KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report
In The News
- Countries Reopen As COVID-19 Cases Surge Worldwide; Rising Political Tensions, Economic Impacts Set To Worsen, Reports Warn
New York Times: As Virus Infections Surge, Countries End Lockdowns
“…[R]eady or not, much of India’s coronavirus lockdown has ended, as have those in other countries struggling to balance economic damage with coronavirus risk. In many places — India, Mexico, Russia, Iran, and Pakistan, among others — leaders have come to feel they have no choice but to take the surge of cases on the chin and prioritize the economy. Some of these leaders, especially those in the developing world, said they couldn’t sustain the punishing lockdowns without risking economic catastrophe, especially for their poorest citizens. So the thinking has shifted, from commanding people to stay indoors and avoid the virus and other people at all costs, to now openly accepting some illness and death to try to limit the damage to livelihoods and to individual lives…” (Gettleman et al., 6/10).
The Telegraph: Conflict and crisis set to increase in wake of coronavirus pandemic
“The coronavirus pandemic will lead to an increase in political instability, civil unrest, and violence, undoing many years of socio-economic development, a new report has warned. In its annual global peace index the Institute for Economics and Peace said that the conflicts and crises over the last few years have begun to abate ‘only to be replaced with a new wave of tension and uncertainty as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic’…” (Gulland, 6/10).
Wall Street Journal: Second Pandemic Wave Would Inflict Big Economic Cost, Says OECD
“A second wave of lockdowns to counter a resurgent novel coronavirus would deal a terrible blow to a global economy already facing a severe contraction, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Wednesday. In its latest report on the global outlook, the Paris-based research body released one of the gloomiest forecasts for growth yet published by an international financial institution…” (Hannon, 6/10).
BBC: Coronavirus: U.K. economy could be among worst hit of leading nations, says OECD (Walker, 6/10).
BBC: Coronavirus: Restart tourism to beat virus, says United Nations (6/10).
Thomson Reuters Foundation: Coronavirus shocks to fuel years of unrest and hunger in poorest economies (Elks, 6/10).
U.N. News: COVID-19: ‘Unparalleled economic shock’ threatens development hopes and gains (6/10).
Washington Post: The coronavirus pandemic isn’t ending — it’s surging (Taylor, 6/11).
- WHO, U.S. Health Officials Cooperating On DRC Ebola Outbreak; No Movement On Trump's Threat To Withdrawal From Agency
AP: U.S. cooperates with WHO on Ebola despite Trump pullout threat
“The head of the World Health Organization said Wednesday he and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar have discussed cooperation to fight a new Ebola outbreak in Congo, even as the Trump administration is planning to pull the United States out of the U.N. health agency…” (Keaten, 6/10).
Devex: U.S. says it will cut WHO funding. What happens next?
“The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw funding from the World Health Organization could result in swift reductions in health programs, or it could drag out indefinitely without any clear action. After weeks of threats for WHO to ‘reform or else,’ President Donald Trump announced at the end of May that the U.S. government would cut all funding to the global health entity. Legal questions remain, as the U.S. has yet to formalize the end of their WHO relationship with official communication…” (Lieberman, 6/11).
Reuters: WHO hopes to work with U.S. on Ebola despite Trump criticism
“…WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he had met U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar last week. … Tedros said the meeting with Azar did not mean the WHO was receiving money directly from Washington, until now its top donor. ‘It’s not about the money. The relationship (with the United States) is more important,’ he said…” (Farge et al., 6/10).
STAT: Trump’s decision to leave WHO came with bluster, but no action so far
“…The Trump administration has not formally notified the WHO that it is withdrawing, a spokesman for the agency told STAT. The administration has also not paid outstanding financial obligations to the WHO, a step that would be required before the United States could pull out under a joint resolution signed by Congress. Instead, the president’s May 29 announcement … has been followed by virtual silence from both top health officials in his administration as well as WHO officials in Geneva. Some legal experts find themselves wondering whether a withdrawal will happen at all…” (Branswell, 6/11).
