KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

President Trump Calls Emergency Meeting Of Top U.S. Health Officials; Nation's COVID-19 Response Hurt By Lack Of Funding, House Lawmakers Hear

CNBC: Trump calls emergency meeting with top U.S. health officials at the White House Wednesday
“President Donald Trump has called top U.S. health officials to an emergency meeting at the White House Wednesday morning, cutting a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill short, said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee…” (Higgins-Dunn/Lovelace, 3/11).

CNBC: Coronavirus response hurt by lack of funding for public health labs, CDC director tells Congress
“Lack of funding has hampered the federal government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told lawmakers Tuesday. The hearing in the House was originally intended to address concerns about the CDC’s 2021 budget. But lawmakers’ questions for Director Robert Redfield focused more specifically on the outbreak, particularly regarding the slow rollout of tests across the country. ‘The truth is we’ve underinvested in the public health labs,’ Redfield told them…” (Hirsch/Dzhanova, 3/10).

The Hill: Trump, GOP seek way forward on coronavirus
“President Trump and Senate Republicans held an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the administration’s response to the fast-spreading coronavirus, which has stunned the United States and roiled financial markets. Trump only met with GOP lawmakers, a surprising decision given that some of the states hardest hit by the health crisis, such as California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, are represented entirely by Democrats in the Senate. Past crises, such as the Sept. 11,2001, attacks and the 2008 financial crisis, have brought the parties together on Capitol Hill, but this time has been different…” (Bolton, 3/10).

POLITICO: Exclusive: Email crash impeded HHS response to coronavirus
“As health department officials worked quickly to negotiate an emergency funding package to fight the spreading coronavirus outbreak on Feb. 23, they came to a frustrating realization: Their email system had crashed. The outage in the Health and Human Services secretary’s office stretched on much of the day, with some messages delayed up to 11 hours, creating frustration and slowing the Trump administration’s coronavirus response…” (Diamond, 3/10).

Washington Post: GOP congressman — who warned Trump about pandemics — offers pointed criticism of proposed CDC cuts
“…[At a House subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.)] said that the outbreak of coronavirus is a ‘sort of vindication of the bipartisan judgment over the last several years that this was really an area we needed to make investments.’ Cole didn’t call out the Trump administration or the president by name, but it was clear that he was referencing the steep cuts the White House has proposed to the CDC and the National Institutes of Health in each of its four proposed budgets thus far. It’s important to note that Congress has fended off these proposed cuts, often increasing funding to the programs anyway in the appropriations bills…” (Blake, 3/10).

Additional coverage of the U.S. government response to COVID-19 is available from C-SPAN, Democracy Now!, MedPage Today, POLITICO, Reuters (2), and Roll Call.

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COVID-19 Outbreak Impacting U.S., China Relations

The Guardian: Republicans face backlash over racist labeling of coronavirus
“Senior Republican figures are facing backlash over an apparent effort to label Covid-19 as ‘Chinese coronavirus’ — as China accused some U.S. politicians of ‘disrespecting science’ in order to ‘stigmatize’ the country. Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, are among those to add a geographical marker to the coronavirus in recent days. Pompeo called the virus the ‘Wuhan coronavirus’ on Friday, referring to the Chinese city where the outbreak started, and McCarthy used the term ‘Chinese coronavirus’ on Monday, when he tweeted out a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal agency that has led the U.S. effort to fight the virus…” (Gabbatt, 3/10).

New York Times: Politicians’ Use of ‘Wuhan Virus’ Starts a Debate Health Experts Wanted to Avoid
“…The debate over racism, the coronavirus and partisan politics has grown uglier by the hour, and it is precisely the type of geopolitical back-and-forth that health officials have tried to avoid since releasing more stringent guidelines for naming viruses in 2015. … Attempts to assign blame to a certain place or people in the face of a global health scare have occurred throughout modern history, and it is a phenomenon that public health officials have tried to guard against in recent years. … The concern now is that despite the official name, history — complete with name-calling, rumors, and misinformation spreading — may be repeating itself in a fractured political and media environment…” (Rogers/Jakes, 3/10).

