KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

China Denies AP Report It Delayed Sharing Information On Novel Coronavirus With WHO

Reuters: China rejects report that it delayed COVID-19 information sharing with WHO
“China said on Wednesday a news report that said it delayed sharing COVID-19 information with the World Health Organization (WHO) is totally untrue. Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made the remarks during a daily briefing in response to a question about the report by the Associated Press…” (Cadell/Lee, 6/3).

Additional coverage of the AP report is available from Fox News, The Guardian, The Hill, and POLITICO.

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PAHO Director Urges U.S. To Continue Support For Agency As Region Becomes Global COVID-19 Hotspot

Reuters: WHO director for Americas urges U.S. help as coronavirus surges in region
“The World Health Organization’s regional director for the Americas urged the United States on Tuesday to keep helping countries in the region to fight the novel coronavirus even as the Trump administration leaves the U.N. agency. … She said in a virtual briefing that the United States provides 60 percent of the WHO’s regional branch, the Washington-based Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which she heads. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that he was cutting ties with the WHO, accusing it of becoming a puppet of China…” (Boadle/Oviedo, 6/2).

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Biodefense Experts Criticize Trump Administration Plan To Withdraw From WHO; Other Experts Warn Move Could Harm Efforts To Eradicate Polio, Control TB

Bloomberg: Trump’s WHO Exit Threatens Polio, Tuberculosis Fights Along With Covid
“Global efforts to control polio and tuberculosis stand to suffer alongside the battle against the pandemic as a result of U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans to withdraw from the World Health Organization. Trump’s decision last week to terminate the U.S. relationship with the global health body, about a month after he halted funding, leaves many unanswered questions. If he plans to withdraw all U.S. financing and expertise from the WHO, scientists fear a resurgence of deadly diseases the agency has spent years trying to destroy…” (Ring, 6/2).

Homeland Preparedness News: Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense, NTI criticize Trump administration decision to withdraw from WHO
“In separate statements released this week, both the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense and the nonpartisan, nonprofit Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) expressed concern with the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO)…” (Galford, 6/2).

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White House Draft Plan To Establish Pandemic Response Initiative Would 'Gut' USAID By Moving Global Health Bureau To State Department, Former Administrator Says; Trump Signs Order Directing USAID To Take Action On Global Religious Freedom

Devex: White House pandemic proposal would ‘dismember’ USAID, says former administrator
“A draft White House plan for a new pandemic initiative would ‘dismember’ USAID and ‘gut’ the agency’s international disaster response office, a former administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development warned on Tuesday. ‘There are a couple proposals before us,’ said Andrew Natsios, who led USAID during the George W. Bush administration, during an online event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. ‘The one before the (White House National Security Council) basically would dismember AID and move the largest bureau with the most funding with the most success record … to the State Department,’ he said, referring to USAID’s Bureau for Global Health. … The plan, according to documents obtained by Devex, would see the creation of a new initiative called the President’s Response to Outbreaks — or PRO — which would consist of a whole-of-government effort overseen by a coordinator at the State Department, and a new central fund for pandemic preparedness…” (Igoe, 6/3).

The Hill: Trump signs order directing State Dept., USAID to take action on global religious freedom
“President Trump on Tuesday quietly signed an executive order directing the State Department to take more concrete action in countries identified as violating religious freedoms, assigning $50 million to support such efforts. The executive order, called ‘Advancing International Religious Freedom,’ tasks the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to fund programs that promote and protect religious freedoms abroad…” (Conradis, 6/2).

Newsweek: Donald Trump Signs Executive Order to Make Religious Freedom a Foreign Policy Priority
“…The executive order dedicates $50 million for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to fund programs that promote and defend religious freedoms abroad. The order also calls on diplomats to work harder to hold partner countries to account over religious discrimination…” (Da Silva, 6/3).

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New York Times Examines CDC's Mistakes In COVID-19 Response, Experts' Loss Of Confidence In U.S. Public Health Agency

New York Times: The CDC Waited ‘Its Entire Existence for This Moment.’ What Went Wrong?
“…The CDC, long considered the world’s premier health agency, made early testing mistakes that contributed to a cascade of problems that persist today as the [U.S.] tries to reopen. It failed to provide timely counts of infections and deaths, hindered by aging technology and a fractured public health reporting system. And it hesitated in absorbing the lessons of other countries, including the perils of silent carriers spreading the infection. The agency struggled to calibrate its own imperative to be cautious and the need to move fast as the coronavirus ravaged the country, according to a review of thousands of emails and interviews with more than 100 state and federal officials, public health experts, CDC employees and medical workers. In communicating to the public, its leadership was barely visible, its stream of guidance was often slow, and its messages were sometimes confusing, sowing mistrust…” (Lipton et al., 6/3).

