KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Closer To Declaring Coronavirus Outbreak As Pandemic; Virus Reported In More Than 100 Countries

Devex: Coronavirus: WHO inches closer to declaring a pandemic
“The World Health Organization inched closer to declaring a pandemic Monday, after coming under fire for failing to do so even though COVID-19 cases have now been reported in more than 100 countries. ‘Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real,’ said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a press conference…” (Jerving, 3/10).

Additional coverage of COVID-19 as a potential pandemic is available from CNN and Vox.

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U.S. Congress, President Trump, Administration Officials Struggle To Address Coronavirus Outbreak, Media Outlets Report

POLITICO: Hill leaders struggle with twin coronavirus challenges: Protect the nation — and themselves
“Congressional leaders face an increasingly irreconcilable challenge: insulating the nation from the fallout of the coronavirus epidemic while protecting themselves from contracting the illness. Speaker Nancy Pelosi made clear Monday there are no plans to shut down the Capitol — or restrict public visitors — even as roughly a half-dozen lawmakers announced plans to self-quarantine and alarm spread across Capitol Hill and the country about the fallout from the virus…” (Caygle/Cheney, 3/9).

STAT: Coronavirus spread could last into next year, but impact could be blunted, CDC official says
“Atop federal health official said Monday that the evolving coronavirus outbreak could persist in the United States into next year, while stressing that public health interventions could still reduce the spread of the virus and cases of illness and death…” (Joseph, 3/9).

TIME: The Trump Administration Is Stalling an Intel Report That Warns the U.S. Isn’t Ready for a Global Pandemic
“An annual intelligence report that has been postponed without explanation by President Donald Trump’s administration warns that the U.S. remains unprepared for a global pandemic, two senior government officials who have reviewed a draft of the report tell TIME. The office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) was scheduled to deliver the Worldwide Threat Assessment to the House Intelligence Committee on Feb. 12 and the hearing has not been rescheduled, according to staffers and members of the House and Senate intelligence committees. The DNI’s office declined requests for a comment on the status of the report…” (Walcott, 3/9).

Washington Post: From tweet eruptions to economic steps, Trump struggles for calm amid market meltdown and coronavirus crisis
“President Trump confronted one of the most perilous days of his presidency Monday by first erupting in a barrage of commentary that failed to calm the cratering financial markets, struggling to inspire confidence that his administration could stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. But by the time the sun set in Washington, Trump sounded momentarily chastened by the turbulence and previewed a raft of emergency measures to shore up the economy. ‘We have a very strong economy,’ the president told reporters, ‘but this blindsided the world.’ Trump’s overall handling of the converging crises — while spreading misinformation and blaming others — has unsettled many of his Republican allies on Capitol Hill and even inside the White House, where some aides acknowledged that the president is compounding problems with his grievances and conspiratorial mind-set…” (Rucker et al., 3/9).

Additional coverage of the U.S. government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak is available from Al Jazeera, The Hill (2), MSNBC, New York Times (2) (3), NPR, Reuters, Salon, and Science.

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Nations Respond To COVID-19 Outbreaks With Public Health Emergency Declarations, Funding, Border Closings

Al Jazeera: Misinformation, fake news spark India coronavirus fears (Purohit, 3/10).

AP: Virus woes shift from China to Italy as borders slam shut (Wang et al., 3/10).

AP: No health emergency but virus hits politics in E.U.’s heart (Cook, 3/10).

Bloomberg: Africa CDC Intensifies Coronavirus Response in 43 Countries (Gebre, 3/8).

The Hill: Public health emergency declared in Philippines as virus cases double (Klar, 3/9).

The Hill: Israel imposing 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from abroad (Coleman, 3/9).

Reuters: Isolated North Korea should allow outside coronavirus help: U.N. (Nebehay, 3/9).

Reuters: Lower trend in new coronavirus cases raises glimmer of hope in South Korea (Shin, 3/9).

Reuters: Japan unveils $4 billion coronavirus package, not yet eyeing extra budget (Kajimoto et al, 3/9).