- WHO 'Can Always Do Better' Communicating Information On COVID-19 After Comments On Asymptomatic Transmission Of Virus, Tedros Says
CNBC: WHO says ‘we can always do better’ following confusing comments on asymptomatic transmission of the coronavirus
“The World Health Organization’s top official said Wednesday that the agency ‘could always do better’ following confusing comments made Monday about asymptomatic transmission of the coronavirus. Covid-19 is a new virus and the organization is learning all the time, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a news conference at the agency’s Geneva headquarters…” (Lovelace/Higgins-Dunn, 6/10).
U.N. News: Still much to learn about new coronavirus: WHO
“Research is ongoing to determine how the virus that causes COVID-19 can be transmitted by people who show no symptoms of the disease, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) told journalists on Wednesday. The U.N. agency has clarified information shared earlier this week, noting that there is still much to learn about the new coronavirus…” (6/10).
- E.U. Accuses China Of COVID-19 Disinformation Campaign; Pandemic Altering Ways China Engages In Africa
Quartz Africa: The Covid-19 pandemic is changing China’s playbook in Africa
“…At the beginning of April this year, as Nigeria was scrambling to track coronavirus cases and dealing with tanking oil prices, a rare spot of good economic news made headlines: A deep sea port project under construction in Lagos, financed by the China Development Bank and African Development Bank, was to receive a $221 million equity investment injection from the China Harbour Engineering Company. The company is one of several shareholders in the project, along with the Nigerian Ports Authority. For Yunnan Chen, a senior researcher in development and public finance at the Overseas Development Institute who specializes in China-Africa relations, the port is illustrative of the ways in which Africa’s relationship with China was changing prior to the coronavirus pandemic…” (Bischof, 6/10).
Washington Post: E.U. accuses China of waging pandemic disinformation campaign
“The European Union on Wednesday accused China of a concerted effort to spread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, lumping it with the Kremlin as a global scofflaw seeking to sow divisions in European societies. It was the European Union’s highest-level and most forceful criticism yet of the way Beijing has handled its messaging about the pandemic. The bloc, along with individual European capitals, has been struggling to strike a balance between the United States and China, two rivals that are increasingly at odds on a range of security and diplomatic issues, including the pandemic response…” (Birnbaum, 6/10).
- COVID-19 Pandemic Accelerating In Africa; Indonesia Suspects Hundreds Of Children Died Of Coronavirus; Scientists Criticize PM Johnson's Pandemic Response; U.S. Hits 2M Cases, Many States See Surge As Federal Government Retreats
AP: Zimbabwe names people who escaped filthy quarantine centers (Mutsaka, 6/10).
Global Health NOW: In Liberia, Resources are Scarce — but Contact Tracing Is Second Nature (Winny, 6/10).
NPR: Why Forecasters Can’t Make Up Their Mind About Africa And The Coronavirus (Peralta, 6/10).
Reuters: Africa’s coronavirus ‘hotspots’ in South Africa, Algeria, Cameroon: WHO (Nebehay, 6/11).
Reuters: Pandemic accelerating in Africa, test kits needed, WHO says (Nebehay, 6/11).
AP: ‘Ticking time bomb:’ Lack of beds slows Delhi’s virus fight (Schmall et al., 6/11).
New York Times: Indonesia’s New Coronavirus Concern: A Post-Pandemic Baby Boom (Paddock/Sijabat, 6/10).
Reuters: Indonesia’s hundreds of suspected child virus deaths highlight danger (Widianto, 6/11).
The Telegraph: Worst dengue outbreak for seven years in Singapore linked to coronavirus lockdown (Smith, 6/11).
POLITICO: Swedes round on Sweden’s coronavirus approach (Duxbury, 6/11).
POLITICO: Scientists turn on Boris Johnson over Britain’s coronavirus response (Cooper, 6/10).
New Scientist: How South America became the new centre of the coronavirus pandemic (Taylor, 6/10).
Washington Post: Under court order, Brazilian government puts coronavirus data back online (McCoy, 6/10).
New Humanitarian: Libyan doctors battle on two dangerous fronts: COVID-19 and war (Creta, 6/10).