New York Times: ‘They Let Us Down’: 5 Takeaways on the CDC’s Coronavirus Response
“…[A] New York Times review of thousands of emails, and interviews with more than 100 state and federal officials, public health experts, CDC employees, and medical workers, documents how the Covid-19 pandemic shook longstanding confidence in the agency and its leader, Dr. Robert R. Redfield. These are some of the key findings…” (Shear, 6/3).

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Protests Supporting Human Rights, Racial Justice Defy Social Distancing Measures Meant To Prevent Novel Coronavirus Spread

IPS: Is the Fight for Human Rights & Racial Justice Overriding the Coronavirus Risk?
“The deadly coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed the lives of over 372,000 people worldwide, has reinforced the concept of ‘social distancing’ … In the U.S., guidelines laid down by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are loudly clear: ‘limit face-to-face contact, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people. Do not gather in groups. And stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.’ But all those warnings have been unceremoniously jettisoned as hundreds and thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets in several cities, including in Hong Kong, Argentina, Lebanon, Brazil, Israel, Ukraine, and India, and most recently in the U.S. and U.K. … The defiant stand has triggered the question: is the fight for human rights and racial justice overriding coronavirus threats — even as thousands have participated in demonstrations violating stay-at-home orders and stoking fears of a sharp increase in infections upending virus control efforts?…” (Deen, 6/2).

NPR: Protesting Racism Versus Risking COVID-19: ‘I Wouldn’t Weigh These Crises Separately’
“Mass protests that have erupted over police brutality toward black people in America are raising concerns about the risk of spreading the coronavirus. But some health experts, even as they urge caution, said they support the demonstrations — because racism also poses a dire health threat…” (Chappell, 6/1).

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U.N. Leaders Call For Greater Focus On Human Rights, Impacts On Racial, Ethnic Minorities, Financing Needs Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

U.N. News: U.N. chief underlines need to protect refugees and migrants in COVID-19 pandemic
“The U.N. Secretary-General has expressed hope that the COVID-19 crisis will lead to a rethinking of how the world supports refugees, migrants, and internally displaced people…” (6/3).

U.N. News: Address ‘appalling impact’ of COVID-19 on minorities, U.N. rights chief urges
“Urgent action is needed to address ‘the major disproportionate impact’ of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic minorities, including people of African descent, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Tuesday…” (6/2).

U.N. News: ‘Unprecedented’ financing needed to halt recession of ‘unparalleled proportions’: Mohammed
“As COVID-19 has halted economic activity and threatens social wellbeing across the globe, the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held a wide-ranging policy discussion on Tuesday, exploring financing options to address the pandemic and mobilize the resources needed for a proactive recovery…” (6/2).

U.N. News: Put human rights at the center of coronavirus response urges Muhammad-Bande
“The nations of the world must put human rights at the heart of their ongoing response to COVID-19 and ensure that everyone can enjoy ‘justice and peace’ wherever they may be, the President of the General Assembly said on Tuesday…” (6/2).

U.N. News: Coronavirus a challenge, and opportunity, to fix remittances system than funnels billions home from abroad
“With a euro here and a dollar there, remittances — the money that migrant workers send home to their families — have been adding up in a big way to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and lift tens of millions out of extreme poverty…” (6/2).

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New WHO Model Predicts COVID-19 Spread In Africa; Minorities In U.K. At Higher Risk Of Death From Virus; Iran Fears 2nd Wave; Scientists Defend Venezuelan Colleagues Over Study

AFRICA

NPR: New WHO Model Forecasts A Different Coronavirus Spread Pattern In Africa (Peralta, 6/2).

Reuters: Uganda to lose $1.6 billion in tourism earnings as a result of COVID-19 (Biryabarema, 6/2).

ASIA

AP: Wuhan tests 10 million people, finds few infections (6/3).

AP: Indonesia cancels hajj pilgrimage due to coronavirus (Tarigan, 6/2).

Reuters: New virus cluster spurs Hong Kong to extend border curbs and limit on gatherings (Kwok, 6/2).

Reuters: India approves Gilead’s remdesivir to treat severe COVID-19 cases (Mitra/Mishra, 6/2).

