KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Media Outlets Examine Trump Administration's Response To COVID-19 Pandemic

AP: Analysis: Trump’s virus playbook offers U.S. vs world strategy
“It’s a ‘foreign’ virus, he says — one that can be fought by closing the nation’s borders to dangerous foreigners carrying scary disease. President Donald Trump has turned to a familiar playbook as he tries to grapple with the spiraling coronavirus outbreak, blaming immigrants for the country’s problems and casting the global health pandemic as another case of the U.S. against the world. It’s an approach that public health officials say ignores the new reality of a situation that is fueling panic and confusion and fundamentally altering the American way of life…” (Colvin/Long, 3/13).

POLITICO: Trump aides pound on China. Health experts say: Please stop.
“They call it the ‘Wuhan virus.’ As a lethal pandemic races across the world, overwhelming health systems and upending entire societies, President Donald Trump’s top aides and allies see an opening to weaken a vulnerable adversary. The Trump team’s escalating drumbeat against China is worrying some public health experts, who say the attempts to blame Beijing for the coronavirus outbreak could harm efforts to combat the spreading contagion, while winning praise from others…” (Toosi, 3/13).

Additional coverage of the Trump administration’s response to COVID-19 is available from The Atlantic, POLITICO, Reuters, and Washington Post.

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News Outlets Discuss U.S., Global Political, Economic Responses To, Impacts From COVID-19 Pandemic

The Atlantic: The Coronavirus’s Real and Immediate Threat to Democracy (Serhan, 3/12).

Devex: Will the private sector unite to fight COVID-19? (Saldinger, 3/13).

Devex: COVID-19 forces international aid groups to limit travel, rethink operations (Lieberman, 3/12).

Foreign Policy: Global Diplomacy Grinds to a Halt on Infection Fears (Lynch/Gramer, 3/12).

The Hill: Brazilian president Bolsonaro tested for coronavirus days after meeting Trump (Coleman, 3/12).

NBC: Spying on coronavirus: A little-known U.S. intel outfit has its most important mission yet (Delanian, 3/13).

New Humanitarian: Q&A: WHO’s Mike Ryan on how countries in crisis can prepare for a coronavirus epidemic (Patnaik, 3/12).

New York Magazine: Obama’s Ebola Czar, Ron Klain, on How Trump Has Bungled the Coronavirus Response (Debenedetti, 3/12).

New York Times: Why Women May Face a Greater Risk of Catching Coronavirus (Gupta, 3/12).

New York Times: The World Has a Plan to Fight Coronavirus. Most Countries Are Not Using it (Gebrekidan, 3/12).

New York Times: Trump Administration Escalates Tensions With Europe as Crisis Looms (Swanson, 3/12).

NPR: Planet Money: Why The Market For Emergency Vaccines Is Like No Other (3/13).

NPR: White House Knew Coronavirus Would Be A ‘Major Threat’ — But Response Fell Short (Gross, 3/12).

PBS NewsHour: U.S. federal response to coronavirus a ‘fiasco,’ says global health expert (Woodruff, 3/12).

Reuters: WHO officials rethink epidemic messaging amid pandemic debate (Kelland/Nebehay, 3/13).

Science: Airport screening is largely futile, research shows (Normile, 3/13).

STAT: Why Trump’s coronavirus speech, designed to calm, deepened panic (Herper, 3/12).

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U.S. Presidential Candidates Biden, Sanders Criticize Trump Administration's Coronavirus Response

AP: Biden pivots focus to Trump amid coronavirus concerns
“Joe Biden blasted President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak on Thursday and outlined how he would combat the threat differently by relying more heavily on global alliances and listening more closely to the recommendations of scientists. ‘This administration has left us woefully unprepared for the exact crisis we now face,’ Biden said from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware…” (Barrow/Chase, 3/12).

New York Times: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders Rebuke Trump Over Virus: ‘The Clock Is Ticking’
“…In his own speech about the pandemic, Senator Bernie Sanders, Mr. Biden’s main rival, also flamed the president’s response. He provided a long list of policy proposals aimed in particular at helping low-income and working-class families, providing a glimpse of the extraordinary measures he might take if he were president. ‘The crisis we face from the coronavirus is on a scale of a major war,’ he said at a news conference in Burlington, Vt. ‘And we must act accordingly’…” (Glueck/Ember, 3/12).

