KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report
In The News
- White House Pauses Testimony Of Infectious Disease Experts, Sidelines CDC In COVID-19 Response, Media Outlets Report; Researchers Say Trump Administration's Ban On Fetal Tissue Research Hinders Progress
POLITICO: White House pauses testimony for officials handling coronavirus response
“The White House has issued a ‘temporary pause’ on congressional testimony for senior officials involved in the coronavirus response, according to correspondence obtained by POLITICO — a move that has some House Democrats complaining about stonewalling even as they acknowledge the need to give health officials space to manage the crisis. The halt in high-level officials appearing at hearings is slated to last through the end of the month and is intended, according to the March 16 letter, to ensure that the Trump administration is ‘directly focused on executing its day-to-day response to COVID-19’…” (Cheney/Ollstein, 3/18).
Washington Post: CDC, the top U.S. public health agency, is sidelined during coronavirus pandemic
“As the United States enters a critical phase in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s leading public health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, appears to be on the sidelines, with its public messages increasingly disrupted or overtaken by the White House. Neither CDC Director Robert Redfield nor Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director who has played key roles in CDC’s emergency responses stretching back two decades, including the 2009 influenza pandemic, have appeared behind the podium during White House coronavirus task force briefings for more than a week…” (Sun, 3/19).
Washington Post: Trump ban on fetal tissue research blocks coronavirus treatment effort
“A senior scientist at a government biomedical research laboratory has been thwarted in his efforts to conduct experiments on possible treatments for the new coronavirus because of the Trump administration’s restrictions on research with human fetal tissue. The scientist, Kim Hasenkrug, an immunologist at the National Institutes of Health’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana, has been appealing for nearly a month to top NIH officials, arguing that the pandemic warrants an exemption to a ban imposed last year prohibiting government researchers from using tissue from abortions in their work…” (Goldstein, 3/18).
- Trump's Use Of 'Chinese Virus' Hinders Pandemic Response, Strains U.S-China Relations, Experts Warn
CNBC: Trump defends calling coronavirus ‘Chinese virus’ — ‘it’s not racist at all’
“President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his habit of calling coronavirus the ‘Chinese virus.’ ‘It’s not racist at all,’ Trump said at a White House press conference to discuss the coronavirus pandemic. ‘No, not at all.’ Trump was asked about his persistent use of the term despite health officials saying that ethnicity does not cause the virus — and reports that dozens of incidents of bias against Chinese-Americans who have been blamed for allegedly spreading the coronavirus…” (Mangan, 3/18).
CNBC: WHO officials warn U.S. President Trump against calling coronavirus ‘the Chinese virus’
“World Health Organization officials warned against calling COVID-19 the ‘Chinese virus’ as President Donald Trump has done, saying that it could unintentionally lead to racial profiling. ‘Viruses know no borders and they don’t care about your ethnicity, the color of your skin, or how much money you have in the bank. So it’s really important we be careful in the language we use lest it lead to the profiling of individuals associated with the virus,’ Dr. Mike Ryan, the executive director of WHO’s emergencies program, said at a news conference Wednesday when asked about Trump’s comments inciting violence against Asians…” (Kopecki, 3/18).
The Hill: Trump, GOP ‘dog whistle’ over coronavirus inflames anti-Chinese rhetoric online: analysis
“Social media mentions promoting anti-Chinese rhetoric soared online after President Trump and GOP lawmakers referred to the coronavirus as a “foreign” and Chinese disease, according to a new analysis by a Washington think tank. … ‘Stigmatization, especially online, about COVID-19 is something that makes an effective public health response much harder,’ said Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research (DFR) Lab, which conducted the analysis published Tuesday…” (Kelly, 3/18).
POLITICO: Virus pushes U.S.-Chinese relationship toward fracture
“The coronavirus may do more to unravel U.S.-Chinese ties than trade wars, technology threats and presidential tweets ever did. The two countries’ relationship — already under enormous pressure in recent years — is on the verge of imploding as both sides seek to assign blame for the virus’ origin and exchange tit-for-tat recriminations on other fronts, including expelling journalists. The fallout from the global pandemic threatens the recent U.S.-Chinese trade deal and could undermine future global stability given the importance of both countries to international trade…” (Toosi/Behsudi, 3/18).
