KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

International Community Must Ensure Equitable Distribution Of Coronavirus Vaccines, Experts Warn; News Outlets Report On R&D Efforts

The Hill: COVID-19 vaccines must go to rich and poor countries, warns advocate
“The world will not return to normal until a vaccine against the coronavirus is distributed widely and not just to developed nations, one of the leading vaccine experts said in a wide-ranging interview Wednesday. Seth Berkley, who heads the vaccine alliance Gavi, said he was encouraged by the pace of scientific progress toward a vaccine, but that he is concerned that wealthy nations may snap up all the available supply, leaving poorer and developing nations to struggle through the pandemic without the proper aid…” (Wilson, 7/29).

Reuters: ‘Vaccine nationalism’: Is it every country for itself?
“It’s dog eat dog in the world of COVID-19 vaccines. That’s the fear of global health agencies planning a scheme to bulk-buy and equitably distribute vaccines around the world. They are watching with dismay as some wealthier countries have decided to go it alone, striking deals with drugmakers to secure millions of doses of promising candidates for their citizens…” (Kelland/Steenhuysen, 7/29).

Barron’s: Glaxo and Sanofi to Provide Covid-19 Vaccine to the U.K. ‘We Don’t Expect to Profit’ (Nathan-Kazis, 7/29).

Becker’s Hospital Review: Pfizer says developed countries will pay the same price as U.S. for vaccine orders (Adams, 7/29).

Financial Times: GlaxoSmithKline warns of hit to vaccines business (Mancini, 7/29).

The Guardian: Coronavirus: the four potential vaccines bought up by U.K. (Boseley, 7/29).

New York Times: Old Vaccines May Stop the Coronavirus, Study Hints. Scientists Are Skeptical (Rabin, 7/29).

POLITICO: The ultimate geopolitical game — distributing a coronavirus vaccine (Furlong, 7/29).

Reuters: Pfizer says it will charge other developed countries on par with U.S. for vaccine deals (Ermin/Mishra, 7/29).

STAT: ‘A huge experiment’: How the world made so much progress on a Covid-19 vaccine so fast (Joseph, 7/30).

The Telegraph: Russia says it is close to world’s first approval of Covid-19 vaccine (Vasilyeva, 7/29).

Wall Street Journal: Russia Seeks to Register First Covid-19 Vaccine in August (Grove, 7/29).

Washington Post: Who should get a coronavirus vaccine first? (Sun, 7/29).

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WHO Warns Against Waiting For Herd Immunity; U.N. Climate Chief Discusses Pandemic, Climate Change; U.N. Human Rights Committee Clarifies Language On Protests During Public Health Emergencies

CNBC: WHO warns that waiting to achieve herd immunity to the coronavirus will kill a lot of people
“The World Health Organization on Wednesday advised public officials against trying to achieve so-called herd immunity to the coronavirus by allowing it to rapidly spread throughout their communities, saying it will overwhelm hospitals and kill a lot of people…” (Lovelace, 7/29).

PRI: U.N. climate chief on coronavirus and climate change: We must ‘address these two fundamental, existential crises together’
“…Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is tasked with taking the climate crisis threat head-on. As the chief of the U.N.’s climate conferences, she wrangles every country on the planet to make and meet ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions. Speaking with The World’s host Marco Werman from her home in Bonn, Germany, Espinosa asserts that the climate crisis is ‘the biggest threat to humanity now and into the future,’ and adds that ‘the climate crisis was there before COVID-19 started’ and has not ‘taken a break because of COVID-19’…” (Kusmer, 7/29).

Washington Times: U.N. rules that countries may place restrictions on protests during a public health emergency
“The United Nations Human Rights Committee ruled Wednesday that governments can restrict protests and demonstrations for public health reasons. The committee sought to specify its longstanding freedom of speech laws after worldwide anti-racism protests that occurred amid the COVID-19 pandemic revealed gaps in the rule’s language…” (Meier, 7/29).

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World Bank's IFC Launching $4B Financing Platform To Support Production, Supply Of Health Care Products In Developing Countries Amid Pandemic

Reuters: World Bank’s IFC launches $4 billion medical supply financing platform
“The World Bank Group’s private sector arm said on Wednesday it was launching a $4 billion financing platform aimed at boosting the production and supply of critical healthcare products in developing countries to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. The International Finance Corp’s initiative is largely aimed at private sector projects to manufacture products such as personal protective equipment, ventilators and other medical equipment, coronavirus test kits, therapeutic drugs, and vaccines. … IFC also is working with the GAVI global vaccine alliance to identify and finance projects capable of boosting COVID-19 vaccine production in developing countries…” (Lawder, 7/29).

