KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report
In The News
- WHO Predicts Global COVID-19 Cases Will Hit 10M Next Week; Governments, Aid Agencies Continue Awareness, Prevention Efforts
AP: Who hasn’t heard of COVID-19 by now? More than you think
“A half-year into the most momentous pandemic in decades, it’s hard to imagine that anyone, anywhere has not heard of the coronavirus. But scores of migrants arriving in Somalia tell United Nations workers every day that they are unaware of COVID-19. Monitors for the International Organization for Migration, the U.N. migration agency, interview people at the border in Somalia, a crossroads on one of the world’s most dangerous migration routes: across the Red Sea with traffickers, through war-ravaged Yemen and into rich Gulf countries. The questions for migrants are simple. Origin? Destination? Why are you going? But after the first infections were confirmed in Somalia, a new one was added: How many people in your group are aware of the coronavirus? In the week ending June 20, just over half — 51% — of the 3,471 people tracked said they had never heard of COVID-19…” (Anna, 6/25).
CNN: WHO Special Envoy to U.S.: Please take this virus very seriously
“CNN’s Hala Gorani speaks with World Health Organization Special Envoy Dr. David Nabarro, who warns that as countries prepare to ease lockdowns they need to do so carefully and take the virus seriously…” (Gorani, 6/24).
New York Times: From China to Germany, the World Learns to Live With the Coronavirus
“…Around the world, governments that had appeared to tame the coronavirus are adjusting to the reality that the disease is here to stay. But in a shift away from damaging nationwide lockdowns, they are looking for targeted ways to find and stop outbreaks before they become third or fourth waves.While the details differ, the strategies call for giving governments flexibility to tighten or ease as needed. They require some mix of intensive testing and monitoring, lightning-fast response times by the authorities, tight border management, and constant reminders to their citizens of the dangers of frequent human contact…” (Wee et al., 6/24).
U.S. News & World Report: WHO Predicts 10% Spike in New Coronavirus Cases Within the Next Week
“The World Health Organization is predicting that the number of global coronavirus cases recorded since the pandemic began will surge nearly 10% from where it stood early Wednesday over the next week alone, surpassing 10 million infections with the virus yet to peak in parts of the Americas. ‘In the first month of this outbreak, less than 10,000 cases were reported to WHO,’ Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the general director of the organization, said in a press briefing on Friday. ‘In the last month, almost 4 million cases have been reported’…” (Smith-Schoenwalder, 6/24).
- COVID-19 Pandemic Threatening Future Of Democracy Worldwide, Prominent Political, Civil Leaders Warn In Open Letter
POLITICO: Coronavirus threatens democracy, prominent figures warn
“The future of liberal democracy is under threat because of the Covid-19 pandemic, as even democratically elected governments have accumulated emergency powers that restrict human rights, numerous prominent figures argue in an open letter published Thursday. ‘Parliaments are being sidelined, journalists are being arrested and harassed, minorities are being scapegoated, and the most vulnerable sectors of the population face alarming new dangers as the economic lockdowns ravage the very fabric of societies everywhere,’ says the letter, commissioned by IDEA, a Stockholm-based think tank…” (Gehrke, 6/25).
- IMF Predicts Deeper Global Recession, Slower Recovery From Pandemic
U.N. News: COVID-19: Recovery will be slower following ‘crisis like no other,’ IMF predicts
“Economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is projected to be more gradual than previously forecast, according to a report published on Wednesday by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It estimates growth this year at -4.9 percent, or nearly two percentage points below projections in April, indicating that the recession will be deeper and recovery slower. The latest World Economic Outlook is an update to data published two months ago. Subtitled A Crisis Like No Other, An Uncertain Recovery, it warns that gains made over the past two decades in driving down extreme poverty could be in peril…” (6/24).
- COVID-19 Increases Suffering Of Women, Children In Conflict Zones; Study Raises Concerns For Pregnant Women With Novel Coronavirus; Women Under-Represented On Pandemic Task Forces
Al Jazeera: Coronavirus testing may not reach women in conflict zones: IRC
“Big gaps between the number of male and female coronavirus cases in parts of Africa and the Middle East suggest that women may be struggling to access testing or care, an aid agency said on Wednesday. In Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen, more than 70 percent of reported cases were male, compared with a global average of 51 percent, and the same was true in the Central African Republic, Chad, and Somalia, said the International Rescue Committee (IRC)…” (6/24).
