KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO DG Warns No Going Back To 'Old Normal,' Says Coronavirus Surge Driven By 10 Countries; AP Examines Use Of Face Masks Globally

AP: The global march of face masks: A mirror on humanity
“…Not since humans invented shoes or underwear has a single item of dress caught on so widely and quickly from Melbourne to Mexico City, Beijing to Bordeaux, spanning borders, cultures, generations, and sexes with almost the same Earth-shaking speed as the coronavirus that has killed more than 600,000 and infected more than 15 million. … But rarely, also maybe never, has anything else worn by humans sparked such furious discord and politicking, most notably in the United States. … As such, like other human habits, the mask has become a mirror on humanity…” (Leicester, 7/24).

CIDRAP News: Just a few nations driving much of world’s COVID-19 surge
“The global surge in COVID-19 cases is mainly driven by intense transmission in a relatively few countries, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said [Thursday], with South Africa now among the five hardest-hit countries. … At a media briefing [Thursday], WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said two thirds of the world’s cases have been reported from just 10 countries … He repeated that political leadership and community engagement are the two key response pillars…” (Schnirring, 7/23).

CNBC: WHO warns there’s no going back to ‘old normal’ as coronavirus accelerates in three countries
“The World Health Organization warned Thursday there is no going back to the ‘old normal’ as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates in the United States and poorer, developing countries. Half of all Covid-19 cases reported so far are from the United States, Brazil, and India, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a news conference from the agency’s Geneva headquarters. ‘It’s completely understandable that people want to get on with their lives, but we will not be going back to the old normal’…” (Lovelace/Feuer, 7/23).

U.N. News: COVID-19: No return to ‘old normal,’ says U.N. health chief, as cases top 15 million
“COVID-19 cases worldwide have surpassed 15 million, and nearly 620,000 deaths. … ‘We must remember that most people are still susceptible to this virus. As long as it’s circulating, everyone is at risk,’ said Tedros, adding, ‘just because cases might be at a low level where you live, that doesn’t make it safe to let down your guard.’ Tedros underlined that anyone, regardless of age or where they live, can help lead efforts to beat the pandemic and build back better…” (7/23).

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WHO DG Tedros Rejects Pompeo's Accusations Of Chinese Influence On Health Agency, Warns Of Politicization Of Pandemic

POLITICO: WHO boss rejects U.S. accusations that health body was ‘bought’ by China
“World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday rejected accusations from the U.S. that the public health body has been ‘bought’ by the Chinese government, saying such claims were ‘untrue and unacceptable.’ ‘The focus of the entire organization is on saving lives,’ Tedros said, adding that the ‘WHO will not be distracted by these comments and we don’t want the international community to be distracted.’ U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the accusations at a private event in London on Tuesday, claiming the allegations were based ‘on a firm intelligence foundation.’ Pompeo also alleged that Chinese influence over the WHO had led to more ‘dead Britons.’ Tedros said Pompeo’s claims were ‘without any foundation’ and added that ‘the politicization of the pandemic’ had become a major threat. ‘Covid politics should be quarantined,’ he said…” (Furlong, 7/23).

Additional coverage of Tedros’s and other WHO officials’ remarks is available from AP, CNBC, The Hill, and VOA News.

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U.N. Agencies, O'Neill Institute Establish COVID-19 Law Lab To Gather, Track Laws Related To Pandemic

Devex: Policing in a pandemic: Law matters in the COVID-19 response
“…The legal enforcement of coronavirus restrictions serves as a reminder of how the law can help or hinder the public health response. The misuse of criminal law can damage trust in government services, creating disastrous results for public health, experts told Devex. So how can countries facing a public health crisis enforce the law while also protecting the well-being of their citizens and adhering to international human rights standards? A new initiative aims to collect legal documents from the coronavirus response to learn from the laws that were implemented and ensure more effective ones going forward. On Wednesday, a range of partners — including the United Nations Development Programme, World Health Organization, UNAIDS, and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University — launched the COVID-19 Law Lab…” (Cheney, 7/23).

VOA News: WHO Establishes COVID-19 Law Lab With Georgetown University
“…At the WHO COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the law lab database consists of the laws that countries have implemented in response to the pandemic, including state of emergency declarations, quarantine measures, disease surveillance, mask guidelines, physical distancing, and access to medications and vaccines. He said the law lab will also contain research on legal frameworks for COVID-19 and analysis on the impact of public health laws. The database is designed to provide nations with guidelines for best practices when crafting legal responses to the pandemic…” (7/23).