Washington Post: Trump and Xi both hunt for coronavirus victories
“The global crisis sparked by the spread of the coronavirus is fraying the already strained ties between the United States and China. In Washington, a coterie of top Republican officials and right-wing media pundits keep qualifying the epidemic as a ‘Chinese’ or ‘Wuhan’ virus. Not surprisingly, Beijing officials have reacted angrily to U.S. attempts to ‘stigmatize’ their country. … The major disruptions to trade already wrought by the virus may make it impossible for China to meet its commitments under the first phase of a trade deal it clinched with the United States less than two months ago. Sensing opportunity, some U.S. politicians are banging the drum for more-aggressive moves toward ‘decoupling’ the world’s two biggest economies…” (Tharoor, 3/11).

Additional coverage of U.S.-China relations during the coronavirus outbreak is available from The Atlantic, CNBC, The Hill, Newsweek, POLITICO, and Washington Post.

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E.U. Leaders Vow United Response To COVID-19 Outbreak As Italy Reports Highest Daily Deaths Globally; Other Nations Worldwide Work To Respond To New Cases

AP: E.U. vows united response as virus hits its political heart
“European Union leaders vowed Tuesday to stand united in combating the spread of the coronavirus ravaging member country Italy, and agreed to draft a plan to address any medical shortages and set up a fund to help overburdened health care systems…” (Cook et al., 3/10).

POLITICO: E.U. leaders try to retake control of coronavirus response
“…The new measures, including plans for a fast injection of €7.5 billion in assistance to health care systems, small businesses, and other hard-hit sectors of the economy, were announced by Council President Charles Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, following an extraordinary videoconference between the E.U.’s 27 heads of state and government, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, and the Eurogroup president, Mário Centeno…” (Herszenhorn et al., 3/10).

Wall Street Journal: Italy, With Aging Population, Has World’s Highest Daily Deaths From Virus
“The coronavirus has killed more people in Italy than in China over the past week. Doctors are warning that a shortage of beds to treat the severely ill could push the Italian death toll higher still. In less than three weeks, Italy has gone from having just three coronavirus cases to the biggest outbreak after China. And the data point to a troubling trend: Those infected in Italy appear more likely to die. … Italy’s high number of deaths has health experts worried. Many say that, if Italians are more likely to die, then demographics are probably a big part of the reason…” (Stancati, 3/9).

The Atlantic: Italy Shut Down. Which Country Will Be Next? (Donadio, 3/10).

Bloomberg: Africa’s Struggling Health-Care Systems Brace for Coronavirus (Soto/Patton, 3/11).

CIDRAP News: Italy COVID-19 total tops 10,000; funding grows for treatments, vaccines (Schnirring, 3/10).

Devex: Iran, N. Korea, Syria: How sanctions are hindering coronavirus response (Ravelo, 3/11).

Foreign Policy: How Will South Asia Deal With the Coronavirus? (Agrawal, 3/10).

The Hill: U.K. health minister tests positive for coronavirus (Axelrod, 3/10).

NPR: Life During Coronavirus: What Different Countries Are Doing To Stop The Spread (Wamsley, 3/10).

NPR: How A South Korean City Is Changing Tactics To Tamp Down Its COVID-19 Surge (Kuhn, 3/10).

Quartz India: Some Indian states shut down schools and cinemas and seal borders as Covid-19 cases cross 60 (Sharma, 3/11).

Reuters: As new cases of coronavirus subside in China, Wuhan told to go back to work (Woo et al., 3/10).

Reuters: Australia unveils $1.6 billion health package to combat coronavirus (Jose, 3/10).

Reuters: Brazil’s Bolsonaro says coronavirus is not all the media makes it out to be (Paraguassu, 3/10).

Reuters: Buckets for toilets, recycled gloves: Venezuelan hospitals await coronavirus unprepared (Navas/Polanco, 3/10).

Reuters: Democratic Republic of Congo confirms first coronavirus case (3/10).