Reuters: Italy extends coronavirus lockdown to whole country as new cases surge (Balmer, 3/9).

The Telegraph: How prepared is Britain for coronavirus pandemic? Sophisticated analysis shows three major gaps (Casey, 3/9).

VOA: U.N. Investigator Warns Against Isolating North Korea as Threat of COVID-19 Looms (Schlein, 3/9).

Washington Post: As more virus cases trace their origins to Egypt, questions rise over government measures (Raghavan/Mahfouz, 3/9).

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Chinese President Xi Jinping Visits Wuhan, Proclaims Victory In China's 'War' On Coronavirus

Washington Post: As coronavirus goes global, China’s Xi asserts victory on first trip to Wuhan since outbreak
“Chinese leader Xi Jinping made a surprise visit Tuesday to Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus outbreak emerged, as he asserts China’s domestic triumph in its ‘war’ against an epidemic now wreaking havoc worldwide. It was Xi’s first visit to the Hubei provincial capital since the outbreak began, and came after official organs ramped up propaganda touting the Communist Party’s response…” (Fifield, 3/10).

Additional coverage of Xi’s visit to Wuhan is available from BBC, CNN, Reuters, and Wall Street Journal.

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News Outlets Examine Impacts Of Coronavirus Outbreak On Global Financial Markets, Economies, World Bank's Pandemic Bonds

CNBC: Here’s why financial markets are tanking around the world (Smith, 3/9).

Financial Times: Critics take aim at ‘failure’ of bond designed to fight disease (Gross, 3/9).

NPR: The Coronavirus’ Impact On Financial Markets And The Economy (Horsley, 3/10).

POLITICO: The end of Europe’s corona denial (Karnitschnig, 3/9).

U.N. News: Coronavirus update: COVID-19 likely to cost economy $1 trillion during 2020, says U.N. trade agency (3/9).

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Gates Foundation, Wellcome, Mastercard Launch $125M COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator; Indian Company Hopes To Play Role In Production Of Newly Developed Vaccines

Seattle Times: Gates Foundation spearheads $125 million drive to develop a coronavirus drug
“As part of a $100 million commitment to the global COVID-19 response, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced Tuesday a collaboration to speed development of treatments for the new coronavirus that has infected more than 100,000 people worldwide — and killed nearly 4,000. The Seattle-based foundation’s $50 million contribution will be combined with $50 million from Wellcome, a major British health philanthropy, and $25 million from Mastercard’s Impact Fund, a philanthropy focused on economic growth…” (Doughton, 3/9).

The Telegraph: The Indian vaccine king attempting to create a coronavirus cure ‘within six months’
“He may not be a household name in Britain but from his baronial-style boardroom overlooking his family’s stud farm in western India, Cyrus Poonawalla oversees a global vaccine empire which directly touches the lives of billions of people. With an estimated fortune of $9.8bn (£7.46bn), Poonawalla, 78, is the founder and chairman of Serum Institute of India (SII) — the world’s biggest manufacturer of vaccines by number of doses produced, equivalent to about 1.5 billion shots per year. Now, as the world scrambles to mount an effective response in the battle against coronavirus, Mr. Poonawalla hopes his company will play a critical role scaling up production once a vaccine has been developed and declared fit for human use…” (Pagnamenta, 3/10).

Additional coverage of the Gates Foundation’s announcement is available from Financial Times and STAT.

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U.S. House Lawmakers Introduce Legislation Authorizing Funding, Staffing For Women's Global Development And Prosperity Initiative

The Hill: House lawmakers introduce legislation to promote women’s global empowerment
“…The Development Prosperity (W-GDP) initiative, which was launched in February 2018 with White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump — the president’s daughter — at the helm, aims to develop economic stability for 50 million women in developing countries by 2025. The W-GDP Act — led by Reps. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) — would authorize two existing positions at the State Department and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) dedicated to working on the initiative and create an interagency steering group and advocacy counsel to assist with its implementation. The bill would also authorize $200 million annually over the course of half a decade that would be placed in a W-GDP Fund at USAID to fund the programs and ‘prioritize efforts to leverage private sector resources to complement W-GDP efforts and programs’…” (Brufke, 3/9).