Reuters: South Korea approves emergency use of Gilead’s anti-viral drug to treat COVID-19 (Smith et al., 6/2).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Health workers, slum dwellers face housing bias as lockdowns lift (Chandran/Batha, 6/3).

EUROPE

AP: U.K. study finds minorities at higher risk of COVID-19 death (Pylas/Lawless, 6/2).

AP: Virus-tracking app angers thousands in Moscow with fines (Litvinova, 6/2).

Reuters: Sweden should have done more to combat coronavirus, health chief says (Ahlander/Johnson, 6/3).

Reuters: Black and Asian people in England more likely to die from COVID-19, says report (Smout/MacLellan, 6/2).

LATIN AMERICA

ABC (Australia): As coronavirus restrictions decimate Guatemala’s economy, white flags are flying in desperation (Capper, 6/2).

New Humanitarian: In Peru’s Amazon, the church fills COVID-19 aid void for indigenous people (Fraser, 6/2).

Reuters: Venezuela government, opposition agree to seek funds to fight coronavirus (Kinosian, 6/2).

Science: Scientists rush to defend Venezuelan colleagues threatened over coronavirus study (Ortega, 6/2).

MIDDLE EAST

AP: Group: Lack of virus tests pushes Afghanistan toward crisis (Faiez, 6/2).

The Guardian: Iran’s rapid rise in Covid-19 cases stokes fears of second wave (Wintour, 6/1).

NORTH AMERICA

The Hill: White House shifts focus from coronavirus (Samuels/Sullivan, 6/2).

Reuters: Coronavirus reaches maximum intensity in Mexico, health official says (Barrera/Eschenbacher, 6/2).

Wall Street Journal: Fauci ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Coronavirus Vaccine (Abbott/Loftus, 6/2).

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E.U.'s Proposed COVID-19 Recovery Plan Places Increase For Development Spending On Budget Guarantees

Devex: E.U.’s COVID-19 development boost will all go on budget guarantees
“The European Commission confirmed Tuesday that all of its proposed boost for development spending in response to the coronavirus crisis will go on budget guarantees aimed at spurring private investment. The commission won rare and effusive praise from nongovernmental organizations last week for including €16.5 billion ($18.2 billion) of foreign spending as part of its €750 billion Next Generation E.U. pandemic recovery plan. Of that €16.5 billion, €5 billion is proposed for humanitarian aid, €10.5 billion for development spending, and €1 billion for the existing European Fund for Sustainable Development, or EFSD — the commission’s first attempt to use European Union taxpayer money to cover part of investors’ potential losses in development-friendly projects in Africa and states neighboring the E.U. The only major caveat from civil society on the plan — which is not yet approved and which E.U. heads of state will discuss later this month — was that not all of the €10.5 billion should be used for budget guarantees…” (Chadwick, 6/3).

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Concerns Over Database Quality Raise Questions About 2 Studies Examining Drug Treatments In COVID-19 Patients

AP: Concerns mount about two studies on drugs for coronavirus
“Concerns are mounting about studies in two influential medical journals on drugs used in people with coronavirus, including one that led multiple countries to stop testing a malaria pill. The New England Journal of Medicine issued an ‘expression of concern‘ Tuesday on a study it published May 1 that suggested widely used blood pressure medicines were not raising the risk of death for people with COVID-19. The study relied on a database with health records from hundreds of hospitals around the world. ‘Substantive concerns’ have been raised about the quality of the information, and the journal has asked the authors to provide evidence it’s reliable, the editors wrote. The same database by the Chicago company Surgisphere Corp., was used in an observational study of nearly 100,000 patients published in Lancet that tied the malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to a higher risk of death in hospitalized patients with the virus. Lancet issued a similar expression of concern about its study on Tuesday, saying it was aware ‘important scientific questions’ had been raised…” (Marchione, 6/2).

Additional coverage of the studies is available from The Guardian, The Hill, Reuters, and Science.

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Yemen Pledging Conference Raises $1.35B For Humanitarian Aid, Short Of $2.4B Goal; U.N. Warns Of Cuts To Food, Health Care Services

New York Times: Yemen Aid Falls Short, Threatening Food and Health Programs
“International donors pledged about $1.35 billion in humanitarian aid for Yemen on Tuesday, far short of the $2.4 billion the United Nations had said was needed to pull a country shredded by years of war, hunger and disease from the brink of further disaster. … United Nations officials warned that without more donations, nearly 400 hospitals and health care centers it finances would have to reduce services just as the coronavirus pandemic has surged in Yemen…” (Yee et al., 6/2).