U.S. News & World Report: What the U.S. Can Learn From Taiwan’s Response to Coronavirus (Sternberg, 3/10).

Vox: Italy’s coronavirus crisis could be America’s (Belluz, 3/11).

Xinhua: WHO chief says COVID-19 cases in significant decline in China, its experience ‘impressive’ (3/10).

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News Outlets Report On COVID-19 Epidemiology, Experts' Advice On Related Issues

CNBC: WHO gives advice on handling mental health toll from the coronavirus (Miller, 3/10).

Mother Jones: 4 Recommendations for Dealing With the Coronavirus from a Public Health Dream Team (Peischel, 3/10).

STAT: Why ‘flattening the curve’ may be the world’s best bet to slow the coronavirus (Branswell, 3/11).

VOA: World Facing Coronavirus Pandemic, Health Expert Says (Dunellari, 3/9).

Washington Post: Coronavirus is mysteriously sparing kids and killing the elderly. Understanding why may help defeat the virus (Wan/Achenbach, 3/10).

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CEPI Approves $4.4M In Additional Funding For Coronavirus Vaccine Research, Bringing Total To $23.7M

Reuters: Epidemic response group ups coronavirus vaccine funding to $23.7 mln
“The CEPI global epidemic response coalition said on Tuesday it will put a further $4.4 million into deals with the biotech firm Novavax and Britain’s University of Oxford to rapidly develop potential vaccines against COVID-19. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which was set up to fight emerging epidemics, said the extra funding brought its total investment in development of new vaccines against the new coronavirus to $23.7 million…” (Kelland, 3/10).

Additional coverage of coronavirus vaccine and treatment research is available from The Guardian, Reuters, and TIME.

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Foreign Policy Examines Trump Administration's Policies Impacting Women's Health, Objections To 'Sexual And Reproductive Health' Language

Foreign Policy: Trump’s War on the Concept of Women’s Health
“One of the signature marks of U.S. President Donald Trump’s foreign policy has been deepening cooperation with authoritarian countries. Among the starkest expressions of that trend has been Washington’s new alliance with some of the world’s worst violators of women’s rights (including Saudi Arabia, Libya, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, among others) to combat a seemingly innocuous bit of medical vocabulary — namely, ‘sexual and reproductive health’…” (Rani, 3/10).

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UNFPA, UNICEF Renew Global Program To End Child Marriage Through 2023

U.N. News: U.N. program to help spare millions from child marriage, extended to 2023
“Millions of girls have been able to avoid ‘an unwanted marriage and an unwelcome end to their childhood,’ since the launch four years ago, of a joint U.N. agency program, the head of the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday. The UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage, a multi-country initiative to help protect the rights of millions of girls, was launched in 2016 with the involvement of families, educators, health providers, governments, as well as religious and community leaders, with the ambitious aim of ending the practice by 2030…” (3/10).

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Food Security Necessary For Stability In Sahel Region, USAID Administrator Green Tells Senate Appropriations Subcommittee

Devex: Food security, troops in the spotlight at U.S. Sahel policy hearing
“Stability in the Sahel is dependent on food security, according to U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green. ‘Food security is absolutely key to all our work in the region,’ Green said at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing Tuesday. … U.S. forces in the region are helping support French forces who are leading the efforts, and if they left, or if the French pulled back, it would likely have immediate impacts on aid needs in the region, Green said. There would be an acceleration of displacement and human suffering that could be ‘easily exploited’ by extremists, he said…” (Saldinger, 3/11).

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Climate Change Accelerating, Threatening Human Health, U.N. Weather Agency Says

AP: U.N.: Last year was second-warmest and decade was hottest ever
“Last year was the second warmest on record, the past decade was the hottest in human history and January was the warmest January since 1850, the head of the U.N. weather agency said Tuesday…” (Lederer, 3/11).

U.N. News: Flagship U.N. study shows accelerating climate change on land, sea and in the atmosphere
“A wide-ranging U.N. climate report, released on Tuesday, shows that climate change is having a major effect on all aspects of the environment, as well as on the health and wellbeing of the global population. The report, The WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2019, which is led by the U.N. weather agency (World Meteorological Organization), contains data from an extensive network of partners…” (3/10).