New York Times: In a Province No Stranger to War, Preparing to Battle a New Enemy (al-Ali, 6/10).
The Guardian: Is the U.S. heading for a second wave of coronavirus infections? (Renwick, 6/11).
The Hill: U.S. showing signs of retreat in battle against COVID-19 (Wilson, 6/11).
The Hill: Deborah Birx says 70 coronavirus test sites destroyed in George Floyd protests, warns of spike in cases (Kelley, 6/10).
NPR: U.S. Hits 2 Million Coronavirus Cases As Many States See A Surge Of Patients (Chappell/Stein, 6/10).
PBS NewsHour: What this global health expert sees in states where COVID-19 is surging (Woodruff, 6/10).
Wall Street Journal: Deaths Prompt Questions About Covid-19 Safety in Mexico Factories (Whelan, 6/10).
- Experts Warn Against Placing Too Much Hope In Coronavirus Vaccine; Research Into Vaccines, Therapies Continue
POLITICO: The ‘hard slog’ of waiting for a coronavirus vaccine
“What if all it took for the world to return to normal was a shot in the arm? Politicians are repeating the mantra that a coronavirus vaccine is the exit strategy. But getting there is neither simple nor even guaranteed. … [E]xperts say that the idea that a vaccine is the only way out could provide people with false hope and ignore other vital public health measures already at our disposal. For example, politicians could give equal attention to a COVID-19 cure or to more comprehensive testing methods — or promote simple public health measures like hand washing. … Here are four public health measures that experts say need to be put in place. But spoiler alert: Most require up-front investment and have their own hurdles…” (Deutsch/Martuscelli, 6/10).
Additional coverage of efforts to develop COVID-19 vaccines and therapies is available from CNBC, Harvard Magazine, Miami Herald, Reuters, and Wall Street Journal (2).
- People Living With HIV, TB In South Africa At Increased Risk Of Death From COVID-19, Data Show
Bloomberg: HIV Boosts Coronavirus Death Risk Threefold, Data Show
“People with HIV are almost three times more likely to die if they contract the coronavirus than those with no co-morbidities, irrespective of whether they are taking anti-AIDS drugs, an analysis of South African data shows…” (Sguazzin, 6/10).
Devex: South Africa data shows higher COVID-19 death rates for people with HIV, TB
“Researchers have asked whether people living with HIV or tuberculosis might have a higher death rate from COVID-19 — given the impact these diseases have both on the immune system and the respiratory health of those infected. On Tuesday, South Africa released the first set of data showing that there was an increase in COVID-19 deaths of people living with those diseases in Western Cape province — the country’s coronavirus hotspot. … South Africa’s data found that people living with HIV had a 2.75 times increased risk of death, whereas those living with TB had a 2.5 times increased risk. … Although the data shows an increased risk for those with HIV or TB, it is still much smaller than other risk factors, including diabetes…” (Jerving, 6/10).
- Some Activists Worry U.S. Shift In PEPFAR Funding Jeopardizes Gains In HIV Prevention, Treatment In Uganda
Undark: As Uganda Takes Control of the HIV Epidemic, U.S. Shifts Funding
“…In July 2018, the U.S. global AIDS coordinator Deborah Birx — now of course better known in her latest role as coordinator of the White House’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic — issued a directive for all U.S. agencies to deliver 40 percent of their PEPFAR funding to organizations within the countries the program serves in the next 18 months, and to reach 70 percent in the next 30 months. More importantly, funding is also expected to plateau as U.S. officials envisage a transition to sustainability in countries like Uganda. … Although these changes are in many ways a testament to how far Uganda and much of the rest of Africa have come in fighting the AIDS epidemic, survey data shows troubling signs of a return to pre-epidemic attitudes and lifestyles. And although officials still express confidence that Uganda is on the path to eventually ending HIV as a public health problem, some activists wonder if the U.S. and other international donors are withdrawing from the field too early, before the two-decade long war against AIDS in Uganda has been decisively won…” (Nakkazi, 6/10).