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Commission On Status Of Women Adopts Political Declaration Reaffirming 1995 Beijing Declaration, Platform For Action

AP: Key U.N. body reaffirms 1995 plan to achieve gender equality
“The main U.N. body promoting women’s rights reaffirmed the 1995 road map to achieve gender equality on Monday and pledged to step up implementation amid warnings of rising gender inequality and conservative push-back against its far-reaching agenda. The Commission on the Status of Women adopted a political declaration backing the 150-page platform for action adopted by 189 countries at the 1995 Beijing women’s conference…” (Lederer, 3/9).

U.N. News: Amid COVID-19 constraints, U.N. women’s commission meets to push gender equality forward
“…Member States adopted a Political Declaration in which they pledged to step up action to fully implement the landmark Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on gender equality, agreed 25 years ago. In his opening address, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres underlined that gender inequality and discrimination against women and girls remain an ‘overwhelming global injustice.’ He said the vision of the Beijing Declaration has only been partly realized as progress has stalled, or even gone into reverse, in some areas…” (3/9).

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High Cost Might Limit Access To Newer, Brand-Name PrEP Regimen, Researchers Say

Reuters Health: New brand-name HIV-prevention pill not worth the added cost: study
“A cheaper HIV prevention pill is going on sale soon in the U.S., but the price drop won’t help as many people if doctors instead prescribe a newer, more expensive brand-name drug, experts say. HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a cocktail of drugs combined in a single pill taken once a day, can reduce the risk of HIV infections from sex or injected drug use by up to 99%, researchers note in the Annals of Internal Medicine. High costs, however, keep many patients who need PrEP from taking it…” (Rapaport, 3/9).

Additional coverage of the study and the authors’ presentation at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections virtual meeting is available from MedPage Today and STAT.

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Financial Times Special Report Examines Global Efforts To Prevent, Treat Diabetes

Financial Times: FT Health: Combating Diabetes
“Over 460m people worldwide have diabetes, a figure that is projected to reach 700m by 2045. This report looks at the factors behind this rise, the latest high-tech solutions, and how health services are coping — or failing to” (Multiple authors, 3/9).

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More News In Global Health

Axios: Paul Farmer on the coronavirus: “This is another caregivers’ disease” (Herman, 3/9).

Devex: 5 questions about the E.U.’s new blueprint for Africa (Chadwick, 3/9).

Devex: Taking eye testing on the road to improve Uganda’s vision (Worley, 3/10).

Science: Mutations can reveal how the coronavirus moves — but they’re easy to overinterpret (Kupferschmidt, 3/9).

STAT: People ‘shed’ high levels of coronavirus, study finds, but most are likely not infectious after recovery begins (Branswell, 3/9).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorials, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Outbreak

Financial Times: Comprehensive testing is key to controlling coronavirus
Editorial Board

“…Diagnosing Covid-19 is crucial to tracking its spread and evaluating the measures necessary to stop it. Some countries have risen to the challenge: South Korea suffered a serious early outbreak, but has tested more than 130,000 people. The picture worldwide is less promising. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — which provides the aggregated U.S. figures — had only tested 1,700 as of Sunday. Beating coronavirus will require much more comprehensive testing. … To treat testing as an afterthought risks allowing the coronavirus epidemic to become even more serious than it already is. Effective diagnosis is the bedrock of an effective medical response. Just as much as vaccine development, testing should be considered a vital public good” (3/10).

New York Times: What the Economy Needs From President Trump
Editorial Board

“…Our society is constructed to reward the rich in good times and punish the poor in bad times. A coronavirus recession would be doubly painful, as lower-income households are likely to pay a heavier toll in both health and wealth. … The government can help. An effective public health response necessarily requires limits on economic activity; an effective fiscal policy response can offset the damage. … Limiting the spread of the virus is the best way to minimize economic damage … An infrastructure package won’t deliver an immediate jolt to the economy. It takes time to plan projects. But that’s exactly what the situation requires. We’re in this mess because our policymakers failed to plan for the future. They have a chance to profit from that painful experience by borrowing now, and then putting the money to good use” (3/9).