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'London Patient' In HIV Remission For 30 Months After Undergoing Stem Cell Transplant, Study Says

CNN: Second person cured of HIV is still free of active virus two years on
“The second person ever to be cured of HIV is still free of active virus more than two years on, a study published by medical journal The Lancet HIV revealed on Tuesday. Two and a half years ago, Adam Castillejo — previously identified as the ‘London patient’ — finished HIV antiretroviral therapy. He underwent a stem cell transplant to treat lymphoma and his donor carried a mutation known as CCR5-delta 32, which made him resistant to HIV. Researchers said that in treating his lymphoma, they believe Castillejo, now 40, was cured of HIV…” (Yu/Woodyatt, 3/10).

Additional coverage of the study is available from BBC, The Guardian, MedPage Today, and UPI.

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More News In Global Health

AP: U.S. heart surgeon treats children lacking care in Libya’s war (Chernov/Dana, 3/11).

AP: Norwegian Refugee Council chief urges Venezuela exodus aid (3/10).

MedPage Today: HIV Treatment as Prevention Seemed to Work in Australia (Walker, 3/10).

PRI: This activist group is taking on the state of Honduras in the first trans femicide court case (Hernandez, 3/10).

STAT: Global companies expand the reach of their cancer drugs in China (Chan, 3/10).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Witchcraft beliefs blamed for halting drive to end FGM in Guinea (Batha, 3/10).

U.N. News: FROM THE FIELD: Going the extra mile with vaccines (3/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Containment, Mitigation Efforts Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Washington Post: This is a genuine crisis. Here’s what you can do.
Editorial Board

“This is a moment for plain talk about the new coronavirus. Do not panic, but do not ignore it: There is reason to be worried. A major disruption is inevitable. Smart preparation can mitigate the risk. That preparation should be the responsibility of every one of us, whether we have been alerted by governments, workplaces, and experts or not. Do not wait for the alarm bells to go off…” (3/10).

The Atlantic: Humanity’s Long History of Making Epidemics Worse
Elise A. Mitchell, doctoral candidate at New York University (3/11).

Bloomberg: Remember the Last Global Pandemic? Probably Not
Justin Fox, opinion columnist at Bloomberg and author (3/10).

Financial Times: Coronavirus could force difficult choices on health systems
Anjana Ahuja, science commentator at the Financial Times (3/11).

Foreign Affairs: Science Can’t Save Us From Coronavirus Panic
Amy Lauren Fairchild, dean of the College of Public Health at Ohio State University (3/10).

Foreign Policy: The Multilateral Health System Failed to Stop the Coronavirus
Thomas J. Bollyky, visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development, and Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations (3/10).

Foreign Policy: The Realist’s Guide to the Coronavirus Outbreak
Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University (3/9).

The Guardian: What Ebola taught me about coronavirus: panic will get us nowhere
Jonah Lipton, postdoctoral researcher at the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa at the London School of Economics (3/11).

New Humanitarian: How a bad response to coronavirus will make things worse
Malka Older, sociologist, humanitarian consultant, and author (3/10).

Project Syndicate: COVID-19 by the Numbers
Anatole Kaletsky, chief economist and co-chair of Gavekal Dragonomics (3/10).

Project Syndicate: COVID-19 Is an Opportunity for Europe
Lucrezia Reichlin, professor of economics at the London Business School (3/10).

Washington Post: When a danger is growing exponentially, everything looks fine until it doesn’t
Megan McArdle, columnist at the Washington Post and author (3/10).

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More Opinions In Global Health

The Conversation: Sustainable development goals need a final push with just 10 years to go
Willem Fourie, associate professor at the University of Pretoria and coordinator of the South African SDG Hub at the University of Pretoria (3/8).

The Conversation: The way we measure iron deficiency in children needs to change. Here’s why
John Muthii Muriuki, PhD fellow at Open University (U.K.) at Kenya Medical Research Institute (3/8).

