KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Government Urges Americans To Enact Social Distancing Guidance, Anticipates 18-Month Pandemic Response

Financial Times: Donald Trump urges Americans to support ‘war’ on coronavirus
“Donald Trump on Tuesday warned that the U.S. was fighting a ‘war’ against the coronavirus pandemic, as the president urged Americans to heed the social distancing guidelines that his administration released earlier this week…” (Sevastopulo/Manson, 3/17).

New York Times: U.S. Virus Plan Anticipates 18-Month Pandemic and Widespread Shortages
“A federal government plan to combat the coronavirus warned policymakers last week that a pandemic ‘will last 18 months or longer’ and could include ‘multiple waves,’ resulting in widespread shortages that would strain consumers and the nation’s health care system. The 100-page plan, dated Friday, the same day President Trump declared a national emergency, laid out a grim prognosis for the spread of the virus and outlined a response that would activate agencies across the government and potentially employ special presidential powers to mobilize the private sector…” (Baker/Sullivan, 3/17).

Additional coverage of the U.S. government’s domestic response to COVID-19 is available from ABC, The Atlantic, Bloomberg, and Washington Times.

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U.S., U.K. Shift COVID-19 Responses In Light Of Imperial College Report Modeling Prevention Strategies' Impacts On Disease Spread

CNN: U.S., U.K. coronavirus strategies shifted following U.K. epidemiologists’ ominous report
“A study by U.K. epidemiologists predicts that attempts to slow, or mitigate — rather than actively halt, or suppress — the novel coronavirus could overwhelm the number of intensive care hospital beds and lead to about 250,000 deaths in the U.K. and more than a million in the United States during the course of the current pandemic. The study, which has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, was released on Monday by London’s Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team, which says it is advising the U.K. government on its response strategy…” (Walsh, 3/17).

New York Times: Behind the Virus Report That Jarred the U.S. and the U.K. to Action
“…The report, which warned that an uncontrolled spread of the disease could cause as many as 510,000 deaths in Britain, triggered a sudden shift in the government’s comparatively relaxed response to the virus. American officials said the report, which projected up to 2.2 million deaths in the United States from such a spread, also influenced the White House to strengthen its measures to isolate members of the public…” (Landler et al, 3/17).

Washington Post: A chilling scientific paper helped upend U.S. and U.K. coronavirus strategies
“…These kinds of numbers are deeply concerning for countries with top-drawer health-care systems. They are terrifying for less-developed countries, global health experts say. If Britain and the United States pursued more-ambitious measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, to slow but not necessarily stop the epidemic over the coming few months, they could reduce mortality by half, to 260,000 people in the United Kingdom and 1.1 million in the United States…” (Booth, 3/17).

Additional coverage of the Imperial College report is available from Financial Times, National Review, and Reuters.

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WHO, CDC Never Discussed Providing Coronavirus Tests To U.S., According To Officials

CNN: WHO and CDC never discussed providing international test kits to the U.S., global health agency says
“As the United States struggled to launch testing for the novel coronavirus using kits developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization shipped hundreds of thousands of tests to countries around the world. No discussions occurred between WHO and the CDC about providing tests to the United States, WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told CNN on Tuesday, and WHO did not offer coronavirus tests to the CDC. The United States, Jasarevic confirmed, doesn’t ordinarily rely on WHO for tests because the US typically has the capacity to manufacture its own diagnostics…” (Azad, 3/18).

Additional coverage of coronavirus testing in the U.S. is available from The Hill (2), Kaiser Health News, New York Times, and Washington Post.

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Trump Defends Use Of Phrase 'Chinese Virus' As China Expels More Journalists

Washington Times: Trump defends virus tweet as China kicks out more reporters
“President Trump on Tuesday denounced China for falsely claiming the U.S. Army spread the deadly coronavirus in China, as Beijing condemned Mr. Trump’s use of the phrase ‘Chinese Virus’ and said it was expelling more U.S. journalists from the country. Asked Tuesday about a tweet the day before referring to the virus, Mr. Trump told reporters, ‘Well, China was putting out information which was false that our military did this to them.’ ‘That was false and rather than having an argument, I said I had to call it where it came from. It did come from China. So I think it’s a very accurate term,’ he said…” (Gertz, 3/17).

Additional coverage of U.S. and China relations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is available from The Hill, The Intercept, New York Times, and Washington Post.

