KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Beijing Promotes WHO Investigation Into Source Of Novel Coronavirus As Evidence Of Transparency, Responsibility

New York Times: China Uses WHO Inquiry to Tout Coronavirus Response
“Chinese officials are hailing a visit by a team of experts sent to Beijing by the World Health Organization to investigate the source of the coronavirus as evidence that the country is a responsible and transparent global power. But the investigation by the WHO is likely to take many months and could face delays. For starters, there are logistical headaches. China has placed the advance team of experts who are laying the groundwork for a broader investigation under a standard 14-day quarantine, forcing them to do some of their detective work from a distance. … The WHO’s investigation comes as China faces intense global backlash, including from the United States, for initially downplaying and failing to contain the virus, which emerged in December in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. … Now, officials are trumpeting Beijing’s response to the outbreak as a model for the world and attacking the United States for ‘shirking its responsibilities’ in the global fight against Covid-19…” (Hernández/Qin, 7/21).

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Scientific Consensus Forming Over Effectiveness Of Mask Use To Prevent Novel Coronavirus Spread; More Countries Making Masks Mandatory

CNN: Masks are not a substitute for other public health measures, WHO official says
“The World Health Organization supports the use of masks as part of a comprehensive strategy for COVID-19, but they cannot be used as a substitute for other public health measures, said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19…” (Thomas, 7/21).

Washington Post: Unlike the United States, more and more countries are making masks mandatory
“As countries around the world reopen their economies amid ongoing novel coronavirus outbreaks, governments are increasingly embracing what remains in some places a divisive public health measure: mandatory masks. … A country’s caseload and mortality rate are the product of diverse epidemiological factors, but health researchers say more evidence is emerging to support what some policymakers and experts have maintained all along: Masks work. Although it is difficult to isolate mask use as the key factor in a country’s success so far, or draw a direct line between mask mandates and outcomes, many countries where masks were in wide, early use have fared better than those that resisted the broad adoption of face coverings…” (O’Grady, 7/20).

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3 Teams Developing Coronavirus Vaccines Report Promising Results From Phase II Studies

New York Times: Three Coronavirus Vaccine Developers Report Promising Initial Results
“The race for a vaccine against the coronavirus intensified on Monday as three competing laboratories released promising results from early trials in humans. Now comes the hard part: proving that any of the vaccines protects against the virus, and establishing how much immunity they provide — and for how long. … Two of the vaccine developers — the first, a partnership between Oxford University and the British-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca; the second, the Chinese company CanSino Biologics — published their early results as peer-reviewed studies in The Lancet, a British medical journal. A joint venture between the drug giant Pfizer and the German company BioNTech shared results online before peer review, and invited comparisons to the biotech company Moderna, which uses a similar technology and released early results last week. All the developers that released results on Monday said their vaccines had produced strong immune responses with only minor side effects…” (Kirkpatrick, 7/20).

Additional coverage of the vaccine trials’ results is available from AP, Axios, Bloomberg, CNBC, The Guardian, POLITICO, Reuters (2), STAT, TIME, USA TODAY, VOA News, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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News Outlets Report On Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Vaccine, Treatment Research

Nature: Coronavirus vaccines get a biotech boost (Dance, 7/21).

New York Times: Coronavirus Drug and Treatment Tracker (Corum et al., 7/20).

New York Times: Inside Johnson & Johnson’s Nonstop Hunt for a Coronavirus Vaccine (Zimmer, 7/17).

Science: Controversial ‘human challenge’ trials for COVID-19 vaccines gain support (Cohen, 7/20).

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Inhaled Interferon Beta Increased Likelihood Of Recovery Among Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients, Preliminary Findings Show

Financial Times: Immunosuppressant drug shows promise for Covid-19 patients
“An initial trial showing that an immunosuppressant drug can significantly increase the likelihood of recovery among patients hospitalized by Covid-19 sent the share price of biotech company Synairgen soaring on Monday. In a study involving 101 patients from nine U.K. hospitals, those who were given interferon beta — which is commonly used to treat multiple sclerosis and thyroid dysfunction — were more than twice as likely to recover and were 79 percent less likely to develop a more severe version of the disease. Their breathlessness was also ‘markedly reduced,’ the company said…” (Gross/Mancini, 7/20).

Additional coverage of the study is available from BBC, CBC, New York Times, and UPI.

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Government Denial Of Pandemic Complicates Response In Tanzania; Hong Kong, India Face Increasing Cases As Pakistan Sees Decline; How Europe Holding Off 2nd Wave; Uruguay Avoids Worst Of Pandemic; Trump To Resume White House COVID-19 Briefings

AFRICA

Al Jazeera: WHO sounds alarm at spread of coronavirus in Africa (7/20).