The Conversation: Seven factors that turned the DRC’s Ebola outbreak around
Janusz Paweska, head of the Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (3/8).

Devex: Opinion: Getting strategic about tackling the world’s leading cause of preventable death
Sara Rose Taylor, research officer at the Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control (3/10)

Forbes: Global Health Needs To Be Global & Diverse
Madhukar Pai, Canada research chair of epidemiology and global health at McGill University, director of Global Health, and director of the McGill International Tuberculosis Centre (3/8).

Health24: Opinion: Community-led monitoring is a breakthrough in our HIV response
Anele Yawa, general secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), and Lotti Rutter, associate director of International Policy at Health GAP (3/11).

Washington Post: What’s happening in Syria is genocide
Keenan Kassar, MBA student at the University of Chicago and member of the Syrian American Council (3/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Health Community Publishes Blog Posts, Podcasts Addressing Various Aspects Of COVID-19

BMJ Opinion: Salil Patel: Covid-19 — why putting a name to it matters
Salil Patel, academic foundation doctor in London and research fellow at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at University of Oxford (3/10).

Foreign Policy’s “Don’t Touch Your Face”: Surviving Self-Isolation
James Palmer, senior editor, and Amy Mackinnon, staff writer, both at Foreign Policy

Guttmacher Institute: The COVID-19 Outbreak: Potential Fallout for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
Zara Ahmed and Adam Sonfield, both senior policy managers at the Guttmacher Institute (3/11).

Health Affairs: Mapping Misinformation In The Coronavirus Outbreak
Ana Santos Rutschman, associate professor in the Center for Health Law Studies at Saint Louis University School of Law (3/10).

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: CROI 2020: COVID-19 session explores how we got here, and where we’re going
Antigone Barton, writer and editor at “Science Speaks” (3/10).

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s “Public Health On Call”: From Global to Local: How Local Health Departments Are Managing COVID-19 (Sharfstein, 3/10).

UNDP: Highest level of political commitment needed to fight COVID-19 (3/10).

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CGD Expert Outlines Actions For Potential Global Health Security Challenge Fund

Center for Global Development: The Call for a Global Health Security Challenge Fund
Amanda Glassman, executive vice president at CGD, CEO of CGD Europe, and senior fellow at CGD, discusses a concept note for a potential “Global Health Security Challenge Fund as part of [a] package of actions to be taken at the upcoming G7 meeting in June 2020 at Camp David.” The concept note outlines a set of deliverables that includes the current response to COVID-19 and future global health security needs (3/10).

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From the U.S. Government

White House Coronavirus Task Force Holds Press Briefing On U.S. Efforts To Address COVID-19

White House: Press Briefing by Vice President Pence and Members of the Coronavirus Task Force
During this press briefing, Vice President Pence and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, discuss U.S. efforts to address the ongoing outbreak (3/10).

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U.S. Government Publishes Statements Recognizing International Women's Day

USAID: Statement by USAID Administrator Mark Green on International Women’s Day
“President Trump’s National Security Strategy states, ‘There can be no moral equivalency between nations that uphold the rule of law, empower women, and respect individual rights and those that brutalize and suppress their people.’ Today, as we do every day, we at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) put these words into action in celebration of International Women’s Day. At USAID, we are committed to empowering women and girls across the globe to advance communities in our partner countries on the Journey to Self-Reliance because we know no country can succeed if it excludes the talents and voices of half its population. When women do better, countries do better, communities do better, and families do better…” (3/8).

White House: Presidential Message on International Women’s Day, 2020
“Across the United States and around the world, women are making important contributions to global prosperity, security, government, and innovation. As we celebrate these remarkable achievements on International Women’s Day, we also recognize the critical role our Nation plays in advancing equal opportunity for all women so that they can reach their full potential and inspire the next generation of leaders. … The United States has never been more committed to promoting equal opportunity for all women, and the results speak for themselves. On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the immeasurable ways in which women support our communities, strengthen our country, and sustain the promise of the American Dream each and every day” (3/8).

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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 10, 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 (3/10).

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