- Devex Examines Germany's Efforts To Show Global Health Leadership
Devex: How Germany failed to live up to its global health ambitions
“Germany has spent the past decade positioning itself as a global health leader. … The problem, observers said, is that while Germany spent much of the past decade advancing its global health leadership, it did not coalesce around a cohesive, government-wide strategy. As a result, when the pandemic struck, individual arms were able to endorse specific efforts and the chancellory could preach multilateralism, but Germany was not prepared or positioned to help shape a comprehensive strategy for responding to the crisis. But the country has a high-profile opportunity to change that when it takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union in July — and positive signs are emerging…” (Green, 6/11).
- U.K. International Development Committee Chair Accuses Government Of Performing 'Stealth Review' Of DFID Programs
Devex: DFID budget at risk under ‘stealth review’ of U.K. aid, MP claims
“All but 200 future programs to be run by the Department for International Development have been paused amid plans for a cut to the department’s budget, a politician has alleged. Sarah Champion, chair of the International Development Committee — a parliamentary watchdog tasked with scrutinizing DFID — said she was informed of the move by whistleblowers, and accused the government of carrying out a ‘stealth review’ of the country’s aid policy without the knowledge of Parliament…” (Worley, 6/10).
- Violence Against Health Care Workers, Facilities Increased In 2019, Worsened During COVID-19 Pandemic, Report Says
The Telegraph: Coronavirus exacerbates violence against health workers, researchers warn
“Violent attacks and threats against health care workers and facilities reached a new high last year, with more than 1,200 reported incidents — and the situation has only worsened in the pandemic, according to new figures. The Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition, which reports incidents annually to the U.N. Security Council, said there had been 265 Covid-19 linked attacks or threats so far this year across 61 countries. … The coalition’s annual report, compiled with data from local organizations and bodies like the World Health Organization, found that there had been 1,203 violent attacks and threats against health workers, facilities, transport, and patients in 20 conflict-affected countries in 2019, up from just under 1,000 in 2018…” (Rigby, 6/10).
- WIRED Examines Underrepresentation Of Women In HIV Prevention Drug Trials Testing PrEP
WIRED: The Dangers of Excluding Women From HIV Prevention Drug Tests
“…The underrepresentation of women in all kinds of medical research — from heart disease to sexual dysfunction — is a longstanding concern among women’s health activists. With HIV, inequity not only leaves women vulnerable to a life-altering disease, but it also thwarts efforts to stop its spread. … Gender disparity in HIV treatment and research dates back to the earliest days of the epidemic, when it was viewed almost exclusively as a disease of young, white, gay men. … Diseases associated with AIDS in women were different — which meant they had more difficulty getting diagnosed and accessing housing aid, disability payments, and other social services. … [S]o far, PrEP studies have a mixed track record for including women…” (Marill, 6/10).
- More News In Global Health
CIDRAP News: COVID-19-linked syndrome in kids new, distinct, studies suggest (Van Beusekom, 6/9).
Global Health NOW: Infertility as a Neglected Disease (Silberner, 6/10).
New York Times: How Data Became One of the Most Powerful Tools to Fight an Epidemic (Johnson, 6/10).
Reuters: Japan PM Abe: ‘Very regrettable’ that Taiwan was not observer at WHO assembly (Takemoto, 6/11).
STAT: Immunity to the coronavirus remains a mystery. Scientists are trying to crack the case (Joseph, 6/11).
Xinhua: Global think tanks forum issues joint statement on battling COVID-19 (6/10).
Editorials and Opinions
- Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Racial Health Disparities
The Atlantic: Public-Health Experts Are Not Hypocrites
Julia Marcus, epidemiologist and professor at Harvard Medical School, and Gregg Gonsalves, epidemiologist and professor at the Yale School of Public Health (6/11).
The Guardian: ‘The data was there — so why did it take coronavirus to wake us up to racial health inequalities?’
Angela Saini, author (6/11).
The Hill: COVID-19 exposes the threat of China’s theft of American intellectual property
Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property (6/10).
New York Times: The Hand-Washing Wars
Nancy Stearns Bercaw, author (6/11).
TIME: U.S. Response to COVID-19 is Worse than China’s. 100 Times Worse.