IPS: COVID-19 Increases Suffering of Children in Conflict
“The current coronavirus pandemic is having a profound affect on children in conflict zones — with girls especially being at higher risk of violence and sexual health concerns. ‘For adolescent girls specifically, these disruptions can have profound consequences, including increased rates of pregnancy and child, early, and forced marriage,’ Shannon Kowalski, director of advocacy and policy at the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC), told IPS…” (Sadeque, 6/25).
New York Times: Study Raises Concerns for Pregnant Women With the Coronavirus
“Pregnant women infected with the coronavirus are more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to an intensive care unit and put on a ventilator than are infected women who are not pregnant, according to a new government analysis. … The increased risk for intensive care and mechanical ventilation worried experts. But the new study did not include one pivotal detail: whether pregnant women were hospitalized because of labor and delivery. That may have significantly inflated the numbers, so it is unclear whether the analysis reflects a true increase in risk of hospitalization…” (Mandavilli, 6/24).
NPR: Where The Women Aren’t: On Coronavirus Task Forces
“There are 27 members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Only two are women: Dr. Deborah Birx and Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It’s a gender breakdown that’s echoed around the world. For example, 10 of the 31 members and advisers of the World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee on COVID-19 are women, and of the 25 members of the WHO-China joint mission on COVID-19, 20% are women…” (Gharib, 6/24).
- U.S. Working With Europe On Travel Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Pompeo Says; Bolton Memoir Renews Concerns Trump Praised Chinese Efforts On Virus As Officials Worked To Gain Information
The Hill: Pompeo says U.S. working with E.U. to resume travel amid spike in COVID-19
“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said the U.S. is working with European allies on how to safely resume international travel, following reports that the European Union would not open its borders to American travelers over fear of the high coronavirus case count in the U.S…” (Kelly, 6/24).
POLITICO: Bolton casts light on Trump’s deference to China on coronavirus
“Former national security adviser John Bolton’s memoir has renewed concerns that President Donald Trump undermined his administration’s early attempts to grapple with China’s spreading coronavirus outbreak out of concern for his personal relationship with President Xi Jinping. … Trump publicly praised China’s handling of its outbreak across January and February, even as his health and national security deputies concluded that China was concealing information and pushed to gain access to the country — and the virus likely worsened in the United States, undetected…” (Diamond, 6/24).
- U.S. Must Better Prepare For Next Pandemic, Experts, Lawmakers Say In Senate Hearings
Bloomberg: U.S. Must Prepare Now for Next Pandemic, Senators Are Told
“The U.S. was unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic and needs to invest more in the tools needed to monitor outbreaks and respond rapidly to the next health crises, witnesses told a Senate panel Tuesday. ‘Health security is national security, so let’s treat it as such,’ Bill Frist, a surgeon and former Republican Senate majority leader, told the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He and the other witnesses on lessons learned so far in the pandemic — which has caused more than 120,000 deaths in the U.S., with rates of infection still increasing across the South and West — said the national government must take the lead role in dealing with an outbreak. The U.S. also needs to spend more on public health at all levels, they said…” (Woodhouse, 6/23).
Homeland Preparedness News: Pandemic proves Strategic National Stockpile needs a revamp, say lawmakers, experts
“The Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), which is tasked with supplementing state and local supplies of antibiotics, vaccines and other critical drugs and medical products, woefully needs a revamp to help the nation better prepare and respond to public health emergencies like the current COVID-19 pandemic, according to lawmakers and experts [who spoke Wednesday during a virtual hearing of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee]…” (Riley, 6/24).
Homeland Preparedness News: Public health experts urge lawmakers to focus on future pandemics
“A panel of public health experts called on Congress to focus on creating a mechanism that would help create vaccines for future pandemics, even as the world is working to cope with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. ‘This pandemic is a harbinger of things to come,’ Julie Gerberding, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and now executive vice president at pharma giant Merck & Co., told members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, during a hearing Tuesday on ‘COVID-19: Lessons Learned to Prepare for the Next Pandemic’…” (Roberts, 6/23).
- Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Begins In S. Africa As Continent Seeks Equitable Access To Any Vaccine; Racial Bias In European Lockdown Policing, Report Says; More Than 226K Dead Of COVID-19 In PAHO Region; Yemen Needs More Aid Funding; Virus Hit Nursing Homes Hard In Canada
Reuters: South Africa rolls out continent’s first trials for COVID-19 vaccine (Heiberg, 6/24).
VOA News: Africa Seeks Equitable Access to Any COVID-19 Vaccine (Marks, 6/24).
ABC (Australia): Coronavirus fears leave pregnant PNG women at risk despite nation’s low infection rate (Whiting, 6/24).
AP: New Delhi plans mass screening effort as virus cases surge (Ghosal, 6/25).