U.N. News: Yemen: ‘Hanging on by a thread,’ U.N. chief requests funding to meet staggering humanitarian crisis
“… ‘Four people out of every five, 24 million people in all, need lifesaving aid in what remains the world’s largest humanitarian crisis,’ said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. ‘Two million Yemeni children are suffering from acute malnutrition, which could stunt their growth and affect them throughout their lives’…” (6/2).

Additional coverage of the pledging conference and the humanitarian crisis in war-torn Yemen is available from AP (2), Devex, and New Humanitarian.

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New DRC Ebola Outbreak In Équateur Records 9 Cases, 5 Deaths

CIDRAP News: New DRC Ebola outbreak grows to 9 cases, 5 deaths
“Three more cases have been reported in a new Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC’s) Équateur, and health officials have fleshed out more details about the cluster of cases. … In an update, DRC officials reported nine cases, according to UNICEF, an increase of three. And one new death brings that total to five…” (Schnirring, 6/2).

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More News In Global Health

AP: Burkina Faso’s food woes deepen as extremists expand reach (Mednick, 6/3).

Devex: Q&A: How are global health security experts responding to the pressures of COVID-19? (Cornish, 6/3).

Devex: Insufficient PPE pushes NGOs to consider making their own (Lieberman, 6/3).

Devex: Is better hygiene here to stay? (Root, 6/2).

Financial Times: Scientists probe link between high altitude and low coronavirus cases (Long/Hodgson, 6/3).

Homeland Preparedness News: International community joins WHO in supporting open COVID-19 research, science (Galford, 6/2).

NPR: Indian Teen Bikes 700 Miles With Injured Dad, Is Hailed As Hero — And Sparks Debate (Frayer/Pathak, 6/2).

Reuters: India steps up efforts to curb locust infestation (Bhardwaj, 6/2).

Reuters: COVID-19 death toll among nurses doubled in past month, says nurses group (Mantovani/Nebehay, 6/3).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: U.N. expert calls for global ban on ‘cruel’ conversion therapy (Lopez, 6/1).

VOA: Girls Rush to Marriage, Childbirth for Fear of COVID-19 (Seo, 6/2).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Economic Impact, Efforts To Address Other Disease Burdens

CNN: The fight against Covid-19 should also be the fight against tobacco
Kelly Henning, director of public health at Bloomberg Philanthropies (6/2).

The Conversation: Controlling COVID-19 will carry devastating economic cost for developing countries
Borja Santos Porras, executive director at IE School of Global and Public Affairs at IE University (6/2).

Devex: In the battle against COVID-19, women make Somalia stronger
Deqa Yasin Hagi Yusuf, minister of women and human rights development of Somalia (6/1).

Foreign Policy: How Taiwan Can Turn Coronavirus Victory Into Economic Success
Evan A. Feigenbaum, vice president for studies, and Jeremy Smith, junior fellow, both at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (6/1).

Global Health NOW: Germany and COVID-19: What About the Refugees?
David Kamiab Hesari, medical doctoral candidate; Marrium Habib, co-coordinator of the Center for Global Health TUM, Germany; Muhammad Zaman, professor at Boston University; and Clarissa Prazeres da Costa, professor and co-director of the Center for Global Health TUM, Germany (6/2).

The Guardian: Fighting cyclones and coronavirus: how we evacuated millions during a pandemic
Sheikh Hasina, prime minister of Bangladesh and chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, and Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation (6/3).

The Hill: What leaders can do to restore public health and the economy
Beth Cameron, vice president for global biological policy at the Nuclear Threat Initiative (6/2).

IPS: The Pandemic Underlines America’s Ingrained Racism
Alon Ben-Meir, professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU (6/2).

The Lancet Psychiatry: Global mental health and COVID-19
Lola Kola, senior research fellow at the WHO Collaborating Center for Research and Training in Mental Health, Neurosciences, and Drug and Alcohol Abuse in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Ibadan’s College of Medicine (6/2).

National Interest: The U.S. Army Beat Ebola, Could It Now Help Defeat Coronavirus?
Sébastien Roblin, security and military history writer for War Is Boring (6/2).

New York Times: Before Deliberately Infecting People With Coronavirus, Be Sure It’s Worth It
Seema K. Shah, professor of medical ethics at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the Department of Pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine; Holly Fernandez Lynch, assistant professor in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine; and Franklin G. Miller, professor of medical ethics at Cornell University’s Weill School of Medicine (6/2).