Washington Post: The government’s response to the coronavirus must be big — or we’ll pay a greater price
Editorial Board

“…[T]his [coronavirus outbreak, including the economic impact of the outbreak,] is an emergency, and the response should be big — or the country may pay a far higher price. … The White House is reportedly considering infusions of cash to small businesses and tax help for hard-hit sectors, such as airlines and cruise companies. This may be needed, but even with tax breaks, companies will face incentives to lay off workers if demand for their products slips. The goal must be to prop up flagging demand. … The best stimulus quickly gets money into the hands of individuals who need it and will spend it. … Now is not the time for timidity or bickering, but for assertive action” (3/9).

Washington Post: Suddenly we need the ‘Deep State’ Trump has spent three years weakening and demeaning
Editorial Board

“…President Trump has spent three years demeaning and weakening the U.S. government. Now that the United States desperately needs that government to function well, we are paying a steep price. … Mr. Trump derides these [government] agencies as a hostile ‘deep state’ and defunds branches that gather data. … Most notoriously, Mr. Trump in 2018 abolished the directorate for global health security and biodefense on his own National Security Council. ‘Who would have thought we would even be having the subject?’ the president said in apparent amazement while touring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week. But this epidemic was not just predictable, it was predicted. Preparing for it was the purpose of the office that he shut down. Ignorant statements such as that, along with his falsehoods about test kits being widely available and his constant minimizing of the seriousness of the crisis, are damaging in their own right. … As public health officials belatedly stress the importance of social distancing, Mr. Trump’s countermessaging does more than cause confusion. It will cost lives” (3/9).

Al Jazeera: Big Pharma can’t be trusted to solve coronavirus
Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now (3/10).

The Atlantic: Incompetence Exacerbated by Malevolence
Quinta Jurecic, contributing writer at The Atlantic and managing editor of Lawfare, and Benjamin Wittes, contributing writer at The Atlantic and editor in chief of Lawfare (3/10).

Financial Review: How to understand the risks of 100,000 viral deaths
Warwick McKibbin, director of the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis in the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy and director of policy engagement in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Aging Research (3/5).

Foreign Policy: Truth Has Become a Coronavirus Casualty
Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America (3/9).

The Hill: The effort to fight emerging infectious diseases must be holistic
Amanda D. Rodewald, Garvin professor and senior director of conservation science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, faculty in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University and faculty fellow at Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability (3/9).

NBC: Trump tweets about Obama, coronavirus and Ebola reveal hypocrisy of his crisis response
Kurt Bardella, a “Morning Joe” and NBC News THINK contributor (3/10).

New York Magazine: Coronavirus and Autocracy: An Extremely Dangerous Mix
Heather Hurlburt, contributor to New York Magazine (3/9).

New York Times: God vs. Coronavirus
Mattia Ferraresi, journalist (3/10).

New York Times: Protect Caregivers From Coronavirus
Ai-jen Poo, founder of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (3/9).

New York Times: President Trump Is Unfit for This Crisis. Period.
Jennifer Senior, opinion columnist at the New York Times (3/9).

POLITICO: Coronavirus: The Real Reason the Markets Are Worried
Sina Kian, former vice president at the Blackstone Group, former clerk to Chief Justice John Roberts, and adjunct professor at New York University School of Law (3/9).

Project Syndicate: Epidemics and Economic Policy
Kaushik Basu, professor of economics at Cornell University and nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution (3/9).

Project Syndicate: Coronanomics 101
Barry Eichengreen, professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley (3/10).

Project Syndicate: How Europe Should Manage the Coronavirus-Induced Crisis
Daniel Gros, director of the Centre for European Policy Studies (3/9).

