensive sexuality education for young women and men must remain in its next strategy, UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima told Devex…” (Ravelo, 7/20).

POZ: Global Efforts to Address HIV in Children Are Falling Short
“The global push to prevent and treat HIV among infants and children is set to fail to meet the ambitious targets for 2020 that the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) established in 2016. Recent gains on these fronts among adults have outpaced those seen among their younger counterparts. UNAIDS presented these sobering findings at the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020), which was held virtually [July 6-10]…” (Ryan, 7/17).

POZ: Criminalization of Gay Sex in Africa Tied to Much Higher HIV Rates
“There is a strong association between the criminalization of sex between men in African nations and higher rates of HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM), aidsmap reports. MSM living in nations with legal barriers that hamper HIV advocacy and service organizations providing services to this population also have higher rates of infection, according to a study presented at the International AIDS Conference…” (Ryan, 7/19).

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Ebola Cases Increase In Latest DRC Outbreak; WHO Reports COVID-19, Funding Shortfalls Impacting Control Efforts

AFP: Ebola cases rise in new DR Congo outbreak
“The Ebola outbreak in the DR Congo’s northwest is growing, according to health officials, sounding the alarm weeks after the country officially declared an end to a separate Ebola epidemic which claimed over 2,000 lives. There have been 54 confirmed cases since June 1 in Mbandaka, a transport hub in Equateur province, including 22 deaths, according to figures released by the country’s health ministry on Friday. There were four additional suspected cases…” (Kannah/Tounsi, 7/18).

VOA News: COVID-19 and Funding Shortfall Hamper Ebola Operation in DR Congo’s Equateur Province
“The World Health Organization reports the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of money are hampering efforts to bring a speedy end to the Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Equateur Province. … Shortly after Ebola was detected in the DRC, [WHO officials] expressed confidence they would be able to quickly control the spread of the deadly virus. They noted many lessons had been learned from previous outbreaks. They said the availability of a vaccine and therapeutics could help them prevent the onset of the disease and treat those who fell ill…” (Schlein, 7/18).

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More News In Global Health

DW: Polio eradication in Africa points to challenges ahead (Abbany, 7/20).

Devex: Sexual abuse in aid sector still ‘widespread’ (Worley, 7/17).

The Guardian: Women’s health organization accused of ‘institutional racism and bullying’ (Ford, 7/20).

Homeland Preparedness News: IDSA, infectious disease groups, oppose Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from WHO (Kovaleski, 7/17).

The Telegraph: Benefits of childhood vaccines outweigh risk of Covid-19 transmission, study finds (Kelly-Linden, 7/17).

Xinhua: Philippines resumes mass polio immunization campaign (7/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinions Address U.S. Global Health Response, Including COVID-19-Related Actions, WHO Withdrawal, Anti-Prostitution Pledge

Bloomberg: Undermining the CDC Puts Lives at Risk
Michael R. Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, and mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013 (7/19).

IPS: Relevance of U.S. Peace Corps in Post-COVID World
Kul Chandra Gautam, former deputy executive director of UNICEF (7/20).

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Editorial: Congress must stand against Trump’s plan to leave World Health Organization
Editorial Board

Wall Street Journal: Behind the HHS — CDC Disagreement
Scott Gottlieb, former administrator of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (7/19).

Washington Blade: Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath undermines HIV fight
Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) (7/17).

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Opinion Pieces Address Issues Related To COVID-19, Global Poverty, U.N. Role

Devex: More equitable health systems? Empower frontline health workers
Joanne Peter, director of social innovation within Johnson & Johnson’s Global Community Impact team, and Ben Davies is the global leader of the Johnson & Johnson Center for Health Worker Innovation (7/20).

Devex: What do nurses need now?
Barbara Stilwell, executive director of Nursing Now, and Kathryn Irwin, program director of communications and events with Nursing Now (7/20).

Devex: 5 ways to meet the needs of people with disabilities during pandemics
Ifeanyi Nsofor, CEO of EpiAFRIC and director of policy and advocacy at Nigeria Health Watch, and Shubha Nagesh, director of follow-up programs with the Latika Roy Foundation in Dehradun, India, both senior Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity at George Washington University (7/20).

Forbes Africa: The United Nations At 75 Remains The World’s Moral Compass
Siddharth Chatterjee, United Nations resident coordinator to Kenya (7/19).

IPS: World Poverty: We Have Come So Far… But so Much Further To Go
Ann McLaughlin, founder and director of NGOabroad, and transformation coach and consultant (7/17).

New York Times: How to Identify Flawed Research Before It Becomes Dangerous
Michael B. Eisen, computational biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and Robert Tibshirani, statistician at Stanford University (7/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Speech, Release, Commentary Address SDGs, Malnutrition Amid COVID-19

U.K. Government: Achieving the SDGs amidst COVID-19 (7/17).

UNICEF: West and Central Africa: More than 15 million cases of acute malnutrition expected in 2020 (7/17).

Chicago Council on Global Affairs: Guest Commentary — How Animal Agriculture can Fill the Hunger Gap that COVID-19 is Fast Widening
Richard Raymond, former undersecretary for food safety at the United States Department of Agriculture (7/17).

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From KFF

KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of July 20, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (7/20).

Additional KFF COVID-19 resources on the global situation, as well as those focused on the response and impact within the U.S., are available here. KFF’s blog series “Coronavirus Policy Watch” is available here.

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