- Some Children Develop Severe COVID-19 Disease, WHO Warns; CDC Analysis Shows Younger People At Risk Of Serious Infection
CNBC: WHO warns some children develop ‘severe’ or ‘critical’ disease from coronavirus
“The World Health Organization said parents need to prepare their kids to guard against COVID-19 after a new study showed that babies and very young children can sometimes develop severe symptoms. … The new study, which was published online in the journal Pediatrics, looked at 2,143 cases of children with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 that were reported to the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between Jan. 16 and Feb. 8. More than 90% of the cases were asymptomatic, mild or moderate cases. However, nearly 6% of the children’s cases were severe or critical, compared with 18.5% for adults…” (Lovelace, 3/18).
The Hill: CDC analysis shows coronavirus poses serious risk for younger people
“Early data analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that younger Americans are at substantial risk of experiencing serious medical problems from the coronavirus sweeping the globe. That data runs counter to some of the early messaging from public health officials in other parts of the world…” (Wilson, 3/18).
U.N. News: Still ‘early days’ to assess COVID-19 impact on women, children — UNICEF official
“…U.N. News spoke to Ms. Luwei Pearson, acting director of UNICEF’s Health Programme Division, about the agency’s quick response to the coronavirus outbreak and other issues related to what is now a global pandemic, including its impact on millions of children faced with school closures…” (3/18).
- Coronavirus Impacts Global Markets, U.N. Operations; World Leaders Work To Mitigate Pandemic's Economic Effects
Reuters: World leaders rush in to shore up panic-hit global financial system
“World finance leaders tried to lift confidence with emergency measures to pour cash into panic-stricken markets on Thursday, as investors everywhere dumped assets, switching to dollars amid the escalating coronavirus pandemic. Policymakers in the United States, Europe, and Asia have slashed interest rates and opened liquidity taps to stabilize economies left almost comatose, with quarantined consumers, broken supply chains, paralyzed transportation, and depleted shops…” (Zaharia, 3/19).
U.N. News: Swift policy action, strong leadership can save millions of jobs, ‘avert the worst’ amid COVID-19 pandemic
“As dire forecasts about the global economy add to the anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.N.’s labour agency (ILO) on Thursday offered a range of urgent measures, which, if governments act quickly, can help to protect workers in the workplace, stimulate the economy and save millions of jobs…” (3/18).
Bloomberg: Pandemic Bond Payouts Likely to Be Held Up By Fine Print (Vossos, 3/18).
Foreign Policy: U.N. Diplomacy In The Age of Contagion (Lynch, 3/18).
The Hill: Asian Development Bank to give $6.5 billion to developing member countries for coronavirus response (Coleman, 3/18).
Reuters: JPMorgan commits $50 million to businesses, people affected by coronavirus (Marshall, 3/18).
- WHO Launches Multi-Country Coronavirus Treatment Study As Global Case Count Passes 200K
CIDRAP News: Global COVID-19 total tops 200,000; WHO unveils massive treatment study
“With outbreaks gaining steam in many countries, the global COVID-19 total passed 200,000 reported cases [Wednesday], and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a large international clinical trial to test five treatment regimens. … Regarding the trial, [WHO Director-General] Tedros said multiple small trials using different methods may not yield strong evidence needed to reveal which ones can save lives. So he said the WHO has organized a large international study — called the SOLIDARITY trial — to get more robust data. He said the simplified study design allows even overloaded hospitals to participate. So far, countries that have agreed to participate include Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and Thailand…” (Schnirring, 3/18).
- Media Outlets Examine Successful Coronavirus Prevention, Containment Strategies, Including Tracking, Isolating Cases, Clear Communication From Leaders
AP: Best strategies against virus: Track, isolate, communicate
“Some strategies are proving more effective than others in containing the pandemic: pro-active efforts to track down and isolate the infected, access to basic, affordable public health care, and clear, reassuring messaging from leaders. East Asia’s experience with the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which also originated in China, has likewise helped…” (Toh/Kurtenbach, 3/19).
New York Times: Which Country Has Flattened the Curve for the Coronavirus?
“…These charts track the number of new confirmed cases each day. Each red line is the seven-day moving average, which smooths out day-to-day anomalies in how the data are reported by authorities. The number of cases in China had a big jump in mid-February because officials changed the way cases were counted. Despite their close proximity to China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan have managed to keep the number of cases down with some success, through vigilant monitoring and early intervention…” (Lai/Collins, 3/19).
NPR: Monitoring How Other Countries Are Handling Coronavirus Cases
“We’ve heard a great deal about the experience of the coronavirus pandemic in China and Europe but how is it impacting other countries? We check in with our reporters in Pakistan, Kenya, and Mexico…” (Hadid et al., 3/19).