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Developing Countries Face 'Difficult Years Ahead' As Pandemic Impacts Development Funding, New Report Says

The Telegraph: ‘Difficult years ahead’ for developing countries as Covid-19 set to trigger a $400bn drop in funding
“Developing countries will have at least $400 billion less to spend on sustainable development, including access to safe water, healthcare, and education, this year and next due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from End Water Poverty and WaterAid. Faced with the dual crises of Covid-19 and climate change, the charities warned that there are ‘difficult years ahead,’ with progress on eradicating extreme poverty and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 set to stall and in many cases reverse unless urgent action is taken…” (Hayes, 7/30).

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Proposed Republican, Democratic COVID-19 Relief Packages Differ On Vaccine Funding; Infectious Disease Experts, Bill Gates React, Call For U.S. Leadership

The Hill: GOP, Democratic relief packages $16B apart on vaccine funding
“Two competing coronavirus relief packages on Capitol Hill underscore differing GOP and Democratic funding priorities for vaccine development and COVID-19 testing. The Senate GOP measure released this week includes roughly $16 billion more for vaccine development than the House-passed HEROES Act, but falls far short of the Democratic proposal for testing and contract tracing funds…” (Bikales, 7/29).

Homeland Preparedness News: Infectious disease experts cite pros, cons of Senate GOP pandemic relief bill
“A proposed COVID-19 appropriations bill released on Monday by U.S. Senate Republicans takes solid steps toward providing urgently needed relief and resources, but it also falls short of necessary responses, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA)…” (Riley, 7/29).

USA TODAY: Bill Gates is quietly advocating for the U.S. to lead the global fight against COVID-19
“…[T]ucked into the latest Republican coronavirus stimulus proposal is $3 billion for coronavirus vaccines for poor countries. ‘That’s the most impactful money ever’ when it comes to bringing the pandemic to an end, Bill Gates told USA TODAY. Since early May, Gates has been quietly advocating for the United States to retake its leadership role in global public health. He said this week’s proposal represents a return to that role — though the commitment falls short of what he believes is needed. ‘The world’s not going to come together on this without the U.S.,’ he said…” (Weise, 7/29).

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U.S., Chinese Experts Urge More Cooperation To End Pandemic, Improve Public Health Policy During Online Seminar

Xinhua: U.S., Chinese experts urge better cooperation on public health policy
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague the globe, experts from the United States and China emphasized at an online seminar Tuesday that cooperation is the silver bullet for battling the global pandemic. During the seminar, co-hosted by the University of Southern California (USC) and the U.S. Heartland China Association, a panel of medical experts and academics discussed the role of public health systems and approaches to more effective public health information, among other issues…” (Pierrepont, 7/29).

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COVID-19 Pandemic Has Disproportionate Social, Economic Impacts On Women, Presents Opportunity To Overhaul Development Funding Structures To Reach More Women

Devex: Fight ‘shadow pandemic’ by overhauling funding strategy, women leaders say
“COVID-19 is weakening social, educational, and health services access for women and girls. But the crisis also provides an opportunity to dismantle traditional development funding structures, and create a more equitable system that reaches more women, especially women of color, according to female development leaders…” (Lieberman, 7/30).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: The indirect impact of COVID-19 on women
“Soon after the emergence of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) last winter, it became apparent that mortality rates were higher for men than for women. This remains the case but it is women who are more likely to bear the brunt of the social and economic consequences of the pandemic. Earlier this year, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres noted that ‘COVID-19 could reverse the limited progress that has been made on gender equality and women’s rights.’ With the pandemic set to stretch into 2021, his words are looking less like a warning than a prediction…” (Burki, August 2020).

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COVID-19, Locust Swarms Worsen Food Security In East Africa; Vietnam Sees Uptick In Cases; Europe Braces For Virus Resurgence; Democracy Threatened In Latin America Amid Pandemic; U.S. Death Toll Passes 150K

AFRICA

Reuters: Gambia VP tests positive for coronavirus, president self-isolating (Saine, 7/29).

Xinhua: Roundup: COVID-19, desert locust exacerbate food insecurity in E. Africa: U.N. (7/29).

ASIA

AP: Asia Today: Masks mandatory as cases rise in Australia state (7/19).

AP: U.N. urges SE Asia to build back better from COVID-19 crisis (Peck, 7/30).

Bloomberg: Pandemic Advice Ignored by Trump Helps Vietnam Fight Virus (Boudreau/Nguyen, 7/29).

