KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

More Than 225 Current, Former Global Leaders, VIPs Urge G20 To Adopt $2.5T Plan To Address COVID-19, Especially In LMICs

AP: 225 VIPs urge world powers to adopt $2.5 trillion COVID plan
“More than 225 current and former global VIPs urged the world’s 20 major economic powers on Monday to hold an urgent meeting to agree to a $2.5 trillion plan to tackle COVID-19 and launch an economic recovery from the pandemic, especially for hard-hit developing and middle-income countries. They said in a letter that these poor and middle-income countries, which represent nearly 70 percent of the world’s population and approximately one-third of global GDP, demand immediate action…” (Lederer, 6/2).

The Independent: Coronavirus: Three former PMs among world leaders calling for $2.5 trillion emergency package for developing countries
“…Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, and Sir John Major are among the eminent roster of ex-presidents, prime ministers, and leaders of international institutions calling for an emergency summit of the G20 to agree a global health and economic recovery plan which would ‘send out a message of hope for the future.’ Without urgent and concerted action, the letter warned that the world faces a deep recession threatening hundreds of millions of the poorest and most disadvantaged with unemployment, destitution and starvation, along with a second wave of Covid-19 outbreaks in the developing world sweeping back to reinfect richer nations which have got the disease under control…” (Woodcock, 6/2).

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LMICs Face Slowing Economies, Debt Crises, Health Care Systems Unable To Keep Pace Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Devex: Why lockdowns aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution to the pandemic
“While countries in the global north were sluggish in responding to the coronavirus, governments in many lower-income countries were much faster to enact lockdowns. … But questions have equally been raised by some public health experts over the suitability of nationwide lockdowns in areas with weak health systems and fragile economies, where the possibility of working from home doesn’t exist for most people…” (Worley, 6/2).

New York Times: Poor Countries Face a Debt Crisis ‘Unlike Anything We Have Seen’
“From Angola to Jamaica to Ecuador to Zambia, the world’s poor countries have had their finances shredded by the global pandemic. … The low interest rates of the past decade led to an unlikely alliance between poor countries and international investors. … Now, the pandemic is fraying that alliance. Economic activity has ground to a halt, closing ports, shutting factories, canceling flights, and emptying resorts. Governments are on the hook for billions of dollars in interest and principal repayments — payments suddenly made more expensive by volatility in the currency markets at the same time that public health costs are skyrocketing. And their investors are not in a forgiving mood…” (Walsh/Phillips, 6/1).

WIRED: Cities in Poorer Countries Are at Risk as Covid-19 Spreads
“COVID-19 is spreading quickly in the global south, posing particular problems in rapidly growing cities. … According to the U.N., Covid-19 could reverse a decade of efforts to reduce global poverty. The health systems in these countries already were overstretched and underfunded, making pandemic response more difficult…” (Halais, 6/1).

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WHO DG Tedros Expresses 'Wish' For Continued Collaboration With U.S.; Chinese Official Says U.S. 'Addicted To Quitting' International Commitments; Devex Examines Questions Surrounding U.S. Withdrawal From WHO

CNBC: WHO’s plea to Trump: We ‘wish’ for collaboration with U.S. to continue
“The World Health Organization’s top official said Monday that he hopes the agency’s partnership with the United States can continue, even after President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. will cut ties with the international aid group. ‘The world has long benefited from the strong collaborative engagement with the government and the people of the United States,’ WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference at the agency’s Geneva headquarters. ‘The U.S. government and its people’s contribution and generosity over many decades have been immense.’ ‘It is WHO’s wish for this collaborations to continue,’ he added…” (Lovelace, 6/1).

Devex: How could the U.S. withdraw from WHO?
“U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement last Friday that the United States would terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization has raised multiple questions. Experts are asking whether he can unilaterally do that, what exactly is the procedure for severing membership with the U.N. health aid agency, and what that means for the U.S.’s position in global health governance. But first, the U.S. government needs to clarify what it meant by the statement of ‘terminating’ its relationship with WHO…” (Ravelo, 6/2).