- Media Outlets Examine, Experts Comment On Various Aspects Of Coronavirus Pandemic, Including U.S. Response
Devex: Q&A: Quarantined Jan Egeland says COVID-19 must be treated ‘like a war zone’ (Lieberman, 3/18).
Devex: MSF navigating ‘blockages everywhere’ in wake of COVID-19 outbreak (Lieberman, 3/19).
Nature: The coronavirus pandemic in five powerful charts (Callaway, 3/18).
New Yorker: How Governments Respond to Pandemics Like the Coronavirus (Chotiner, 3/18).
New York Times: ‘We’re Petrified’: Immigrants Afraid to Seek Medical Care for Coronavirus (Jordan, 3/18).
NPR: Former State Department Official Comments On U.S. Role In Global Response To Pandemic (Kelley, 3/18).
Quartz: Why won’t the WHO call the coronavirus by its name, SARS-CoV-2? (Hui, 3/18).
USA TODAY: ‘Gross misjudgment’: Experts say Trump’s decision to disband pandemic team hindered coronavirus response (Shesgreen, 3/18).
WBUR: ‘Every American Should Be Outraged’ Says Pandemic Expert About Government Response (Young/Hagan, 3/18).
- U.S. Continues Sanctions Against Iran, Venezuela, Other Nations Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
Globetrotter/Salon: U.S. continues sanctions against Iran and Venezuela during coronavirus pandemic
“…One would expect that a humanitarian crisis of this magnitude would provide the opportunity to suspend or end all inhumane economic sanctions and political blockades against certain countries. The main point here is this: Is this not the time for the imperialist bloc, led by the United States of America, to end the sanctions against Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, and a series of other countries?…” (Prashad/Estrada, 3/18).
Washington Post: While coronavirus ravages Iran, U.S. sanctions squeeze it
“…Under current circumstances, the researchers [at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran,] said, infections would not peak until late May. The death toll could be as high as 3.5 million. That figure might seem enough to stop anyone in their tracks. But this week, the United States announced that it would be expanding its sanctions on Iran, as well as on entities that aided the Iranian government in its trade in petrochemicals and other restricted activities. It’s a strategy that worries allies and enemies alike…” (Taylor, 3/19).
- Devex Pro Reports On New USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa
Devex Pro: Who is John Barsa, the new head of USAID?
“John Barsa’s international development resume is short, but he is well connected within the Trump administration. What will that mean for an agency poised to respond to a global crisis?…” (Igoe, 3/19).
- 2 Clinical Trials Show Experimental Dengue Vaccine Safe, Effective Among Children Despite Previous Disease Exposure
CIDRAP News: Hopeful results from trials of dengue vaccine candidate
“Phase 2 and 3 randomized, controlled clinical trials of Takeda’s tetravalent (four-strain) dengue vaccine candidate show that it is safe, produces immunity in children, and protects against the disease — regardless of previous exposure to different strains of the virus, according to studies published [Tuesday in] The Lancet…” (Beusekom, 3/18).
- Guardian Examines Debate Over Abortion Access In Kenya
The Guardian: Kenya split over campaign to give women the right to safe abortions
“…In Kenya, where abortion is illegal in most cases, and not all women have access to contraception, unregulated — and unsafe — abortions … are common. More than 40% of pregnancies in Kenya are not planned, according to a study from 2012, the latest year for which data is available, by the health ministry and the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC). And while the Kenyan constitution permits abortion only when a woman’s life or health is in danger and emergency treatment is necessary, the study found in the same year that nearly half a million abortions were carried out. … A step towards [relaxing restrictions on abortion] was taken last year when Kenya’s high court ruled that some rape survivors can terminate their pregnancies. … But the campaign has provoked a backlash from conservative groups in Kenya, a country where 85% of the population identifies as Christian…” (Hervey, 3/17).
- More News In Global Health
CNN: Global food waste twice as high as previously estimated, study says (Erdman, 3/18).
Devex: Meet Sarah Champion, the woman tasked with scrutinizing U.K. aid (Worley, 3/18).
Guardian: ‘We have no options’: how water scarcity is changing south Iraq (Peyre-Costa, 3/19).
The New Humanitarian: Violence and obstruction: Cameroon’s deepening aid crisis (Craig, 3/18).
Reuters: Weakened by war and hunger, Yemen braces for coronavirus (Barrington, 3/18).
Editorials and Opinions
- Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic
The Atlantic: We Were Warned
Uri Friedman, staff writer at the Atlantic (3/18).
The Atlantic: Blame China
Shadi Hamid, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution (3/19).