Additional coverage of Biden’s and Sanders’ comments is available from The Hill (2), Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, POLITICO, and Vox.

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New Humanitarian Examines Global Coronavirus Emergency Aid Funding

New Humanitarian: Coronavirus emergency aid funding
“The costs of responding to coronavirus are challenging healthcare systems and governments in some of the world’s richest countries. In poorer countries and war zones, as well as host countries for refugees and other people on the move, the costs could be overwhelming. What international aid money might be needed in those areas, and how much is available? … It’s likely to become a major area of international aid spending. There is no single listing of the aid funding so far although the World Health Organization and the U.S. non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation both track a range of pledges and donations. Leaving aside loans and funding for middle- and high-income countries, here’s a snapshot of emergency funding announcements for coronavirus…” (Parker, 3/12).

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Iran Calls For End To U.S. Sanctions, Asks For Billions In IMF Loans To Address Coronavirus Outbreak

AP: Iran asks for billions in loans as virus death toll climbs
“Iran said Thursday it asked the International Monetary Fund for a $5 billion loan to fight the coronavirus, the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that it has sought such assistance, in a staggering admission of how fragile its economy has become amid the epidemic and punishing U.S. sanctions…” (Karimi/Batrawy, 3/12).

AP: Iran accuses U.S. of ‘economic terrorism,’ urges sanctions end
“Iran’s foreign minister demanded Thursday that the United States immediately halt what he called a ‘campaign of economic terrorism’ and lift sanctions, saying they have made it increasingly difficult for the country to export oil and virtually impossible to import medicine and medical equipment, including to identify and treat coronavirus patients…” (Lederer, 3/12).

Washington Post: Coronavirus burial pits so vast they’re visible from space
“…At the Behesht-e Masoumeh complex in Qom, about 80 miles south of Tehran, the excavation of a new section of the graveyard began as early as Feb. 21, satellite images show, and then rapidly expanded as the virus spread. By the end of the month, two large trenches — their lengths totaling 100 yards — were visible at the site from space. According to expert analysis, video testimony, and official statements, the graves were dug to accommodate the rising number of [coronavirus] victims in Qom…” (Cunningham/Bennett, 3/12).

Additional coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak in Iran is available from Fox News, The Guardian, New York Times, and Vox.

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Italy's Health Care System Stressed Under Coronavirus; Models Show Europe Could Face Disease Surge In Coming Weeks

New York Times: Italy’s Health Care System Groans Under Coronavirus — a Warning to the World
“…In less than three weeks, the coronavirus has overloaded the health care system all over northern Italy. It has turned the hard hit Lombardy region into a grim glimpse of what awaits countries if they cannot slow the spread of the virus and ‘flatten the curve’ of new cases — allowing the sick to be treated without swamping the capacity of hospitals. If not, even hospitals in developed countries with the world’s best health care risk becoming triage wards, forcing ordinary doctors and nurses to make extraordinary decisions about who may live and who may die. Wealthy northern Italy is facing a version of that nightmare already…” (Horowitz, 3/12).

Reuters: Special Report: Italy and South Korea virus outbreaks reveal disparity in deaths and tactics
“In Italy, millions are locked down and more than 1,000 people have died from the coronavirus. In South Korea, hit by the disease at about the same time, only a few thousand are quarantined and 67 people have died. As the virus courses through the world, the story of two outbreaks illustrates a coming problem for countries now grappling with an explosion in cases…” (Parodi et al., 3/12).

Washington Post: Coronavirus curve shows much of Europe could face Italy-like surge within weeks
“Some of the world’s top experts tracking the spread of the coronavirus predict that in a matter of weeks, much of Europe could be facing a similar surge in cases that has locked down Italy, overwhelmed its hospitals in the north and brought the country of 60 million to a standstill. Mathematical models developed by epidemiologists to track the virus show a sharp trajectory of infections in Spain, Germany, France, and Britain. Spain, which declared a state of emergency on Friday, showed particularly concerning exponential growth, some experts said…” (Morris/Booth, 3/13).