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Media Outlets Examine Efforts To Develop Coronavirus Vaccine, Distribution Challenges, Herd Immunity

Financial Times: Rich country vaccine rush threatens supply security (7/23).

Financial Times: U.K. to launch its biggest flu vaccination program (Neville/Gross, 7/23).

Homeland Preparedness News: CEPI’s call for COVID-19 vaccine proposals seeks doses capable of 12-18 month turnaround (Galford, 7/23).

New York Times: Who Gets the Covid-19 Vaccine First? Here’s One Idea (Kolata, 7/23).

NPR: Without A Vaccine, Researchers Say, Herd Immunity May Never Be Achieved (Brumfiel, 7/24).

PBS NewsHour: What we know about the search for a COVID-19 vaccine — and what we don’t (O’Brien, 7/22).

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U.N. Women Director Warns Of Increase In Violence Against Women During COVID-19 Lockdowns

CNBC: U.N. director warns of a ‘shadow pandemic’ of violence against women during lockdowns
“The executive director of U.N. Women told CNBC that the Covid-19 crisis has significantly ‘set women back’ through challenges including job losses and creating a worrying ‘shadow pandemic’ of violence. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who heads up the unit dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women as well as being under-secretary-general of the United Nations, said that every pandemic has a gender dimension and many women are facing a much harder time because of the impact of the global response to the virus…” (Bryer, 7/24).

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More Than 10K African Health Workers Infected With Coronavirus; Thailand To Test Vaccine; COVID-19 Cases Rise Among Young People In Spain; Cases Surge In Colombia, Brazil; U.S. Cases Pass 4M

AFRICA

AP: South Africa’s excess deaths surge as virus like ‘wildfire’ (Anna et al., 7/23).

Bloomberg: More Than 10,000 African Health Workers Have Covid-19, WHO Says (Alake, 7/23).

PRI: Mass arrests in Zimbabwe over coronavirus regulation violations (Martirosyan, 7/21).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Armed with social media, Zimbabwean youth fight coronavirus ‘infodemic’ (Harrisberg/Ndhlovu, 7/23).

VOA News: Young Nigerians Take on Coronavirus Through Innovation (Obiezu, 7/23).

VOA News: U.N. Agencies Push to Reopen South Sudan Schools (Aurelio, 7/23).

Xinhua News: U.N. says 5.2 mln Somalis in need of humanitarian aid due to floods, COVID-19 (7/23).

ASIA

Pulitzer Center: Pandemic Fear Grips Nepal’s Remote Villages (Choden, 7/23).

VOA News: Thailand Readies Human Trials of Homegrown Coronavirus Vaccine (Peter, 7/23).

Wall Street Journal: Covid-19 Attacks India’s Vast Rural Heartland (Agarwal, 7/23).

Washington Post: The Tokyo Olympics were supposed to open Friday. Instead, the city is facing a spike in coronavirus cases (Berger, 7/23).

EUROPE

New York Times: Spain’s Reopening Stumbles as Virus Cases Rise Among Young People (Minder, 7/23).

Reuters: Romania coronavirus cases hit new record daily high (Ilie, 7/23).

LATIN AMERICA & CARIBBEAN

AP: Pandemic Tough On Argentina’s Already Overworked Care Givers (Rey, 7/23).

Financial Times: Pandemic deepens divide over Cuba’s international medical squads (Frank et al., 7/24).

The Lancet: COVID-19 cases surge in Colombia (Daniels, 7/25).

New York Times: With Officials’ Backing, Dubious Virus Remedies Surge in Latin America (Trigo et al., 7/23).

Washington Post: Brazil reports record infections as coronavirus spreads to all regions (McCoy, 7/23).

MIDDLE EAST

ABC News (Australia): Coronavirus update: U.N. expects 14 million people in Arab nations will be forced into poverty, 15 million cases recorded worldwide (7/23).

NORTH AMERICA

CBS News: New CDC guidelines emphasize schools reopening in the fall (Cohen, 7/24).

New York Times: How the U.S. Compares With the World’s Worst Coronavirus Hot Spots (Leatherby, 7/24).

New York Times: The Rise in Testing Is Not Driving the Rise in U.S. Virus Cases (Conlen, 7/22).