New York Times: Mysterious Coronavirus Outbreak Catches Vietnam by Surprise (Beech/Doan, 7/29).

Reuters: Vietnam brings 140 virus-hit workers home on rare rescue flight from Africa (Nguyen/Vu, 7/29).

The Telegraph: ‘We all suffer but the vulnerable suffer more’: treating Covid in the world’s largest refugee camp (Kelly-Linden, 7/29).

U.N. News: Asia-Pacific: ‘Call to action’ highlights role of family farmers amidst COVID-19 pandemic (7/29).

U.N. News: COVID-19: U.N. chief outlines path to sustainable, inclusive recovery in Southeast Asia (7/30).

EUROPE

Financial Times: Self-isolation for Covid-19 symptoms extended to 10 days across U.K. (Hughes/Neville, 7/30).

The Telegraph: Is a second wave beginning to sweep through Europe? (Newey et al., 7/30).

LATIN AMERICA

Al Jazeera: Chile lifts COVID-19 lockdown as Latin America still hardest-hit (Newman, 7/29).

AP: Guatemala burying dozens of unidentified COVID-19 dead (Pérez D., 7/29).

New York Times: Latin America Is Facing a ‘Decline of Democracy’ Under the Pandemic (Kurmanaev, 7/29).

MIDDLE EAST

AP: Pilgrims pray on peak day of hajj in shadow of coronavirus (Batrawy, 7/30).

CIDRAP News: Scaled-back hajj begins as Mideast sees signs of COVID-19 stabilization (Schnirring, 7/29).

PRI: Israel’s hurried school reopenings serve as a cautionary tale (Kauffman, 7/29).

Reuters: In Mecca, a fortunate few pray for a pandemic-free world (Rashad, 7/30).

Reuters: Pakistan’s de facto health minister resigns amid pandemic (Shahzad, 7/29).

NORTH AMERICA

AP: The Latest: U.S. death toll from coronavirus hit 150,000 (7/29).

New York Times: A Viral Epidemic Splintering Into Deadly Pieces (McNeil, 7/29).

New York Times: U.S. Surpasses 150,000 Coronavirus Deaths, Far Eclipsing Projections (Bogel-Burroughs, 7/29).

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One Third Of World's Children Have High Lead Levels, At Risk Of Development Challenges, UNICEF Study Warns

New York Times: One in Three Children Have Unacceptably High Lead Levels, Study Says
“Lead contamination has long been recognized as a health hazard, particularly for the young. But a new study asserts that the extent of the problem is far bigger than previously thought, with one in three children worldwide — about 800 million in all — threatened by unacceptably high lead levels in their blood. The ubiquity of lead — in dust and fumes from smelters and fires, vehicle batteries, old peeling paint, old water pipes, electronics junkyards, and even cosmetics and lead-infused spices — represents an enormous and understated risk to the mental and physical development of a generation of children, according to the study, released late Wednesday…” (Gladstone, 7/29).

U.N. News: Revealed: A third of world’s children poisoned by lead, UNICEF analysis finds
“The report, the first of its kind, says that around 1 in 3 children — up to 800 million globally — have blood lead levels at, or above, 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), the amount at which action is required. Nearly half of these children live in South Asia. ‘With few early symptoms, lead silently wreaks havoc on children’s health and development, with possibly fatal consequences,’ UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore warned. ‘Knowing how widespread lead pollution is — and understanding the destruction it causes to individual lives and communities — must inspire urgent action to protect children once and for all’…” (7/30).

Additional coverage of the UNICEF report is available from The Telegraph.

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U.S. House Democrats Introduce Legislation To Repeal Helms Amendment

The Hill: Democrats introduce bill to repeal funding ban on abortions abroad
“Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) introduced legislation Wednesday that would repeal a decades-old policy that prevents U.S. foreign aid programs from providing funding for abortion services. … Schakowsky’s bill, the Abortion Is Health Care Act of 2020, would classify abortion services as a safe component of reproductive health care. The longtime progressive said her legislation is the first bill to attempt removal of the amendment since its inception…” (Birenbaum, 7/29).

Additional coverage of the proposed legislation to repeal the Helms amendment is available from The Guardian and Ms. Magazine.

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More News In Global Health

DW: Have scientists been sidelined in eliminating hepatitis because of the coronavirus pandemic? (7/28).

Devex: ‘Statistics that can and will be used’: Pacific Islands devise new gender data plans (Cornish, 7/30).

Devex: Faith leaders have key role in stopping spread of COVID-19, UNICEF says (Welsh, 7/30).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: New WHO road map for NTD recovery post COVID-19 (Jesudason, 8/1).