Reuters: China says U.S. ‘addicted to quitting’ over plan to withdraw from WHO
“China said on Monday the United States was ‘addicted to quitting’ following a U.S. decision to leave the World Health Organization (WHO) and said the withdrawal reveals a pursuit of power politics and unilateralism. Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters during a daily briefing that the international community disagreed with what he described as the selfish behavior of the United States. ‘The U.S. has become addicted to quitting groups and scrapping treaties,’ said Zhao…” (Crossley/Lee, 6/1).

Additional coverage of the WHO’s comments on the Trump administration’s decision to leave the WHO is available from The Hill, NBC, NPR, Reuters, and UPI.

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China Delayed Release Of Novel Coronavirus Genome Despite WHO Commendations At Beginning Of Outbreak

AP: China delayed releasing coronavirus info, frustrating WHO
“Throughout January, the World Health Organization publicly praised China for what it called a speedy response to the new coronavirus. It repeatedly thanked the Chinese government for sharing the genetic map of the virus ‘immediately,’ and said its work and commitment to transparency were ‘very impressive, and beyond words.’ But behind the scenes, it was a much different story, one of significant delays by China and considerable frustration among WHO officials over not getting the information they needed to fight the spread of the deadly virus, the Associated Press has found. Despite the plaudits, China in fact sat on releasing the genetic map, or genome, of the virus for more than a week after three different government labs had fully decoded the information. Tight controls on information and competition within the Chinese public health system were to blame, according to dozens of interviews and internal documents…” (6/2).

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U.S., Chinese Scientists Release Genetic Analysis Of Bat Coronaviruses; NIH Canceled Funding For Study Earlier This Year

New York Times: U.S. and Chinese Scientists Trace Evolution of Coronaviruses in Bats
“An international team of scientists, including a prominent researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, has analyzed all known coronaviruses in Chinese bats and used genetic analysis to trace the likely origin of the novel coronavirus to horseshoe bats. In their report, posted online Sunday, they also point to the great variety of these viruses in southern and southwestern China and urge closer monitoring of bat viruses in the area and greater efforts to change human behavior as ways of decreasing the chances of future pandemics…” (Gorman, 6/1).

Science: NIH-halted study unveils its massive analysis of bat coronaviruses
“…Although the analysis cannot pinpoint the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, it does single out one genus, Rhinolophus, also known as Chinese horseshoe bats, as crucial to the evolution of coronaviruses. ‘It seems that by sheer phylogeographic, historical, evolutionary bad luck, Rhinolophus ends up being the major reservoir for SARS [severe acute respiratory syndrome]-related coronaviruses,’ says study co-author Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit that last month saw its multimillion-dollar grant to study bat coronaviruses with colleagues in China cut by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). On 21 May, 77 Nobel laureates urged NIH to reconsider its decision to end the funding…” (Cohen/Kupferschmidt, 6/1).

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U.S. Department Of Defense Seeks To Adapt AI Technology For COVID-19 Therapeutics; U.S. Senators Introduce Global Health Security, Diplomacy Act To Prevent Future Pandemics

Bloomberg Government: Pentagon Taps Rescue Funds to Use AI for Virus Care, Vaccine
“The Defense Department is seeking to adapt artificial intelligence technology it uses to track down terrorists with drones or predict when aircraft need maintenance for a new purpose: screening and testing novel coronavirus treatments and vaccines. The Pentagon plans to boost existing programs with money Congress provided under the virus-relief CARES Act for the ‘development of artificial intelligence-based models to rapidly screen, prioritize, and test Food and Drug Administration approved therapeutics for new COVID-19 drug candidates.’ The AI funds would also be tapped for human test trials for vaccines and antibody based treatments, according to the spending plan the department submitted to congressional panels…” (Tiron/Capaccio, 6/1).

Homeland Preparedness News: Bipartisan bill would help better detect, contain overseas pandemics
“U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) last week introduced legislation designed to better detect and contain infectious disease outbreaks overseas before they become global pandemics. The Global Health Security and Diplomacy Act (GHSDA) requires the president to advance a comprehensive Global Health Security Strategy with clear goals, objectives, and lines of responsibility to better guide U.S. investments in global health security. Further, it establishes a coordinator for global health security and diplomacy at the Department of State to manage program coordination. Also, it encourages the president to appoint a senior director for global health security to the National Security Council to coordinate the interagency process…” (Kovaleski, 6/1).