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News Outlets Examine Global Responses To COVID-19, Social, Economic Impacts

CNBC: Investors in World Bank’s ‘pandemic bonds’ face big losses due to the coronavirus outbreak
“Investors are looking at big losses in two World Bank-issued ‘pandemic bonds,’ which have fallen under the spotlight as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread worldwide. … Growing fear about the economic fallout of the outbreak has driven a sell-off in risk assets as investors seek the perceived safety of government bonds like [the] U.S. Treasury’s…” (Tan, 3/17).

Devex: World Bank Group increases COVID-19 funding, outlines lending plans
“The World Bank Group has announced an additional $2 billion in funding to help with the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing its commitment to $14 billion in funds that will support national health systems, disease containment, diagnosis, treatment, and the private sector…” (Saldinger, 3/17).

NPR: ‘A Socio-Economic Tsunami’: How The World Is Dealing With Pandemic
“…Developments in the past 24 hours came as the worldwide total of confirmed infections from the virus was set to top 200,000, with some 8,000 dead from the resulting COVID-19 disease. Here’s a look at developments by region…” (Neuman, 3/18).

Reuters: Global powers unleash trillions of dollars to stem spiraling coronavirus crisis
“The world’s richest nations prepared more costly measures on Tuesday to combat the global fallout of the coronavirus that has infected tens of thousands of people, triggered social restrictions unseen since World War Two and sent economies spinning toward recession…” (Shepardson/Milliken, 3/17).

USA TODAY: These countries are doing the best and worst jobs fighting coronavirus
“…The majority of global public health experts believe that countries need to act quickly and decisively to reduce what Robbert Muggah, a leading Brazil-based risk and security specialist, said ‘represents the most significant threat to population health and political and economic stability in a generation.’ These measures include easy and efficient access to testing and results, rigorous contact tracing, consistent science-based messaging, quarantines, and a genuine commitment to clamping down on socializing…” (Hjelmgaard, 3/17).

Additional reporting on countries’ responses to COVID-19 and impacts is available for the U.S. (POLITICO), Middle East (New Humanitarian), Latin America (AFP and The Guardian), Europe (The Atlantic, CNBC, U.N. News), Asia (Nature, New York Times [2], Reuters, Science, TIME, and U.N. News), and Africa (Quartz Africa, Reuters, Washington Post).

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Bloomberg Philanthropies To Donate $40M Toward Coronavirus Responses In LMICs

The Hill: Bloomberg Philanthropies pledges $40M to fight coronavirus globally
“Bloomberg Philanthropies will donate $40 million toward a global response to the coronavirus pandemic, the organization founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday. The Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Coronavirus Global Response Initiative will fund rapid-response teams to prevent and slow the disease’s spread in vulnerable low- and middle-income countries. The initiative will have a strong focus on African nations, but will also extend to support mayors and city governments around the world…” (Klar, 3/17).

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White House Announces USAID Acting Head Amid Resignation Of Administrator Green

Devex: Green’s departure at USAID sparks debate about successor
“The White House announced Tuesday that John Barsa, currently the assistant administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, will serve as acting administrator of USAID after Mark Green departs on April 10. Devex first reported that Barsa was likely to be the Trump administration’s pick for the position — news that bucked convention by elevating an assistant administrator into the agency’s top job, instead of the existing deputy administrator, Bonnie Glick…” (Igoe, 3/17).

The Hill: Trump designates new acting head of USAID
“…The change in leadership comes amid a worldwide scrambling to contain the coronavirus pandemic. … Trump’s move to appoint an acting administrator allows Barsa to take on the role quickly. A formal nomination for an administrator will have to go through a Senate confirmation process…” (Kelly, 3/17).

Additional coverage of Green’s resignation is available from TIME.

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New Zealand Passes Bill To Decriminalize Abortion

New Zealand Herald: Abortion law reform passes third reading
“The bill which will see abortion removed from the Crimes Act and the legal test for the procedure scrapped has passed its final stage. The conscience vote about the polarizing Abortion Legislation Bill passed its third reading with 68 in favor and 51 votes opposing. The result was met with applause and a few cheers. The Abortion Legislation Bill now goes to the Governor General for Royal Assent and will then be law…” (Wade, 3/18).

Additional coverage of the bill decriminalizing abortion in New Zealand is available from the AP and The Guardian.

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More News In Global Health

Devex: There is a better way to measure menstrual health, researcher says (Rogers, 3/17).

Devex: Nigeria struggles with largest recorded Lassa fever outbreak (Unah, 3/18).