STAT: The FDA got a lot more flexible during Covid — and pharma’s already pushing to make it permanent (Florko, 7/23).

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Coronavirus Cases Surpass Four Million (Kamp et al., 7/23).

Washington Post: U.S. passes 4 million coronavirus cases as pace of new infections roughly doubles (Gearan et al., 7/23).

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Unintended Pregnancies Fall Worldwide But Half End In Abortion; No Evidence Legal Restrictions Prevent Abortion, Study Shows

The Guardian: Covid-19 threatens access to abortions and contraceptives, experts warn
“Rates of unplanned pregnancies have fallen around the world, according to new data published by health research organization the Guttmacher Institute and the U.N. Human Reproduction Programme (HRP) on Wednesday. Global rates of unintended pregnancies have fallen from 79 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 49 in 1990 to 64 in 2019, thanks in part to a concerted effort to increase access to contraceptives, but there are concerns that decades of progress in reducing the numbers risk being undone by Covid-19, as lockdown restrictions hamper health services…” (Ford, 7/23).

SciDev.Net: Abortion rates highest where legally restricted: study
“Abortion rates are highest in countries that legally restrict access to terminations, but lowest in high-income countries where abortion and contraception are accessible, a new study has found. Women in the world’s poorest regions are three times more likely to experience an unplanned pregnancy than women in the global North. Abortion rates are also highest in middle- and low-income countries, the research found. The number of unintended pregnancies has dropped globally over the past 30 years, but the proportion of abortions has increased — though there has been a slight decline in countries where abortion is broadly legal…” (Broom, 7/23).

The Telegraph: ‘No evidence’ that legal restrictions prevent women seeking abortions, major study finds
“…According to research published on Wednesday in the Lancet Global Health journal, the abortion rate increased by an average of 12 percent between 1990 and 2019 in 107 nations with restrictive laws. But in countries where the procedure is broadly legal, the abortion rate dropped by eight percent. If China and India are excluded from this average — they are home to 62 percent of women who are aged between 15 and 49 and so skew the figure — abortion rates in countries without restrictive laws dropped by 43 percent between 1990 and 2019…” (Newey, 7/22).

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U.S. House Democrats Question USAID Acting Administrator Over Political Appointees, Proposed Budget In Light Of Pandemic

CNN: House Democrats press USAID director over ‘homophobic, misogynistic, and xenophobic’ comments from appointees
“…Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs committee pressed John Barsa, the acting administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, during a budget request hearing on why political appointees [with histories of inflammatory rhetoric targeted at refugees, the LGBTQ community, and women] continue to work for an agency whose core mission is to promote pro-women, pro-LGBTQ, and pro-immigrants foreign aid. The questioning came after the committee’s chairman Eliot Engel and other committee Democrats sent a letter on Wednesday night to Barsa … to demand the resignation of deputy White House liaison Merritt Corrigan…” (Steck/Kaczynski, 7/23).

Devex: Lawmakers question USAID chief about ‘troubling’ management decisions
“…In response to concerns about Corrigan and other recent controversial appointees, Barsa repeatedly offered a prepared statement affirming that ‘all USAID employees, regardless of hiring category, are held to the same high moral, legal, and ethical standards that USAID has always had in place.’ The budget proposed by President Donald Trump included a cut of more than 20% to U.S. foreign aid compared to what Congress approved for 2020, but Barsa noted that proposal was created before the coronavirus emerged as the unprecedented global health and development threat facing the world today. Barsa could not commit to providing lawmakers with an updated budget proposal reflecting increased need due to the pandemic, nor could he say how much funding USAID might require from a supplemental spending package, citing discussions taking place between the White House and the Office of Management and Budget. Barsa did note that he has created a new task force inside USAID known as ‘Over the Horizon’ to examine what kinds of support USAID’s partner countries might require in light of the pandemic…” (Igoe, 7/24).

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U.K. Government Outlines Aid Cuts; Foreign Affairs Committee Warns New FCDO Could Operate Without Strategic Direction As Trevelyan Expresses Confidence In Raab

Devex: Inside the U.K. aid cut
“On Thursday, the U.K. government quietly released a letter describing the extent of the cuts the aid sector knew were coming. ‘We have identified a £2.9bn [$3.7 billion] package of reductions in the Government’s planned ODA spend so we can proceed prudently for the remainder of 2020,’ wrote Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is set to lead the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office when it opens in September…” (Worley, 7/24).