The Hill: India reports single-day record 16,000 new coronavirus cases (Deese, 6/24).
New Humanitarian: Afghanistan’s missing coronavirus patients: Women (Glinski, 6/24).
Washington Post: Coronavirus sweeps through Afghanistan’s security forces (George et al., 6/25).
Xinhua: China’s daily nucleic acid testing capacity tops 3 mln: official (6/24).
The Guardian: Policing of European Covid-19 lockdowns shows racial bias — report (Boffey, 6/24).
Washington Post: Hit Hard by Coronavirus, Russia Holds a Mostly Mask-Free Victory Parade (Higgins, 6/24).
AP: Peru giving up on virus measures in face of sinking economy (Briceño/Weissenstein, 6/24).
The Atlantic: Coronavirus: Thousands of Burials Across Latin America (Taylor, 6/24).
Reuters: WHO director for Americas says 226,000 have died of COVID-19 in region (Boadle/Barrera, 6/24).
AP: U.N. aid chief: Yemen will fall off a cliff if no new funds (Lederer, 6/24).
The Lancet Infectious Diseases: COVID-19 in Iran: round 2 (Venkatesan, July 2020).
NPR: Israel’s Government Wants Spy Agency To Resume COVID-19 Tracing. Spy Chief Objects (Estrin, 6/24).
The Hill: U.S. coronavirus cases at highest level since April (Johnson/Hellmann, 6/24).
New York Times: How the Virus Won (Watkins et al., 6/25).
POLITICO: How U.S. Prisons Became Ground Zero for Covid-19 (Thomas, 6/25).
Reuters: Approval of Trump’s coronavirus response sinks to lowest on record amid surge in cases: Reuters/Ipsos poll (Kahn, 6/24).
Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Lays Bare Poor Conditions in Canada’s Nursing Homes (Vieira, 6/24).
Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Cases Are Accelerating Across U.S. (Krouse et al., 6/24).
Washington Post: Coronavirus deaths lag behind surging infections but may catch up soon (Bernstein, 6/24).
- Flu Vaccine Manufacturers Increasing Production For Upcoming Season; CDC Directly Buying Millions Of Doses For Distribution To States
Washington Post: CDC and drugmakers boost flu vaccine doses amid fears of an unprecedented respiratory illness season
“Worried about a simultaneous assault of the novel coronavirus and seasonal influenza this winter, public health officials and vaccine manufacturers are making millions of extra flu vaccine doses to protect those most vulnerable to the pandemic and influenza, according to government and company officials. Even though flu season doesn’t begin until the fall, major flu vaccine manufacturers say they plan to boost production by about 10 percent, to about 189 million doses, up from 170 million doses last year, to ensure enough doses exist for an anticipated surge in people seeking flu shots. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has taken the rare step of buying 7 million doses directly from manufacturers to be distributed to states for adult vaccination, CDC Director Robert Redfield said in an interview…” (Sun, 6/24).
- U.S. DFC Reveals New Impact Measurement System
Devex: How DFC is assessing development impact
“After numerous consultations and at least six months of beta testing, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation on Thursday for the first time made public details about how it is assessing development impact. The agency has developed a new impact measurement system, Impact Quotient, or IQ, to assess whether a project will receive funding, push companies to have greater development impact, and track whether projects are having the intended impact…” (Saldinger, 6/25).
- DRC Marks Official End To 2nd Deadliest Ebola Outbreak Ever, Continues To Face Measles Epidemic, COVID-19, Another Ebola Outbreak
AP: Congo announces end to 2nd deadliest Ebola outbreak ever
“Eastern Congo marked an official end Thursday to the second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history, which killed 2,280 people over nearly two years, as armed rebels and community mistrust undermined the promise of new vaccines. Thursday’s milestone was overshadowed, though, by the enormous health challenges still facing Congo: the world’s largest measles epidemic, the rising threat of COVID-19, and another new Ebola outbreak in the north…” (Maliro et al., 6/25).
- New Zika Strain Could Lead To Another Epidemic, Researchers Warn; Virus Harms Development Of Brain Collagen In Newborns
Rio Times: New Zika Virus Strain Circulating in Brazil May Lead to Epidemic, Study Says
“A new strain of the zika virus is in circulation in Brazil, according to researchers at the Center for the Integration of Data and Knowledge for Health (CIDACS), of Fiocruz Bahia. Through a tool that monitors the genetic sequences of the virus, scientists have for the first time detected an African strain with the potential to trigger a new epidemic in the country…” (Williams, 6/25).