Security Magazine: U.S. Senators Introduce Global Health Bill to Prevent Future Pandemics
“…Key provisions of the senators’ legislation include: Enhancing strategic planning … Strengthening interagency coordination and diplomatic engagement … Promoting transparency, accountability, and long-term results … Strengthening USAID’s emergency response capacity … Joining global efforts to find vaccines for epidemic diseases … Creating opportunities for innovation and burden-sharing…” (6/1).

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WHO Denies Reports SARS-CoV-2 Losing Potency, Warns Pandemic Interrupting Essential Health Services, Increasing Antimicrobial Resistance Due To Widespread Use Of Antibiotics

Reuters: WHO and other experts say no evidence of coronavirus losing potency
“World Health Organization experts and a range of other scientists said on Monday there was no evidence to support an assertion by a high-profile Italian doctor that the coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic has been losing potency…” (Kelland et al., 6/1).

Reuters: WHO will decide on its hydroxychloroquine trial suspension in 24 hours
“The World Health Organization (WHO) should have enough information in 24 hours to decide whether to continue suspending its trial of hydroxychloroquine for use against coronavirus, its chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Monday…” (Mason/Kelland, 6/1).

U.N. News: COVID-19 disrupting services to treat non-communicable diseases, WHO survey finds
“The fight against COVID-19 has severely disrupted services to prevent and treat cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which kill more than 40 million people each year, according to a new survey published on Monday by the World Health Organization (WHO)…” (6/1).

Washington Post: Experts dispute reports that coronavirus is becoming less lethal
“…Michael Ryan, a top official with the World Health Organization, … said Monday during an online news conference that ‘we need to be exceptionally careful not to create a sense that all of a sudden the virus by its own volition has now decided to be less pathogenic. That is not the case at all.’ The consensus among other experts interviewed Monday is that the clinical findings in Italy likely do not reflect any change in the virus itself…” (Achenbach et al., 6/1).

Xinhua: WHO warns of disturbing rates of antimicrobial resistance during COVID-19 pandemic
“The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday warned that the world is ‘losing its ability’ to use critically important antimicrobial medicines. Speaking at a virtual press conference on Monday, the WHO chief said that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased use of antibiotics, which ultimately will lead to higher bacterial resistance rates…” (6/2).

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COVID-19 Cases Rising In Eastern Europe, Waning In Western Region; Pakistan Fears Polio Resurgence Amid Pandemic; Latin America New Hotspot; U.N. Calls For 'Social Cohesion' As Protests Sweep U.S., Elsewhere

AFRICA

Bloomberg Quint: Old Scourges Revived in Africa as the Pandemic Drains Resources (Bax/Sguazzin, 6/2).

New Humanitarian: Return pressure builds as COVID-19 hits South Sudan displacement camps (Craze/Pendle, 6/1).

Quartz: Africa After Covid-19 (Multiple authors, 6/1).

Reuters: South Africa loosens lockdown in economic recovery effort (Cox et al., 6/1).

VOA: Nigerian E-health Start-up Improving Access to Quick Malaria Testing During Pandemic (Obiezu, 6/2).

ASIA

The Guardian: Pakistan polio fears as Covid-19 causes millions of children to miss vaccinations (Baloch, 6/2).

The Guardian: Lockdown in Dhaka: where social distancing is an illusion (Alam, 6/1).

Reuters: India approves emergency use of remdesivir to treat COVID-19 patients (Mitra/Mishra, 6/1).

Washington Post: North Korea eases coronavirus lockdown because even totalitarian states need trade (Denyer/Kim, 6/2).

Washington Post: ‘Fear, uncertainty and distance’: Life in Shanghai under covid-19 (Dickerman/Ariano, 6/1).

EUROPE

New Yorker: How Iceland Beat the Coronavirus (Kolbert, 6/1).

Reuters: COVID cases rising in Russia, Eastern Europe, waning in Western Europe: WHO (Nebehay, 6/2).

LATIN AMERICA

AP: South America ignores Europe and reopens as virus peak nears (Jeantet et al., 6/2).

Reuters: In single Brazilian state, some 2,400 meat plant workers catch coronavirus, officials say (Mano, 6/1).

U.N. News: Central and South America now ‘intense zones’ for COVID-19 transmission (6/1).