Devex: FCDO ‘risks operating for months without clear strategic direction’
“The United Kingdom’s new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office ‘risks operating for months without clear strategic direction,’ according to politicians specializing in foreign policy. There is also the possibility of ‘conflict’ between some strategic objectives of the Department for International Development and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, which will merge and begin work as the FCDO in September. The findings were published in a report by the Foreign Affairs Committee…” (Worley, 7/23).

The Guardian: U.K. reputation after DfID merger in ‘safe hands’ under Raab, says Trevelyan
“Britain’s status as a world superpower in development is in ‘safe hands’ under Dominic Raab, according to the international development secretary, as she prepares to leave her post. In an interview with the Guardian, Anne-Marie Trevelyan expressed sadness at leaving the Department for International Development (DfID), whose work is ‘truly impactful’ and ‘doing good,’ she said. But she said she has seen passion and enthusiasm in the foreign secretary towards helping developing countries become stronger…” (McVeigh, 7/24).

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New Study Examines Why Aedes Aegypti Mosquitoes Prefer Human Blood

New York Times: Why Some Mosquitoes Prefer Humans
“…Out of thousands of [mosquito] species, only a few like to bite humans — and even within the same species, mosquitoes from different places can have different preferences. Why do some find us irresistible, while others remain unimpressed? To answer that question, a team of Princeton researchers, working with a large network of local collaborators, spent three years driving around sub-Saharan Africa collecting the eggs of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are responsible for Zika, yellow fever, and dengue…” (Chen, 7/23).

NPR: Why One Dangerous Mosquito Developed A Taste For Human Blood
“A mosquito that transmits dangerous viruses like dengue and Zika seems to have developed a taste for human blood because of the way that people store water — which mosquitoes need for laying eggs — in hot, dry climates. That’s according to a new study in Current Biology that tested the biting preferences of Aedes aegypti populations from 27 locations across sub-Saharan Africa, the ancestral home of this mosquito species…” (Greenfieldboyce, 7/23).

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More News In Global Health

BBC News: Israel: ‘Gay conversion’ therapy ban bill passed by MPs (7/23).

Devex: Exclusive: SDG Center for Africa hit by mismanagement allegations (Edwards, 7/24).

The Hill: New study finds hydroxychloroquine ineffective at treating COVID-19 (Hellmann, 7/23).

The Lancet: Ukrainian health authorities adopt hepatitis C project (Devi, 7/25).

Science: Polio vaccinators are back after pandemic pause (Roberts, 7/24).

U.N. News: New ECOSOC President outlines focus on pandemic, SDGs and climate action (7/23).

Washington Post: Earthquake sensors record unprecedented drop in human activity due to pandemic (Achenbach, 7/23).

Washington Post: The coronavirus is exacerbating a crisis on social media. Human rights activists could pay the price (Noack, 7/23).

WIRED: Climate change is fueling the spread of deadly tropical diseases (Evans, 7/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Address Various Topics Related To COVID-19, Including WHO Role, Post-Pandemic Foreign Policy, Vaccine Access

Forbes Africa: Attacking WHO is Unhelpful — Let’s Focus on Defeating The Virus
Siddharth Chatterjee, U.N. resident coordinator in Kenya (7/23).

Foreign Affairs: A Foreign Policy for the Post-Pandemic World
Michael Fuchs, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress (7/24).

The Guardian: The world needs a ‘people’s vaccine’ for coronavirus, not a big-pharma monopoly
Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, and Winnie Byanyima, executive director of UNAIDS (7/24).

The Hill: Publicly funded vaccines must be priced fairly and available for all
Jonathan Fielding, UCLA professor of health policy and management (7/23).

IPS: Three Steps for Leaders to Tackle Covid and Climate Emergency
David Nabarro, special envoy to the World Health Organization on COVID-19 and strategic director of 4SD (7/24).

The Lancet: COVID-19 and China: lessons and the way forward
Editorial Board (7/25).

The Lancet: Offline: Preparing for a vaccine against COVID-19
Richard Horton, editor in chief of The Lancet (7/25).

Project Syndicate: What If There’s No COVID Vaccine?
William A. Haseltine, infectious disease expert and chair and president of ACCESS Health International (7/24).