Additional coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy is available from the Washington Post (2). Coverage of responses in other regions is available from various sources: Africa (CNN, Mother Jones), Latin America (Devex, The Guardian, Washington Post), and Asia & Pacific (U.S. News & World Report, Reuters).

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Rewire.News Reviews Reproductive Rights Platforms Of Democratic Presidential Candidates Biden, Sanders

Rewire.News: Where Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden Stand on Reproductive Rights
“U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden will face off on the debate stage Sunday night in [Washington, D.C.,], a week after Sanders released a reproductive justice platform and criticized his opponent’s record on abortion rights. … So where do the Democratic Party’s two remaining viable candidates in the presidential primary stand on critical reproductive rights and justice issues? Rewire.News breaks down their respective platforms below…” (Carter, 3/12).

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Science Examines Ousted Cancer Researcher's Experience With NIH Investigations Into Alleged Funding Violations Related To China

Science: Fired cancer scientist says ‘good people are being crushed’ by overzealous probes into possible Chinese ties
“…According to [the Moffitt Cancer Center], [researcher Pearlie Epling-Burnette] and five other senior scientists got the boot because they were involved in collaborations with institutions in China that ‘violated multiple Moffitt policies and federal grant standards.’ But the 59-year-old Epling-Burnette, an immunologist who began working at Moffitt in 1988 and held its equivalent of tenure, disputes that conclusion. In an exclusive interview with ScienceInsider, she says she is being blamed for things that never happened. … Moffitt declined to respond to Epling-Burnette’s comments, saying only that it ‘stands behind the findings of its investigation’…” (Mervis, 3/11).

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U.N. Agencies, SG Call For Peace In Syria As War Enters 10th Year, Warn More Humanitarian Aid Needed

DW: 5 million Syrian children in need due to war
“The U.N. children’s organization UNICEF issued a plea on Friday to support Syrian children as the war in Syria nears the start of its 10th year. … From 2014 through the end of 2019, 5,427 children were killed, UNICEF said in its Syria 9 March 2020 report. The report also estimated that over 5 million children are in need inside Syria and 2.5 million more in neighboring countries…” (Burack, 3/13).

The Lancet: Health care in the Syrian conflict: 9 years on
“The Syrian war enters its tenth year on March 15 with little hope for a definitive end to a conflict that has caused massive destruction and humanitarian crisis for more than 6·1 million internally displaced people and 5·6 million refugees. In the past year alone, the number of people without reliable access to food rose by more than 20% to almost 8 million while half a million children are chronically malnourished, says the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)…” (Devi, 3/14).

Reuters: More than 500 medical sites struck in Syria since 2016: WHO
“The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that it has documented more than 500 military attacks on medical facilities in Syria since it began counting them in 2016, with nearly as many deaths among staff and patients…” (Farge, 3/11).

U.N. News: War in Syria: ‘Carnage’, flouting of rights and international law, must stop: Guterres
“U.N. agencies have underscored their commitment to continue supporting civilians affected by the war in Syria, which this month enters its tenth year. The Secretary-General issued a statement on Thursday, declaring that ‘we cannot allow the tenth year to result in the same carnage, the same flouting of human rights and international humanitarian law.’ U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday highlighted the need for a peaceful solution to the crisis in a message posted on his Twitter account…” (3/12).

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More News In Global Health

CNBC Africa: Rwanda is deploying this new weapon in fight against malaria (3/12).

Devex: Conflicting partner demands a challenge for Australia’s new development policy (Cornish, 3/13).

Devex: Can a wave of innovation bring an end to sickle cell disease in sight? (Adepoju, 3/13).