The Atlantic: The Coronavirus Is a Disaster for Feminism
Helen Lewis, staff writer at the Atlantic and author (3/19).
Bloomberg: What Prepares a Country for a Pandemic? An Epidemic Helps
Justin Fox, Bloomberg Opinion columnist (3/18).
Foreign Affairs: The Coronavirus Could Reshape Global Order
Kurt M. Campbell, chair and CEO of the Asia Group, and Rushi Doshi, director of the Brookings Institution’s China Strategy Initiative and fellow at Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center (3/18).
Foreign Affairs: The Coronavirus Is Iran’s Perfect Storm
Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, professor of economics at Virginia Tech and nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution (3/18).
Foreign Policy: HIV-Positive Population Braces for Another Plague
Justin Ling, journalist (3/18).
The Guardian: I saw colleagues die of Ebola. Health workers must not become coronavirus martyrs
George Poe Williams, nurse and member of the National Health Workers Union of Liberia (3/18).
The Hill: Travel bans can’t stop this pandemic
Laura A. Albert, professor of industrial and systems engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the College of Engineering (3/18).
The Hill: The bad record of this national crisis
Steve Israel, director of the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell University (3/18).
JAMA: Presidential Powers and Response to COVID-19
Lawrence O. Gostin, O’Neill professor of global health law and director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, and colleagues (3/18).
New Humanitarian: This age of COVID-19 demands new emergency ethics
Hugo Slim, co-founder of the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights (3/18).
New York Times: We Must Assist One Another or Die
Jan-Werner Müller, professor of politics at Princeton (3/19).
New York Times: The President Is Lying About Coronavirus
Adam Westbrook and Sanya Dosani, producers with Opinion Video at the New York Times (3/18).
POLITICO: Only the ‘Crooks’ of the Pharmaceutical Industry Can Save Us Now
Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review and contributing editor with POLITICO Magazine (3/18).
Project Syndicate: A Pandemic Strategy as Global as COVID-19
Erik Berglöf, director of the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics and Political Science (3/19).
Project Syndicate: The Three Essential Questions about COVID-19
Tom Frieden, president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives and senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations (3/18).
Project Syndicate: The COVID Wake-Up Call
Robert Muggah, co-founder of the Igarapé Institute and SecDev Group (3/18).
Project Syndicate: What COVID-19 Means for International Aid
Arvind Subramanian, nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, visiting lecturer at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and author (3/18).
STAT: We know enough now to act decisively against Covid-19. Social distancing is a good place to start
Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and director of Harvard’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics (3/18).
TIME: Taiwan Has Been Shut Out of Global Health Discussions. Its Participation Could Have Saved Lives
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, prime minister of Denmark from 2001 to 2009 (3/18).
Washington Post: The disturbing echoes of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. coronavirus pandemic
Todd C. Frankel, enterprise reporter on the Washington Post’s Financial desk (3/18).
Washington Post: Mexico is not ready for the coronavirus. Just look at AMLO’s behavior
León Krauze, Global Opinions contributing columnist at the Washington Post (3/18).
Washington Post: Ted Lieu: Trump is stoking xenophobic panic in a time of crisis
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) (3/18).
Washington Post: Shut down the U.S.-Canada border, but don’t repeat the mistakes of 9/11
J.J. McCullough, Global Opinions contributing columnist at the Washington Post (3/18).
WBUR: The Coronavirus And The Poor: Lessons From Ebola
John C. Welch, doctor of nursing practice and senior nurse anesthetist at Boston Children’s Hospital and global anesthesia & perioperative adviser for Partners In Health (3/17).
From the Global Health Policy Community
- Global Health Community Publishes Blog Posts, Tracker On Various Aspects Of COVID-19
BMJ Global Health: Ethical Pandemic Control
James C. Thomas, associate professor of epidemiology in the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health (3/17).
BMJ Opinion: Covid-19: The painful price of ignoring health inequities
Andrew Resnick, surgeon and senior vice president and chief quality and safety officer at Brigham Health; Sandro Galea, physician, epidemiologist, Robert A. Knox professor, and dean at the Boston University School of Public Health; and Karthik Sivashanker, psychiatrist and medical director for quality, safety, and equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and clinical innovation scholar at IHI (3/18).
Brookings Institution’s “Africa In Focus”: Strategies for coping with the health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa
Brahima Sangafowa Coulibaly, senior fellow for global economy and development and director of the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution, and Payce Madden, research analyst for the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings (3/18).