Science: COVID-19 affects HIV and tuberculosis care
Quarraisha Abdool Karim, associate scientific director, and Salim Abdool Karim, director, both of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) (7/24).

Washington Post: A coronavirus vaccine can’t come at the expense of fighting the virus now
Robin Wolfe Scheffler, associate professor in the science, technology, and society program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (7/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blogs, Releases Address Various COVID-19 Topics, Including Vaccine Development, Implications For Health Policy Research, Face Mask Use

Center for Global Development: Vaccine Preliminary Results: Here Is Why We Need to Exercise Caution
Anthony McDonnell, senior policy analyst at CGD, and colleagues (7/23).

CIDRAP: Commentary: My views on cloth face coverings for the public for preventing COVID-19
Michael T. Osterholm, director of CIDRAP (7/22).

Think Global Health: Condoms, Cookstoves, Seatbelts, and Face Masks
Luke Shors, global health consultant and co-founder of Tekano (7/21).

Think Global Health: A New Era for Health Policy and Systems Research
Mohammed AlKhaldia, health consultant and scientific collaborator affiliated with the Council on Health Research for Development in Geneva, Switzerland, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, the University of Basel in Switzerland, and Najah National University in Palestine, and colleagues (7/20).

UNICEF: UNICEF and partners respond to the triple threat of floods, locusts and COVID-19 in Somalia (7/23).

WHO Regional Office for Africa: Over 10,000 health workers in Africa infected with COVID-19 (7/23).

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Blogs, Releases Address U.S. DFC's Measurement Tool, Implications Of E.U. Recovery Deal For International Development, Other Global Health Topics

Center for Global Development: Strengthen Your IQ! Rethinking Development Impact with DFC’s New Ex-Ante Measurement Tool
Jocilyn Estes, program coordinator, and Clemence Landers, policy fellow, both with CGD (7/23).

IFRC: South Asia floods: 9.6 million people swamped as humanitarian crisis deepens (7/22).

IHME: Mapping male circumcision for HIV prevention efforts in sub-Saharan Africa
Michael Cork, post-bachelor fellow at IHME, and colleagues (7/22).

ODI: What the E.U. recovery fund means for Europe and international development
Marta Foresti, director of ODI Europe (7/23).

Tuft University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science: Nutrition in Africa’s drylands: a conceptual framework for addressing acute malnutrition
Helen Young, research director and professor with Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science (July 2020).

UNICEF: Number of separated children rising fast as Ebola spreads in Equateur Province of DRC (7/23).

World Economic Forum: The world needs 6 million new nurses by 2030
Douglas Broom, senior writer with Formative Content (7/22).

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From the U.S. Government

Acting USAID Administrator Barsa Endorses GHSA Steering Group Joint Statement

USAID: Acting USAID Administrator John Barsa on the Global Health Security Agenda
In this release, Acting USAID Administrator John Barsa expresses his support of the joint statement from the Steering Group of the Global Health Security Agenda (7/23).

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USAID Applauds U.N. Humanitarian Plan For Venezuela

USAID: The United States Applauds the Release of the United Nations’ 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan for Venezuela
“Last week, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released its 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Venezuela. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) applauds this comprehensive new plan, which lays out the severity of humanitarian needs in Venezuela and outlines what is needed to respond…” (7/23).

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From KFF

KFF, CSIS Virtual Discussion On Outcomes Of AIDS 2020 Conference Available Online

KFF: Online Event: Highlights from the Virtual AIDS 2020 Conference
On Friday, July 24, KFF and the CSIS Global Health Policy Center hosted a public event to discuss the outcomes of the AIDS 2020 Virtual Conference. The discussion covered scientific developments, current HIV/AIDS funding levels, progress towards global targets, and the intersection of HIV and COVID-19. In addition, panelists discussed the conference’s virtual platform. The event featured a panel discussion with Monica Gandhi, AIDS 2020 San Francisco Local Chair and Professor of Medicine and Associate Division Chief of the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco; Shannon Hader, Deputy Executive Director, Programme at UNAIDS; Jennifer Kates, Senior Vice President and Director of Global Health & HIV Policy at KFF; and Greg Millett, Vice President and Director, Public Policy at amfAR. J. Stephen Morrison, Senior Vice President and Director of GHPC at CSIS, moderated (7/24).

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

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of July 24, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (7/24).

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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