Gavin Yamey, physician and professor of global health and public policy and director of the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health at Duke University, and Dean T. Jamison, Edward A. Clarkson professor emeritus in the Institute of Global Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco (6/10).
Washington Post: While coronavirus deaths spike in Brazil, Bolsonaro wars with his enemies
Editorial Board (6/10).
Washington Post: We are living in a bipartisan state of denial about the coronavirus
Max Boot, columnist at the Washington Post, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow for national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and global affairs analyst for CNN (6/10).
Washington Post: How amateur epidemiology can hurt our covid-19 response
Tom Frieden, president and chief executive of Resolve to Save Lives and senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations (6/10).
From the Global Health Policy Community
- Blog Posts, Releases Address Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Impact On Health Systems
DevPolicy Blog: PNG’s health data: too much of a good thing — part two
Manuel Hetzel, research group leader at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and a senior lecturer in epidemiology at the University of Basel, Switzerland (6/11).
Human Rights Watch: Africa: Covid-19 Exposes Healthcare Shortfalls (6/8).
International Rescue Committee: U.N. Security Council Must Act to Ensure Syrians are not Deprived of Lifesaving Aid Amidst Global Pandemic (6/10).
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security: Expediting Development of Medical Countermeasures for Unknown Viral Threats: Proposal for a “Virus 201” Program in the United States
Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security (6/8).
Médecins Sans Frontières: “COVID-19 has brought suffering to people everywhere, but its impact is not shared equally” (6/10).
Médecins Sans Frontières: “COVID-19 has made the health system’s collapse complete” in Yemen (6/10).
ONE Blog: Rethinking global systems and the power of activism during COVID (6/10).
Save the Children: In this extraordinary time, routine health care is essential
Elo Otobo, health advocacy adviser with Save the Children U.K. (6/10).
U.N.: U.N. agencies provide comprehensive protection for Lebanese during COVID-19 (June 2020).
U.N.: COVID-19: U.N. helps countries fight complacency as they reopen (June 2020).
U.N.: COVID-19 Must Be Wake-Up Call for Greater Multilateral Economic Cooperation, Health‑Care Solidarity, Secretary-General Says in Video Message to Small States Forum (6/10).
UNAIDS: Five UNAIDS country directors taking the lead in the COVID-19 response (6/11).
UNFPA: Reaching domestic violence survivors amid the pandemic (6/10).
United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner: COVID-19 measures must be grounded first and foremost on the right to health (6/10).
UNICEF: Working on the frontlines of COVID-19 in the world’s largest refugee camp (6/10).
World Bank Blogs: Covid-19 in Latin America: A pandemic meets extreme inequality
Francisco Ferreira, acting director for development policy in the World Bank’s Development Research Group, and Marta Schoch, consultant at the World Bank (6/10).
World Bank Blogs: How COVID-19 (coronavirus) affects private health care providers in developing countries
Mark Hellowell, director of the Global Health Policy Unit at the University of Edinburgh, and colleagues (6/10).
From the U.S. Government
- U.S. Announces Additional Aid For COVID-19 Efforts In Pacific Islands Region
USAID: The United States Continues To Lead The Global COVID-19 Response; Allocates Additional U.S. $12 Million For The Pacific Islands Region
“The U.S. Embassy [Wednesday] announced the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) additional investment of $12 million to assist partner countries in the Pacific Islands region to prevent the spread and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. To date, the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have provided a total of $24.2 million in assistance to the region for COVID-19 response…” (6/10).
- NIH-Funded Research To Assess COVID-19 Treatments For Children
NIH: NIH-funded study to evaluate drugs prescribed to children with COVID-19
“Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have launched an effort to evaluate drugs prescribed to treat COVID-19 in infants, children, and adolescents across the country. The study leverages an existing clinical trial that examines drugs that are prescribed off-label to children for a variety of medical conditions. Because many drugs have not been tested specifically for use in children, physicians will often prescribe drugs off-label to children because they lack an alternative, approved treatment…” (6/10).
- KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic
KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of June 11, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (6/11).
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.