SciDev.Net: Zika virus ‘harms baby brain collagen development’
“Zika virus can hamper vital collagen development in the brains of babies whose mothers were infected with the disease while pregnant, new research reveals, as the search for a vaccine continues. … In early 2015 Brazil experienced a Zika virus outbreak and six months later the association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly was reported, the World Health Organization says. Outbreaks and evidence of transmission have appeared throughout the Americas, Africa and other regions of the world. This year, Brazil’s Ministry of Health has been notified of more than 3500 probable Zika virus cases…” (Rodrigues, 6/25).
- Bayer To Pay More Than $10B In Settlements Related To Weedkiller Roundup Litigation
Washington Post: Bayer, maker of Roundup weedkiller, agrees to pay $10 billion in cancer settlements
“German pharmaceutical and life sciences giant Bayer has agreed to pay more than $10 billion to settle tens of thousands of current and potential U.S. claims that its weedkiller Roundup causes cancer. The world’s largest seed and agrochemical maker announced the settlement in a news release on Wednesday, saying it will allocate as much as $9.6 billion to resolve current Roundup litigation. The company said the pool will cover roughly 125,000 claims that allege the product leads to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The company said 75 percent of those cases were resolved as part of Wednesday’s agreement…” (Denham, 6/24).
- Chinese Fundraising Effort For WHO Raises Less Than $10K In First Month
VOA News: China’s Publicized WHO Fundraising Drive Falls Short of Hype
“A highly touted Chinese drive to raise funds for the World Health Organization, launched after President Donald Trump announced he was ending financial support for the WHO, has raised less than $10,000 in its first month, according to data posted on the fund’s website. The numbers reveal what critics say is a routine gap between Beijing’s high-profile public statements of support for international institutions and its actual follow-through…” (Xie, 6/24).
- More News In Global Health
CNN Philippines: Tuberculosis amid Covid-19 pandemic (Gomez, 6/25).
Devex: Tech groups, nonprofits accelerate plans to tackle global blood shortage (Cheney, 6/25).
Devex: World Bank staff association sounds alarm over Brazil’s executive director nominee (Igoe, 6/24).
Devex: Is this a DFID merger or an FCO takeover? These are the signs to look for (Worley, 6/24).
Fox Business: Which companies are leading the coronavirus vaccine race? (Fordham, 6/24).
HealthDay News: Vaccine Might Guard Against Bacteria That Cause Diarrhea in Kids (Preidt, 6/24).
The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Stigma during the COVID-19 pandemic (Bagcchi, 7/1).
The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Global shortage of personal protective equipment (Burki, 7/1).
New Humanitarian: Médecins Sans Frontières needs ‘radical change’ on racism: MSF president (Parker, 6/24).
New York Times: Decades-Old Soviet Studies Hint at Coronavirus Strategy (Kramer, 6/24).
New York Times: Breakthrough Drug for Covid-19 May Be Risky for Mild Cases (Rabin, 6/24).
POLITICO: Bungled Lancet study casts shadow over health data industry (Manancourt/Furlong, 6/24).
Pulitzer Center: A Social Media Pandemic (McCarthy, 6/24).
U.N. News: 170 signatories endorse U.N. ceasefire appeal during COVID crisis (6/24).
U.N. News: COVID-19’s far reaching impact on global drug abuse (6/25).
Editorials and Opinions
- Editorial, Opinions Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including U.S. Response, Impact On Health Systems, Vaccine Access
Bloomberg: How the World Views the U.S. Virus Response
Robert Burgess, executive editor for Bloomberg Opinion (6/24).
BMJ Opinion: Mobilising informal healthcare providers in India may help its response to covid-19
Meenakshi Gautham, research fellow in health systems and policy analysis with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues (6/24).
Devex: Why data engagement is key to inclusive, transparent development
Gary Forster, global campaign for aid and development transparency at Publish What You Fund, the global campaign for aid and development transparency (6/24).
Devex: How to provide short- and long-term protection for women affected by COVID-19
Franka Cadée, president of the International Confederation of Midwives, and colleagues (6/25).
Foreign Affairs: A Pandemic Opportunity With Iran
Stuart E. Eizenstat, deputy secretary of the Treasury, under secretary of state for economic affairs, under secretary of commerce, ambassador to the European Union, and chief White House domestic policy adviser under the Clinton and Carter administrations, and Thomas R. Pickering, vice chair of Hills & Company and former U.S. diplomat, including as undersecretary of state for political affairs and ambassador to Russia, India, the United Nations, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, and Jordan (6/24).
The Guardian: How will the world’s poorest people get a coronavirus vaccine?