Project Syndicate: A Stress Test for Public Health Systems
Jim O’Neill, chair of Chatham House, former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and former U.K. Treasury Minister

Project Syndicate: Plagued by Trumpism
Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel laureate in economics, professor at Columbia University, and chief economist at the Roosevelt Institute (3/9).

TIME: What History’s Economy-Disrupting Outbreaks Can Teach Us About Coronavirus Panic
Elena Conis, historian of U.S. public health and medicine, and director of the joint graduate program in Public Health and Journalism at Berkeley (3/9).

USA TODAY: Taiwan should be a member of WHO — coronavirus doesn’t care about human politics
Mia Ping-Chieh Chen, Boston University journalism student and USA TODAY opinion section intern from Taiwan (3/9).

Washington Post: The coronavirus is another test for Europe. Working together will be key.
Carl Bildt, Washington Post contributing columnist (3/9).

Washington Post: The unique incompetence of Donald Trump in a crisis
Daniel W. Drezner, professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and regular contributor to PostEverything (3/9).

Washington Post: The coronavirus isn’t another Hurricane Katrina. It’s worse.
Michael Gerson, Washington Post columnist (3/9).

Washington Post: The coronavirus is Trump’s Chernobyl
Brian Klaas, Washington Post global opinions contributor (3/9).

Washington Post: We don’t know the most important fact in the world right now
Charles Lane, Washington Post editorial writer and columnist specializing in economic and fiscal policy (3/9).

Washington Post: How Trump’s insecurity is making the coronavirus crisis worse
Paul Waldman, Washington Post opinion writer

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts Address Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Outbreak

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Announcing the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator
Mark Suzman, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (3/9).

World Bank: Swift action can help developing countries limit economic harm of coronavirus
Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, vice president for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions at the World Bank Group (3/9).

World Economic Forum: Minimizing Coronavirus’ impact is a race against time — this chart explains why
Linda Lacina, digital editor with the World Economic Forum (3/8).

World Economic Forum: 7 top things to know about coronavirus today (3/9).

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CFR Experts Examine Feminist Foreign Policy

Foreign Affairs: The Best Foreign Policy Puts Women at the Center
Rachel Vogelstein, senior fellow and director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Jamille Bigio, senior fellow in the Women and Foreign Policy Program at CFR, and Rebecca Turkington, assistant director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at CFR, discuss the meaning of feminist foreign policy and examine the experiences of countries working to implement feminist foreign policies (3/9).

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Former Rwandan Health Minister Discusses Importance of Immunization Efforts, Increased Financing, Gavi's Role

ONE: We need global solidarity in health more than ever before
Richard Sezibera, former health and foreign minister of Rwanda, underscores the need for the global community to “reiterate the importance of increasing immunization efforts and boosting domestic financing and implementation.” Sezibera also discusses the role of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, as well as its upcoming replenishment conference currently planned for June in London (3/9).

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CGD Experts Examine Cancer Treatment Prioritization In LMICs

Center for Global Development: Does Cancer Treatment Warrant Special Consideration from Health Decision-Makers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries?
Adrian Gheorghe, visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development, and colleagues write, “In this blog we consider whether cancer should receive special attention compared to other diseases and public health concerns when allocating scarce public health resources in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). By ‘special’ we mean: priority in consideration of cancer treatments as part of value assessments; the criteria used to assess whether a treatment represents good value for money; and the reimbursement mechanisms” (3/9).

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From KFF

KFF Data Note Assesses Donor Funding For COVID-19 Response

KFF: Donor Funding for the Global Novel Coronavirus Response
This new data note provides an accounting of publicly available information on donor funding to date for the global coronavirus (COVID-19) response (Moss, 3/10).

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KFF Regularly Updating COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of March 9, 2020
This tracker provides the number of cases and deaths from the novel coronavirus by country, the trends in case and death counts by country, and a global map showing which countries have cases and deaths. The data are drawn directly from official coronavirus situation reports released regularly by the WHO (3/9).

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