The Guardian: Study: global banks ‘failing miserably’ on climate crisis by funneling trillions into fossil fuels (Greenfield/Makortoff, 3/18).

The Guardian: Health workers targeted at least 120 times in Yemen conflict — report (McKernan, 3/18).

New York Times: Hundreds of Scientists Scramble to Find a Coronavirus Treatment (Zimmer, 3/18).

Politico: Before Trump’s inauguration, a warning: ‘The worst influenza pandemic since 1918’ (Toosi et al., 3/16).

Reuters: Gender identities on IDs found linked to trans mental health (Graham, 3/17).

U.N. News: New report from U.N. Economic Commission for Europe measures progress on global goals (3/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

Christian Science Monitor: A pandemic’s generous responders
Editorial Board

“In a pandemic, everyone is a responder, even if he or she is self-isolating. Yet for many people during the coronavirus outbreak, the response has been outward. According to the research group Candid, global giving to combat the outbreak and deal with the economic fallout has reached $1.3 billion in a matter of weeks. That’s far higher than for recent disasters such as the Australian bushfires or the 2014 Ebola outbreak. The current tally of private charity may be low compared with what governments are spending. But it comes with a number of differences that will probably make a difference. For one, it shows the spirit of generosity remains high despite the gloom of contagion and predictions of long lockdowns. And it speaks to a confidence that the virus and its effects can be licked by the creativity and nimbleness of charities and foundations. … So far, the bulk of giving is from big donors, such as South Korea tech companies or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The World Health Organization along with a few partners set up a COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. … Giving fills many of the gaps left in government response to the virus. At a time when people think the world is going to pieces, generosity helps them feel whole again” (3/17).

The Atlantic: The Doctor Who Had to Innovate or Else
Conor Friedersdorf, staff writer at the Atlantic (3/18).

Forbes: COVID-19 Coronavirus And Tuberculosis: We Need A Damage Control Plan
Madhukar Pai, Canada research chair of epidemiology and global health, director of global health, and director of the McGill International Tuberculosis Centre at McGill University (3/17).

The Guardian: Coronavirus gives us a terrifying glimpse of the future — and highlights a chilling paradox
Jeff Sparrow, columnist at the Guardian Australia (3/17).

The Hill: The risk of fracture: Coronavirus in the Middle East
R. David Harden, managing director of the Georgetown Strategy Group (3/17).

The Hill: China and the WHO’s chief: Hold them both accountable for pandemic
Bradley A. Thayer, professor of political science at the University of Texas-San Antonio and author, and Lianchao Han, vice president of Citizen Power Initiatives for China and cofounder of the Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars (3/17).

The Lancet: Preparedness is essential for malaria-endemic regions during the COVID-19 pandemic
Jigang Wang of ShenZhen People’s Hospital, the Artemisinin Research Center and the Institute of Chinese Materia Medica at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, and colleagues (3/16).

New York Times: Cancel. The. Olympics.
Jules Boykoff, professor of political science at Pacific University (3/18).

New York Times: The Coronavirus Is Here to Stay, So What Happens Next?
Ezekiel J. Emanuel, chairman of the department of medical ethics and health policy, Susan Ellenberg, professor of biostatistics, and Michael Levy, professor of epidemiology, all at the University of Pennsylvania (3/17).

New York Times: Drug Companies Will Make a Killing From Coronavirus
Mariana Mazzucato, professor at University College London and author, and Azzi Momenghalibaf, senior program officer at the Open Society Public Health Program (3/18).

New York Times: I’m a Doctor in Italy. We Have Never Seen Anything Like This.
Marco Pavesi, anesthesiologist (3/18).

New York Times: I’m a Doctor in Britain. We’re Heading Into the Abyss.
Jessica Potter, respiratory specialist in Britain’s National Health Service and member of EveryDoctor (3/18).

Project Syndicate: A Silent Hero of the Coronavirus Crisis
Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg, professor of economics at Yale University (3/17).

Project Syndicate: Listening to the Pandemic
Federica Mogherini, former high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, vice president of the European Commission, and Italian minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation (3/17).

STAT: A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data
John P.A. Ioannidis, professor at Stanford University and co-director of Stanford’s Meta-Research Innovation Center (3/17).

Washington Post: China’s coronavirus propaganda campaign is putting lives at risk
Josh Rogin, columnist for the Global Opinions section of the Washington Post and political analyst for CNN (3/18).