AP: Watchdog: Virus stalks Egypt’s prisons amid news blackout (7/21).

Devex: Muddled messaging around COVID-19 complicates response in Tanzania (Jerving/Saldinger, 7/21).

ASIA

The Hill: India sees largest daily coronavirus increase with more than 40,000 new cases (Bowden, 7/20).

New York Times: Once a Model City, Hong Kong Grapples With a New Coronavirus Wave (Hernández/May, 7/20).

Reuters: COVID-19 shows a downward trend in Pakistan — government official (Shahzad, 7/20).

Xinhua: Indonesia steps up battle against tuberculosis amid COVID-19 pandemic (7/21).

EUROPE

AP: Contact tracing falters in Barcelona amid virus spike (Wilson, 7/21).

The Atlantic: The Coronavirus Exposed the West’s Weakest Link (Donadio, 7/21).

New Yorker: How Munich Turned Its Coronavirus Outbreak Into a Scientific Study (Zerofsky, 7/19).

Wall Street Journal: How Europe Kept Coronavirus Cases Low Even After Reopening (Stancati et al., 7/20).

LATIN AMERICA

Foreign Policy: The Brutality of Brazil’s Pandemic Call Centers (Langlois, 7/20).

New York Times: Nicaragua’s Ruling Sandinistas Fall Victim to Covid-19, Highlighting the Disease’s Spread (Robles/Bermúdez, 7/18).

Reuters: Two more Brazil ministers test positive for coronavirus (Paraguassu/Stargardter, 7/20).

Washington Post: How tiny Uruguay, wedged between Brazil and Argentina, has avoided the worst of the coronavirus (Simon, 7/21).

MIDDLE EAST

PRI: Documenting ISIS’ crimes is daunting. Coronavirus makes it even harder (Jaafari, 7/20).

NORTH AMERICA

New York Times: After Dismissing Coronavirus Surge, Trump Wants to Talk About the Virus Again (Baker/Haberman, 7/20).

USA TODAY: Trump pushes mask wearing, says he’ll resume White House coronavirus briefings amid spike in cases (Fritze/Subramanian, 7/20).

Washington Post: Trump to bring back coronavirus briefings in attempt to revive reelection campaign (Olorunnipa/Dawsey, 7/20).

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E.U. Leaders Agree To $2.1T Budget, Pandemic Recovery Fund; Main Science Research Program Receives Less Than Expected

AP: E.U. agrees on $2.1 trillion deal after marathon summit
“After four days and nights of wrangling, exhausted European Union leaders finally clinched a deal on an unprecedented 1.8 trillion-euro ($2.1 trillion) budget and coronavirus recovery fund early Tuesday, after one of their longest summits ever. The 27 leaders grudgingly committed to a costly, massive aid package for those hit hardest by COVID-19, which has already killed 135,000 people within the bloc alone. … To confront the biggest recession in its history, the E.U. will establish a 750 billion-euro coronavirus fund, partly based on common borrowing, to be sent as loans and grants to the hardest-hit countries. That is in addition to the agreement on the seven-year, 1 trillion-euro E.U. budget that leaders had been haggling over for months even before the pandemic…” (Casert, 7/21).

Science: E.U. leaders slash science spending in €1.8 trillion deal
“Following a marathon E.U. summit in Brussels, national leaders this morning agreed to a €1.8 trillion seven-year budget and pandemic recovery fund that will spend €81 billion on Horizon Europe, the main E.U. research program. That’s far less than what researchers had hoped for — and €13.5 billion less than a proposal two months ago from the European Commission, the E.U. executive arm…” (Wallace, 7/21).

Additional coverage of the E.U. budget and pandemic recovery fund is available from New York Times, NPR, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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WHO Expresses Concern Over Spread Of Novel Coronavirus Among Indigenous Populations In Americas

U.N. News: WHO concerned about COVID-19 impact on indigenous people in the Americas
“With the Americas still the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on the region’s indigenous people is of deep concern, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday. More than 70,000 cases and over 2,000 deaths were reported among this population as of 6 July, according to the U.N. agency…” (7/20).

Additional coverage of the WHO’s concerns is available from The Hill and VOA News.

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Religious Leaders Caution Against Pompeo's Prioritization Of Religious Freedom As Human Right In U.S. Foreign Policy

The Hill: Religious leaders warn against Pompeo’s push for religious freedom as priority human right
“More than 30 faith leaders on Monday issued a warning against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s new push to put property rights and religious freedom at the forefront of American diplomacy. In a statement, faith leaders across denominations warned that Pompeo’s push for a hierarchy of rights with religious freedom at the top ‘will weaken religious freedom itself and undermine respect for and damage the protections of the universal values of human dignity’…” (Kelly, 7/20).