MIDDLE EAST

AFP: West Bank poverty may double over pandemic as annexation looms (6/1).

Anadolu/Daily Sabah: 4 Arab states see surge in new COVID-19 cases (6/1).

Arab News: Egypt sanitizes prisons, examines inmates in fight against coronavirus spread (6/2).

Financial Times: UAE caught between U.S. and China as powers vie for influence in Gulf (Kerr, 6/1).

NORTH AMERICA

The Guardian: ‘People are going to go hungry’: pandemic effects could leave 54m Americans without food (Lakhani, 5/31).

New York Times: Is America’s Pandemic Waning or Raging? Yes (Bosman/Smith, 6/1).

New York Times: Coronavirus to Shave Trillions From the Economy Over 10 Years (Cochrane, 6/1).

POLITICO: Mass protests could undo hard-won progress in pandemic (Ollstein et al., 6/1).

U.N. News: U.N. appeals for restraint, ‘social cohesion’ as protests across the U.S. continue (6/1).

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Economy Faces Long Recovery From Coronavirus Effects, Experts Say (Hannon/Kiernan, 6/1).

Washington Post: Mexico’s hospitals strain to treat coronavirus as officials say cases are peaking (Sheridan, 6/2).

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U.N., Saudi Arabia Host Pledging Conference For War-Torn Yemen With Hope To Raise $2.4B For Humanitarian, Coronavirus Response

Reuters: Yemen pledging drive hopes to raise $2.4 billion to save aid ops as virus spreads
“The United Nations and Saudi Arabia host a pledging conference for war-ravaged Yemen on Tuesday to help raise some $2.4 billion as funding shortages imperil the world’s biggest aid operation. … ‘Anything below $1.6 billion and the operation will be facing catastrophic cutbacks,’ Lise Grande, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, told Reuters just days prior to the conference…” (Barrington et al., 6/2).

Additional coverage of the pledging conference and crisis in Yemen is available from The Guardian and Reuters.

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Deforestation Increased In 2019, Report Shows, Warning Of Link Between Loss Of Forests, Disease Spread Between Animals, Humans

Roll Call: Report: Deforestation, linked to pandemics, increased in 2019
“Deforestation of tropical old-growth forests increased last year, according to new satellite data set to be unveiled Tuesday, wiping out acreage roughly the size of Switzerland in a period when experts are raising alarms about the transmission of a variety of diseases, including the novel coronavirus, that jump between animals and humans. … The groups that released the figures, Global Forest Watch and World Resources Institute, said the losses worldwide last year were the third-highest annual total for primary forests this century…” (Hulac, 6/2).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: No let-up in global rainforest loss as coronavirus brings new danger
“…Loss of primary forest, which hit a record high in 2016 and 2017, was 2.8% higher in 2019 than the year before. Agricultural expansion, wildfires, logging, mining, and population growth all contribute to deforestation, according to GFW researchers. Cutting down forests has major implications for global goals to curb climate change, as trees absorb about a third of the planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions produced worldwide. Forests also provide food and livelihoods for people who live in or near them, are an essential habitat for wildlife, and aid tropical rainfall…” (Taylor, 6/2).

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New Ebola Outbreak Declared In Northwestern DRC City; At Least 5 Dead

Washington Post: New Ebola outbreak declared in Congo city that last saw the virus in 2018
“Congo’s health minister confirmed the discovery of a new Ebola case in the country’s Équateur province, which last saw an outbreak of the highly deadly virus in 2018, ultimately killing 33 people there. … The World Health Organization’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said later on Monday that six cases had been identified by Congo’s Health Ministry. He said the WHO’s response was underway. … Congo has grappled for almost two years with a separate Ebola outbreak in its northeastern provinces that has killed 2,272 people so far. In April, that outbreak, the country’s worst, had been just days away from being declared over when new cases were found. The same region is also home to the world’s largest ongoing measles outbreak…” (Bearak, 6/1).

Additional coverage of the new Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is available from AP, CNN, New York Times, The Telegraph, U.N. News, VOA, and Wall Street Journal.

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More News In Global Health

BBC: Tropical Storm Amanda: At least 14 dead in El Salvador (6/1).

Devex: Q&A: Combating stigma of needle stick injuries among health care workers in Kenya (Politzer, 6/2).