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More Opinions In Global Health

The Conversation: What mothers told me about Nigeria’s free maternal health services
Anthony Idowu Ajayi, postdoctoral research scientist at the African Population and Health Research Center (3/15).

Devex: Opinion: Here’s how we’ll beat AIDS — with a new era of leadership
Winnie Byanyima, executive director of UNAIDS (3/16).

Devex: Opinion: Why we cannot ignore SRHR — even during a cyclone
Andrea M. Wojnar, UNFPA resident representative for Mozambique (3/13).

The Guardian: When social workers helped to ban child marriage, suddenly girls had a future
Rory Truell, secretary general of the International Federation of Social Workers (3/16).

Project Syndicate: Holistic Thinking for Global Threats
Amy Luers, executive director of Future Earth (3/16).

STAT: Saving lives should be good business. Why doesn’t that apply to finding new antibiotics?
Isaac Stoner, president and chief operating officer of Octagon Therapeutics (3/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Health Community Publishes Blog Posts On COVID-19, Including Impacts On Economies, Institutions

Human Rights Campaign: We’re the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For: At the Crossroads of COVID-19 and HIV
J. Maurice McCants-Pearsall, director of HIV and health equity at HRC (3/17).

Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security: Get Ready for a 1918-like Scenario
Eric Toner, senior scholar and senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (3/13).

Overseas Development Institute: Governments must catch up to curb the coronavirus pandemic
Arkebe Oqubay, distinguished fellow at ODI and senior minister and special adviser to the prime minister of Ethiopia (3/17).

U.N. Dispatch: How the Coronavirus Pandemic is Impacting the United Nations
Mark Leon Goldberg, editor of U.N. Dispatch and host of the Global Dispatches Podcast (3/16).

World Bank: World Bank Group Increases COVID-19 Response to $14 Billion To Help Sustain Economies, Protect Jobs (3/17).

World Economic Forum: This is how much the coronavirus will cost the world’s economy, according to the U.N. (3/17).

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MFAN Co-Chairs Address USAID Administrator's Departure, Urge Agency To Continue Reforms

MFAN: MFAN Expresses Thanks — and Desire to Carry On Reforms — Following Mark Green Departure Announcement
Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) Co-Chairs Lester Munson, Larry Nowels, and Tessie San Martin address USAID Administrator Mark Green’s resignation. In a statement delivered on behalf of MFAN, they write, “…Green has led USAID’s Transformation process and spearheaded the development of his signature Journey to Self-Reliance framework. MFAN has worked to shape both the Transformation and formulation of the Journey to Self-Reliance to ensure that these incorporate the coalition’s principles of effective foreign aid. MFAN has been supportive of many positive elements of these reforms and looks forward to working with USAID’s leadership, to ensure successful implementation. The network is also optimistic that the positive reforms ushered in by Mark Green will continue in the years to come…” (3/17).

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From the U.S. Government

COVID-19 Stable For Several Hours To Days In Aerosols, On Surfaces, NIH Study Shows

NIH: New coronavirus stable for hours on surfaces
“The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces, according to a new study from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA, and Princeton University scientists in the New England Journal of Medicine. The scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The results provide key information about the stability of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 disease, and suggests that people may acquire the virus through the air and after touching contaminated objects…” (3/17).

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MMWR Article Discusses Investigation Findings Of COVID-19 Cases Among Quarantined Cruise Ship's Crew

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Initial Investigation of Transmission of COVID-19 Among Crew Members During Quarantine of a Cruise Ship — Yokohama, Japan, February 2020
Hajime Kamiya, researcher with the Field Epidemiology Training Program at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo, Japan, and colleagues describe findings from the initial phase of an investigation of COVID-19 cases among crew members on the cruise chip quarantined in Yokohama, Japan, in February (3/17).

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CDC Newsletter Provides Collection Of Resources In Advance Of World Water Day

CDC’s “Around the World”: World Water Day
The latest issue of CDC’s “Around the World” newsletter highlights a collection of resources on water-related issues in recognition of the upcoming World Water Day on March 22 (3/17).

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From KFF

KFF Resources Examine COVID-19 Cases Globally, Donor Funding, Other Aspects Of Outbreak

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of March 17, 2020 (3/17).

KFF: The U.S. Response to Coronavirus: Summary of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (Oum/Wexler/Kates, 3/11).

KFF: Donor Funding for the Global Novel Coronavirus Response (Moss, 3/10).

Additional KFF COVID-19 resources, including those focused on the response and impact within the U.S., are available here.

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