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Number Of Confirmed, Suspected Ebola Cases Rises To 60 In Western DRC Outbreak; WHO Warns Funerals Pose Risk Of Spread

Al Jazeera: Western DRC Ebola cases up to 60 as WHO warns of funeral risks
“Ebola cases in western Democratic Republic of the Congo have risen to 60 with funerals a particular concern for the spread of the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday. WHO emergencies expert Mike Ryan said another three cases were detected at the weekend, making a total of 56 confirmed and four probable infections in an outbreak announced last month in DRC’s Equateur province…” (7/20).

Additional coverage of the Ebola outbreak is available from Reuters.

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More News In Global Health

AP: First COVID-19, now mosquitoes: Bracing for bug-borne ills (Marcelo, 7/20).

Cancer Health: Cancer and HIV Groups Urge Trump Not to Remove U.S. From the WHO (Straube, 7/20).

Devex: U.N. forum offers ‘sobering’ vision of SDGs progress and new virtual reality (Lieberman, 7/21).

Scientific American: Genes May Influence COVID-19 Risk, New Studies Hint (Willingham, 7/21).

U.N. News: New social contract needed to combat ‘inequality pandemic’: Guterres (7/20).

Wall Street Journal: How Deadly Is Covid-19? Researchers Are Getting Closer to an Answer (Abbott/Douglas, 7/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Address U.S. Global Health Priorities, COVID-19 Response, Vaccine Development, Other Issues Related To Coronavirus Pandemic

American Interest: Five Global Health Priorities for the Next President
Mark Lagon, chief policy officer at Friends of the Global Fight for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and senior fellow at the Trinity Forum (7/20).

CNN: Russia, the U.S. and the Covid-19 vaccine free-for-all
Kent Sepkowitz, CNN medical analyst and physician and infection control expert at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York (7/19).

The Conversation: How COVID-19 threatens efforts to contain HIV/AIDS in South Africa
Nesri Padayatchi, deputy director, and Kogie Naidoo, head of treatment research in HIV and TB, both at the Centre for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) (7/20).

Devex: Opinion: Vaccine trials start and end with the community
Githinji Gitahi, global CEO of Amref Health Africa, and colleagues (7/21).

Financial Times: The worst of Covid-19 may still be to come
Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust (7/21).

The Hill: Making vulnerable children a priority in the pandemic response
Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee and a member of the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee, and Chris Coons (D-Del.), member of the Foreign Relations Committee and the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee (7/20).

The Hill: How to get a COVID-19 vaccine faster
Raymond J. March, research fellow and director of FDAReview.org at the Independent Institute and assistant professor of agribusiness and applied economics and faculty fellow in the Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise at North Dakota State University (7/20).

New Humanitarian: As aid money dries up, Yemenis are at ‘the end of the line’
Salem Jaffer Baobaid, Hodeidah project coordinator for Islamic Relief (7/20).

Salon: Donald Trump’s virus-whisperer: The tragic downfall of Dr. Deborah Birx
Heather Digby Parton, contributing writer to Salon (7/20).

Washington Post: Covid-19 is pushing doctors to the brink. Medicine needs to recognize they’re human and need help
Esther Choo, emergency physician and a professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health & Science University (7/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Resources Address Poverty, Inequality, SDGs Amid COVID-19, WHO's Geopolitical Importance, Coronavirus Testing In South Africa

Center for Global Development: After COVID-19: How to Pull Off the SDG Hat-Trick?
Christopher Hoy, research and policy fellow in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, and Andy Sumner, non-resident fellow at CGD and professor of international development at King’s College London (7/20).

Center for Global Development: Growth with Adjectives: Global Poverty and Inequality after the Pandemic
Christopher Hoy, research and policy fellow in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, and Andy Sumner, non-resident fellow at CGD and professor of international development at King’s College London (7/20).

Geopolitical Futures: The Geopolitical Importance of the WHO
Alex Berezow, analyst with Geopolitical Futures and vice president of scientific communications at the American Council on Science and Health (7/17).

WHO: South African hospital thinks outside the box to boost COVID-19 testing (7/20).

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From the U.S. Government

White House Releases Readout Of VP's Discussion With Governors, Coronavirus Task Force About COVID-19 Response, Recovery

White House: Readout from the Vice President’s Governors Briefing on COVID-19 Response & Best Practices
This readout summarizes Vice President Mike Pence’s discussion with U.S. governors and the White House Coronavirus Task Force about COVID-19 response and recovery plans at the local, state, and federal levels (7/20).

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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 21, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (7/21).

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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