Devex: Q&A: New U.N. guidelines target ‘out of whack’ food systems (Welsh, 6/2).

The Guardian: Risk of infection could double if 2-meter rule reduced, study finds (Siddique, 6/1).

New York Times: Monster or Machine? A Profile of the Coronavirus at 6 Months (Burdick, 6/2).

Roll Call: Banking on women and the underserved during COVID-19 (Brummer/Campbell, 6/2).

Science: Operation Warp Speed selects billionaire scientist’s COVID-19 vaccine for monkey tests (Cohen, 6/1).

Wall Street Journal: Eli Lilly Begins Testing Covid-19 Drug Derived From Blood of Survivor (Loftus, 6/1).

Washington Post: From the Andes to Tibet, the coronavirus seems to be sparing populations at high altitudes (Tegel, 5/31).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Consequential Effects On Climate Change, Pressure To Quickly Develop Vaccine

Bloomberg: Is the Worst of the Coronavirus Behind Us Now?
Lionel Laurent, Bloomberg Opinion columnist (6/1).

Devex: A food data revolution in the COVID-19 era
Agnes Kalibata, U.N. secretary general’s special envoy for ‘Food Systems Summit 2021’ and president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and Lawrence Haddad, executive director of GAIN (6/1).

IPS: The Consequential Effects of Covid-19 on the Climate Crisis
Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin Okyenhene, King of Akyem Abuakwa, Ghana (6/1).

The Lancet Planetary Health: Overselling wildlife trade bans will not bolster conservation or pandemic preparedness
Evan A. Eskew, postdoctoral associate at the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources at Rutgers University, and Colin J. Carlson, assistant research professor at the Center for Global Health Science Security at Georgetown University (6/1).

STAT: My nightmare: Covid-19 meets racism meets the killing of a Black person by police
Lauren Powell, executive director of Time’s Up Healthcare (6/2).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: From COVID-19 crisis comes opportunity to rethink risk
Mami Mizutori, U.N. secretary general’s special representative for disaster risk reduction and the head of the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, and Heide Hackmann, CEO of the International Science Council (6/1).

Wall Street Journal: The Lancet’s Politicized Science on Antimalarial Drugs
Allysia Finley, member of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board (6/1).

Washington Post: The FDA should not rush a covid-19 vaccine
Steven Joffe, professor and interim chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy and professor of pediatrics, and Holly Fernandez Lynch, assistant professor of medical ethics in the department, both at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine (6/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Releases, Statement Address COVID-19 Pandemic

Atlantic Council: Executive summary: The virus and global order
Jeffrey Cimmino, program assistant at the Atlantic Council (6/1).

Save the Children: 225 Past and Present Leaders Demand G20 Summit is Convened Urgently to Address Health and Economic Crises and Global Recovery Plan (6/2).

U.N.: Kids and families broaden global perspectives during COVID-19 (June 2020).

U.N.: Trans women in Mexico help neighbors during pandemic (June 2020).

UNAIDS: A joint U.N. statement calls on U.N. Member States to permanently close compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centres (6/1).

World Economic Forum: Pandemics are here to stay. Here’s how to prepare for the next one
Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, chief executive officer of Sceye (6/2).

WHO: Maintaining essential health services: new operational guidance for the COVID-19 context (6/1).

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June 2020 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The June 2020 WHO Bulletin features an editorial about COVID-19 mortality surveillance, a news article about the need for a coordinated international pandemic response, as well as research and articles on maternal and child health and other topics (June 2020).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Department Of Defense Supports Efforts Of Partner Nations To Address COVID-19, Launches Initiative To Support Development Of Effective Treatment

U.S. Department of Defense: DOD Supports Partner Nations With COVID-19 Mitigation Assistance
David Vergun, associate editor/writer at the Department of Defense, discusses the DoD’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program and its efforts to address COVID-19 (6/1).

U.S. Department of Defense: DOD Launches Effort to Collect 8,000 Units of COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma
“Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 may hold treatment in their veins that could help others who are critically ill with the respiratory infection. The Defense Department has begun an effort to collect 8,000 donated units of plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to support the development of an effective treatment against the disease…” (5/29).

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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 June 2, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 have been added to the tracker (6/2).

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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