The Lancet: Rethinking period poverty (Cousins, 3/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorials, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19, Including U.S. Response

New York Times: It’s Time to Declare a National Emergency
Editorial Board

“…Americans need much more from Mr. Trump. … Mr. Trump needs to grasp that the best way to slow the spread of the virus and to minimize long-term economic damage is to make the difficult but necessary decision to put the economy on ice, as leaders are doing in other nations beset by the virus. … Declaring a national emergency would make clear that Mr. Trump understands the magnitude of the challenge, and set an example for leaders in the public and private sectors. … Mr. Trump also needs to take the lead in devising a fiscal response to the crisis. … Most of all, the Trump administration needs to accept, and make universally understood, the severity of the pandemic itself. … There is no way to know for certain if actions taken today will prove necessary or effective. But if the worst comes to pass in the weeks and months ahead, not having taken them will be indefensible” (3/12).

Washington Post: Congress, go big before you go home
Editorial Board

“The coronavirus pandemic poses economic as well as public health risks. … When the coronavirus shock hit, the U.S. economy was performing well; key sectors such as banks and airlines were well-capitalized. If Congress and the president act decisively — much more boldly than they appear to be doing at present — the United States’ private sector and its employees can work through the financial stress and move on to recovery. Like the coronavirus crisis itself, economic pain may, at this point, be unavoidable; also like the epidemic, though, the damage can, and must, be contained” (3/12).

The Atlantic: How Trump Designed His White House to Fail
Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security adviser to Barack Obama (3/13).

The Atlantic: The Other Problematic Outbreak
Yasmeen Serhan, staff writer at the Atlantic, and Timothy McLaughlin, contributing writer at the Atlantic (3/13).

CNN: In speech, Biden shows how a normal president responds in crisis
David Gergen, CNN senior political analyst (3/13).

CNN: Want a coronavirus vaccine? Fund the research
Kevin J. Tracey, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research at Northwell Health (3/12).

Devex: Opinion: How do we tackle a disease that most people don’t know they have?
Imran Khan, chief global technical lead at Sightsavers (3/12).

Financial Times: Don’t close borders against coronavirus
Aaditya Mattoo, chief economist for East Asia and Pacific Region, and Michele Ruta, lead economist in the Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment Global Practice, both at the World Bank (3/13).

The Guardian: Will American cities have a Wuhan experience? Only if they are lucky
Renee C. Wurth, population health scientist, and Nick Obradovich, political scientist, data scientist, and senior research scientist at the Max Planck Institute of Human Development in the Center for Humans & Machines (3/12).

The Hill: How China set forth the global coronavirus crisis into motion
Kristine Lee, associate fellow, and Ashley Feng, research associate, both at the Center for a New American Security (3/12).

Houston Chronicle: Trump’s health care budget cuts puts the world’s children at risk during coronavirus pandemic
Shubhada Hooli, physician with Baylor College of Medicine (3/13).

New York Times: They’ve Contained the Coronavirus. Here’s How.
Benjamin J. Cowling, epidemiologist, and Wey Wen Lim, graduate student in epidemiology (3/13).

New York Times: How the Coronavirus May Force Doctors to Decide Who Can Live and Who Dies
Ezekiel J. Emanuel, vice provost of global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, James Phillips, chief of disaster and operational medicine at George Washington University Hospital, and Govind Persad, assistant professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law (3/12).

Washington Post: Trump’s coronavirus address was an opportunity. He butchered it.
Michael Gerson, columnist at the Washington Post (3/12).

Washington Post: Quarantining cities isn’t needed. But a fast, coordinated response to covid-19 is essential.
Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, and Caitlin M. Rivers, epidemiologist and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (3/12).

Washington Post: Why isn’t the U.S. ready for a pandemic? For politicians, investing in prevention doesn’t pay off
Neil Mahotra, Edith M. Cornell professor of political economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business (3/12).

Washington Post: Iran badly needs coronavirus help. Releasing all hostages could be the key
Jason Rezaian, global opinions writer at the Washington Post (3/12).

Washington Post: Anthony Fauci fights outbreaks with the sledgehammer of truth
Karen Tumulty, columnist at the Washington Post (3/12).

Washington Post: Some countries have been successful in combating the coronavirus. The U.S. is not one of them
Fareed Zakaria, columnist at the Washington Post (3/12).