NPR: Why The Novel Coronavirus Has The Power To Launch A Pandemic (Huang, 7/29).

Washington Post: Lancet editor Richard Horton has harsh words for Trump, hope for science (Booth, 7/29).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Address Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including School Openings, Lessons From France's Response, Poor Data On Women

The Lancet: The COVID-19 infodemic
Editorial Board (7/17).

New York Times: Opening Schools Won’t Be Easy, but Here’s How to Do It Safely
Ezekiel J. Emanuel, vice provost of global initiatives and professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues (7/29).

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: Developing a low-cost and accessible COVID-19 vaccine for global health
Peter J. Hotez, founding editor in chief of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, and Maria Elena Bottazzi, distinguished professor of biology and associate dean at the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine (7/29).

STAT: Sexist and incomplete data hold back the world’s Covid-19 response
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (7/30).

Washington Post: The U.S. could learn from France’s response to covid-19
Timothy Searchinger, research scholar at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs (7/30).

Washington Post: Covid-19 will provoke a societal immunity that can protect us from the next pandemic
J.R. McNeill, history professor at Georgetown University (7/28).

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Opinions Address IFC's Impact On Poverty In Guinea, Implications Of Abortion Policies

Devex: Opinion: Why is IFC contributing to poverty in Guinea?
David Pred, co-founder and executive director of Inclusive Development International (7/28).

NBC News: Zara Ahmed: Abortion rates don’t drop when the procedure is outlawed. But it does make it more dangerous
Zara Ahmed, associate director of federal issues for the Guttmacher Institute (7/29).

Rewire: U.S. Anti-Abortion Policies Endanger Lives Worldwide. Here’s My Plan to End That
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), U.S. member of Congress (7/29).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts Address Various Topics Related To COVID-19, Including Vaccine Accessibility, Medical Research Funding, Impact On Maternal Health

AEI: The fragile vaccine plan to save the world
James C. Capretta, resident fellow and Milton Friedman chair at AEI (7/29).

BMJ Opinion: Fiona M. Watt: Covid-19 — a new disease has forced a re-think of how we fund medical research
Fiona M. Watt, executive chair at the Medical Research Council (7/29).

ONE: Meet the frontline health workers supporting maternal care during COVID
Sam Vox, visual storyteller at the ONE Campaign (7/29).

UNAIDS: Guyana community organization serves sex workers on the edge during COVID-19 (7/29).

World Economic Forum: 6 months on from declaring ‘a public health emergency,’ WHO says COVID-19’s future is up to us
Charlotte Edmond, senior writer for Formative Content (7/30).

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Blog Post, Releases Address Potential Long-Acting HIV Prevention Option For Women In Sub-Saharan Africa; Lead Poisoning In Children Globally; Intersection Of Climate Change, Environmental, Reproductive Health

UNAIDS: UNAIDS is hopeful that a new long-acting HIV prevention option will soon become available for women in sub-Saharan Africa (7/28).

UNICEF: A third of the world’s children poisoned by lead, new groundbreaking analysis says (7/29).

Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: At the Intersection of Climate Change and Environmental and Reproductive Justice
Amanda King, program assistant for the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program and Maternal Health Initiative (7/29).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Department Of State Updates Fact Sheet Outlining Efforts To Respond To Global COVID-19 Pandemic

U.S. Department of State: Update: The United State Continues to Lead the Global Response to COVID-19
This fact sheet provides an update on U.S. efforts to respond to COVID-19 globally, noting, “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the U.S. Government has announced more than $1.5 billion in State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) emergency health, humanitarian, economic, and development assistance specifically aimed at helping governments, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) fight the pandemic…” (7/29).

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Vice President Pence Provides Remarks At Roundtable On Phase III Coronavirus Vaccine Clinical Trials

White House: Remarks by Vice President Pence in a Roundtable on Phase III Coronavirus Vaccine Trials | Durham, N.C.
During remarks at a roundtable on phase three coronavirus vaccine clinical trials, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence discussed Operation Warp Speed and progress to develop a COVID-19 vaccine (7/29).

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From KFF

New KFF Brief Reviews Data On Coronavirus Transmission Among Children; Other Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic Available

KFF: What Do We Know About Children and Coronavirus Transmission?
As schools prepare for fall, this brief examines what’s known about children and COVID-19, including the risk the virus poses to children and the risk of children becoming infected and transmitting to others, and the experiences of other countries that reopened classrooms (Michaud/Kates, 7/29).

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of July 30, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (7/30).

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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