Project Syndicate: The Planet After the Pandemic
André Hoffmann, president of the MAVA Foundation and vice-chair of Hoffmann-La Roche (6/2).

Project Syndicate: Time for a Great Reset
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chair of the World Economic Forum (6/3).

STAT: Covid-19 has exposed cracks in the global medicines supply chain. We need to fix them
Anthony Lakavage, senior vice president for global external affairs for U.S. Pharmacopeia (6/2).

The Telegraph: The Coronavirus pandemic will last longer if we ignore other health threats
Angela Richardson, Conservative MP for Guildford, and Theo Clarke, Conservative MP for Stafford (6/2).

Vox: How medical bias against black people is shaping Covid-19 treatment and care
Marya T. Mtshali, lecturer in studies on women, gender, and sexuality at Harvard University (6/2).

Washington Post: The strange new quiet in New York emergency rooms
Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center (6/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Releases Address Inequality, Vaccines, Food Security, Other Topics Related To COVID-19

BMJ Blogs: Inequality in our ethnic minorities: we must act before the next pandemic
Dipesh P. Gopal, GP and honorary research fellow at Queen Mary University of London, and Sonia Adesara, GP registrar in London (6/2).

Center for Global Development: Applying Caution with Unmitigated Scenarios: A Closer Look at Non-COVID-19 Deaths
Damian Walker, non-resident fellow at CGD, and colleagues (6/2).

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders: MSF: Any future COVID-19 vaccines must be affordable and accessible to all (6/2).

Oxfam: Power in the Pandemic: food, farming and coronavirus in the Philippines (6/2).

UNAIDS: Lessons learned from HIV for COVID-19 in Senegal (6/3).

World Bank: Countries Can Take Steps Now to Rebuild from COVID-19 (6/2).

World Economic Forum: 5 charts that tell the story of vaccines today
Douglas Broom, senior writer with Formative Content (6/2).

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Blog Post, Release Examine U.S. Withdrawal From WHO

AEI: World Health Organization and Trump
Roger Bate, visiting scholar at AEI, discusses President Trump’s announcement of a U.S. withdrawal from the World Health Organization. Bate writes, “There may be costs to the U.S. withdrawing support from WHO, but perhaps it might lead to a much needed overhaul of thinking” (6/1).

International Women’s Health Coalition: IWHC Condemns President Trump’s Effort to Withdraw from WHO
This release from the IWHC states, “On May 29, President Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization (WHO). The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) denounces this reckless decision, which will further weaken U.S. global leadership and undermine efforts to improve health and combat pandemics worldwide” (6/2).

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FT Health Discusses Upcoming Gavi Replenishment Conference, Features Interview With Uganda's Minister Of Health On Impact, Challenges Of COVID-19

Financial Times: FT Health: D-Day for donors as vaccines summit aims to raise $7.4bn
The Financial Times’ monthly global health newsletter discusses Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’s five-year replenishment conference, which will take place this Thursday, June 4, and features an interview with Jane Aceng, Uganda’s minister of health, on the challenges COVID-19 poses for the country and the role that donors play in ensuring equitable access to immunizations. The newsletter also provides a roundup of global health-related news stories (Jack/Dodd, 6/3).

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From the U.S. Government

GAO Report Examines FDA's Foreign Drug Inspection Program Amid COVID-19

Government Accountability Office: Drug Safety: COVID-19 Complicates Already Challenged FDA Foreign Inspection Program
“The outbreak of COVID-19 has called greater attention to the United States’ reliance on foreign drug manufacturers. Much of the drug manufacturing for the U.S. market happens overseas — and drugs for treating COVID-19 are no exception. Food and Drug Administration inspections of foreign and domestic drug manufacturers are critical to ensuring drug safety and effectiveness. But FDA began to postpone almost all inspections of foreign manufacturing establishments in March 2020 due to COVID-19. We testified that this lack of foreign inspections removes a critical source of information about the quality of drugs manufactured for the U.S. market…” (6/2).

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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 3, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 have been added to the tracker (6/3).

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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KFF Updates Fact Sheet On U.S., Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance

KFF: The U.S. and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
This fact sheet examines Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (also known as Gavi), an independent, public-private partnership and multilateral funding mechanism that aims to increase access to immunization in poor countries, and explores the role the U.S. government plays in supporting the partnership (6/3).

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