Achal Prabhala, coordinator of the AccessIBSA project, and Kate Elder, senior vaccines policy adviser at the Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign (6/24).
The Hill: Countries are using the coronavirus to repress and persecute
Sam Brownback, U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom (6/24).
New York Times: Can We Call Trump a Killer?
Charles M. Blow, opinion columnist with the New York Times (6/24).
New York Times: Trump Is Feeding America’s Coronavirus Nightmare
Nicholas Kristof, opinion columnist with the New York Times (6/24).
New York Times: Behind the Gender Gap in Covid-19 Deaths?
Heather Shattuck-Heidorn, co-director of GenderSci Lab at Harvard University, and colleagues (6/24).
From the Global Health Policy Community
- Blogs, Releases Address Impact Of COVID-19 Pandemic On Humanitarian Financing; HIV, TB, Malaria Programs; Indirect Health Impacts On Ethiopia; Other Issues
Center for Global Development: Humanitarian Financing Is Failing the COVID-19 Frontlines
Jeremy Konyndyk, senior policy fellow; Patrick Saez, senior policy fellow; and Rose Worden, research assistant, all at CGD (6/18).
Center for Global Development: Estimating the Indirect Health Impacts of COVID-19 in Ethiopia
Damian Walker, non-resident fellow at CGD, and colleagues (6/24).
Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: New Global Fund Report: Funding Needed to Mitigate The Impact Of COVID-19 as HIV, TB And Malaria Deaths Could Nearly Double (6/24).
U.N.: Never waste a crisis: Corporations invest to ‘recover better’ from COVID-19 (6/24).
UNAIDS: UNAIDS Executive Director sets out HIV/COVID-19 landscape at opening of PCB meeting (6/24).
World Economic Forum: Private sector investors must now step up to quell the COVID-19 crisis
Cyrus Ardalan, chair of the International Finance Facility for Immunisation and chair of OakNorth Bank (6/25).
- New IHME COVID-19 Model Projects Deaths In U.S., U.K., Egypt, Brazil, Mexico, Other Latin American, Caribbean Nations
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: New IHME COVID-19 Model Projects Nearly 180,000 U.S. Deaths (6/24).
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: New IHME COVID-19 Forecasts U.K. Facing Nearly 50,000 Deaths by October 1 (6/24).
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: New IHME COVID-19 Forecasts for Arab League Nations Find More than 50,000 Deaths in Egypt (6/24).
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: New IHME COVID-19 Model Forecasts More Than 166,000 Deaths in Brazil by October 1 (6/24).
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: New IHME COVID-19 Model Forecasts 88,160 Deaths in Mexico by October 1 (6/24).
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: New IHME COVID-19 Model Forecasts Latin American, Caribbean Nations Will See Nearly 388,300 Deaths by October 1 (6/24).
- Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'
Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 382 of the ‘Global Fund Observer.’ The newsletter includes a commentary on the importance of ensuring countries uphold human rights when responding to COVID-19; an article detailing an OIG report that found rising new HIV infections and HIV-related deaths amid a slowing TB case detection rate in Pakistan; and a report on COVID-19’s disruptions on the implementation of Global Fund grants (6/24).
From the U.S. Government
- USAID Improves Score On Publish What You Fund's 2020 Aid Transparency Index
USAID: USAID Improves Our Score on the Aid Transparency Index (ATI)
“On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, Publish What You Fund (PWYF) released its Aid Transparency Index (ATI), the only independent assessment of how the world’s major donors perform in letting the public know where they invest taxpayer resources. … In this year’s Index, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) achieved our best performance yet: we increased our score by eight points from the last Index in 2018, and are in the top tier of the ‘Good’ category, the second-highest ranking. This success is a reflection of improvements in the quality of USAID’s data and the increase in the frequency with which we publish health and humanitarian data…” (6/24).
- USAID Acting Administrator Discusses USAID's Core Values
USAID: USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa on USAID Core Values
In this release, USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa describes USAID’s core values: excellence, integrity, respect, empowerment, inclusion, and commitment to learning (6/24).
- HHS Secretary Provides Statement On End Of Eastern DRC Ebola Outbreak
HHS: HHS Secretary Azar Statement on End of Eastern DRC Ebola Outbreak
In a statement on the end of the Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which the DRC Ministry of Health officially announced on June 25, HHS Secretary Alex Azar notes, “We congratulate the Congolese government and all of our partners on bringing the outbreak to an end. Above all, the victory is a credit to the heroic Congolese health care workers and community members on the ground” (6/25).
- KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic
KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of June 25, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (6/25).
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.