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More Opinions In Global Health

The Lancet: Climate migration requires a global response
Editorial Board

“…While the world makes provisions for halting the climate emergency, we must recognize the impact it is having right now on the health of people worldwide. People forced from their homes over legitimate concerns about their health find themselves at the mercy of a system that offers them no legal protections, no recompense, no health care, and no safety. Universal health care for migrants, as recommended in our Lancet Migration global collaboration, is a necessity for protecting the health of all migrants. Instituting just this, let alone other recommendations, including greater understanding of patterns of migration, advocacy for the rights of migrants, and addressing the evidence gaps in the field of migration and health, demands a far greater level of international coordination. To delay addressing these issues any longer risks the health and well-being of the millions of people who are already being displaced, let alone those who face an uncertain future in a warming world” (3/14).

Foreign Policy: Venezuela’s Health Care Crisis Now Poses a Global Threat
Kathleen Page, associate professor and medical doctor at Johns Hopkins University, and Tamara Taraciuk Broner, acting deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Americas division covering Venezuela (3/12).

The Guardian: Women shouldering the burden of climate crisis need action, not speeches
Patricia Scotland, secretary general of the Commonwealth (3/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

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

Council on Foreign Relations: African Health Systems Brace for Coronavirus
John Campbell, Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa Policy Studies at CFR (3/12).

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Africa and COVID-19: Facts, figures, and myths
Bertha Serwa Ayi, adjunct assistant professor of medicine at the Kansas Health Sciences Center, adjunct lecturer at the University of Development Studies, Ghana, infectious disease specialist, and fellow at the American College of Physicians (FACP) and the Infectious Disease Society of America (3/12).

Médecins Sans Frontières: As coronavirus spreads, evacuating Greece’s squalid refugee camps is more urgent than ever (3/12).

UNAIDS: Successful global epidemic responses put people at the center
Winnie Byanyima, executive director at UNAIDS (3/12).

World Economic Forum: The coronavirus fallout may be worse for women than men. Here’s why
Rosamond Hutt, senior writer for formative content at the World Economic Forum (3/12).

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WHO Provides Update On State Of Ebola In DRC

WHO: Ebola virus disease — Democratic Republic of the Congo
This post provides an update of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), noting, “It has been over 21 days since the last confirmed case of Ebola virus disease (EVD) has been reported … On 9 March, the last 46 contacts finished their follow-up. These are important milestones in the outbreak as over one maximum incubation period has passed without any confirmed cases of EVD. However, there is still a high risk of re-emergence of EVD, and a critical need to maintain response operations…” (3/12).

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From the U.S. Government

HHS Provides Funding To Support Development Of COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests

HHS: HHS funds development of COVID-19 diagnostic tests
“Two diagnostic tests that may detect severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in approximately one hour will receive advanced development support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) within ASPR will provide approximately $679,000 to DiaSorin Molecular, LLC of Cypress, California, to rapidly develop the Simplexa COVID-19 Direct Assay, and approximately $598,000 to QIAGEN LLC of Germantown, Maryland, to accelerate development of the QIAstat-Dx RPS2 test for COVID-19. The companies will provide the remaining funds for developing their respective diagnostic tests…” (3/13).

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From the Kaiser Family Foundation

KFF Releases Updated Fact Sheet Breaking Down U.S. Global Health Budget By Program Area

KFF: Breaking Down the U.S. Global Health Budget by Program Area
The U.S. government is the largest donor to global health in the world. This KFF fact sheet breaks down the U.S. global health budget through the President’s FY2021 Request by program area: HIV/PEPFAR; tuberculosis (TB); malaria/the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI); the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; maternal & child health (MCH); nutrition; family planning & reproductive health (FP/RH); global health security; and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) (3/12).

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KFF Summarizes Funding Detailed In Coronavirus Supplemental Appropriations Act

KFF: The U.S. Response to Coronavirus: Summary of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020
The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, which was passed with near unanimous support in both the House and Senate, was signed into law by the President on March 6, 2020. The bill provides $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. This summary provides details on funding specified in the bill (Oum/Wexler/Kates, 3/11).

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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 12, 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 (3/12).

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