Brookings Institution’s “The Avenue”: The crucial role ‘innovation districts’ will play in the fight against COVID-19
Julie Wagner, nonresident senior fellow for the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution and president of the Global Institute on Innovation Districts (3/18).
Milken Institute: COVID-19 Treatment and Vaccine Tracker (March 2020).
- Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'
Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 375 of the ‘Global Fund Observer.’ The newsletter features an article that recaps “the brief, dramatic history of COVID-19,” an article examining the ability of Africa to possibly contain and treat widespread coronavirus infection in the region, and an analysis of the “supreme audit institutions” of Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda, which conduct annual audits of Global Fund grants in sub-Saharan Africa (3/18).
- PHR, Mwatana Publish Results Of Investigation Into Medical Facility, Health Worker Attacks In Yemen
Physicians for Human Rights: Yemen’s Warring Parties Attacked At Least 120 Health Facilities and Personnel: PHR/Mwatana Report
“Warring parties in Yemen have carried out at least 120 violent attacks on medical facilities and health workers, exposed by a joint investigation published [Wednesday] by Mwatana for Human Rights (Mwatana) and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). The attacks by the Saudi-Emirati-led coalition, internationally recognized government of Yemen, and Ansar Allah armed group (Houthi) forces have decimated Yemen’s health system, inflicted widespread death and suffering on Yemeni civilians, and likely constitute war crimes. The report ‘I Ripped the IV Out and Started Running’: Attacks on Health Care in Yemen is the result of documentation and analysis of almost four years of such attacks across 20 of Yemen’s 22 governorates, spanning from March 2015 until December 2018…” (3/18).
- Ouagadougou Partnership Overcomes Challenges To Improve Access To Family Planning In Francophone West Africa
Think Global Health: An Improbable Success in a Troubled Region
Janet Fleischman, independent consultant for the Ouagadougou Partnership, and Marie Ba, director of the Ouagadougou Partnership Coordination Unit (OPCU), discuss the efforts of the Ouagadougou Partnership in Francophone West Africa to advance access to family planning for health and development. The authors note, “Despite the many challenges ahead, the Ouagadougou Partnership has proven a powerful concept — that by joining together, a group of relatively small and marginalized countries with many barriers to expanding family planning can elevate attention and drive social change. With adaptation and tailoring, the lessons and success factors for this partnership hold promise for other regions of the world” (3/18).
From the U.S. Government
- White House Releases Transcript Of Latest Coronavirus Task Force Briefing
White House: Remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Members of the Coronavirus Task Force in Press Briefing
This posting contains statements made by President Trump, Vice President Pence, Ambassador Deborah Birx, and other U.S. officials at a press briefing on coronavirus held on March 18, as well as questions posed by the media and answers provided by U.S. officials (3/18).
- USAID Releases $62M From Emergency Reserve Fund To Respond To COVID-19
USAID: Statement by USAID Administrator Mark Green on a Second Funding Tranche of $62 Million in Assistance to Respond to the Pandemic of COVID-19
“The U.S. Government announced [on Wednesday] the release of $62 million from the Emergency Reserve Fund for Contagious Infectious-Disease Outbreaks (ERF) at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to address the pandemic of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus now called SARS-CoV-2. This funding fulfills the pledge of up to $100 million for international efforts to combat COVID-19 announced by the U.S. Department of State on February 7, 2020. USAID issued a determination to make these funds available from the ERF because the current pandemic is an emerging health threat with severe consequences to human health which is in the national interest of the United States to respond…” (3/18).
- GAO Report Examines U.S. Global Health Funding Subject To Expanded Mexico City Policy, Including NGO-Declined Funding
Government Accountability Office: Global Health Assistance: Awardees’ Declinations of U.S. Planned Funding Due to Abortion-Related Restrictions
“In 2017, the U.S. government reinstated and expanded a policy that requires foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to agree not to perform or promote abortion as a condition for receiving U.S. global health assistance. This assistance supports family planning, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and other health areas. We found 54 instances in which NGOs did not accept this policy, resulting in about $150 million in declined funding. The policy applied to over 1,300 global health projects as of September 2018, with an estimated $12 billion in planned U.S. assistance.” This GAO report analyzes data provided by U.S. agencies of awards subject to the Mexico City policy and awards in which NGOs declined to accept the terms and conditions of the policy (3/18).
- KFF Resources Examine COVID-19 Cases Globally, Donor Funding, Other Aspects Of Outbreak
KFF: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak Glossary (3/18).
KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of March 18, 2020 (3/18).
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.