KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Coronavirus's Spread Can Be Stopped With More Intense Isolation, Tracking Measures, WHO Experts Say; U.N. To Create Global Fund; NGOs, World's Economies Feel Impacts

New York Times: The Virus Can Be Stopped, but Only With Harsh Steps, Experts Say
“Terrifying though the coronavirus may be, it can be turned back. China, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan have demonstrated that, with furious efforts, the contagion can be brought to heel. Whether they can keep it suppressed remains to be seen. … There is a chance to stop the coronavirus. This contagion has a weakness. Although there are incidents of rampant spread, … the coronavirus more often infects clusters of family members, friends and work colleagues, said Dr. David L. Heymann, who chairs an expert panel advising the World Health Organization on emergencies. No one is certain why the virus travels in this way, but experts see an opening nonetheless. ‘You can contain clusters,’ Dr. Heymann said. ‘You need to identify and stop discrete outbreaks, and then do rigorous contact tracing.’ … In interviews with a dozen of the world’s leading experts on fighting epidemics, there was wide agreement on the steps that must be taken immediately…” (McNeil, 3/22).

Reuters: U.N. to create global coronavirus fund, Norway says
“The United Nations will create a fund to prevent the spread of coronavirus and support the treatment of patients worldwide, Norway said on Monday. The purpose of the fund is to assist developing countries with weak health systems in addressing the crisis as well as to tackle the long-term consequences. The United Nations could make a formal announcement this week, the ministry said…” (Fouche, 3/23).

Washington Post: Around the world, daily life comes to a near-halt as more governments impose restrictions on movement
“…[A] senior official with the World Health Organization warned that even [‘stay-at-home’] measures might be not be enough to contain the virus, which has now infected more than 335,000 people and killed more than 14,000 [as of Sunday evening]. ‘What we really need to focus on is finding those who are sick, those who have the virus, and isolate them, find their contacts and isolate them,’ Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization’s chief emergency expert, said in a Sunday interview with the BBC. Testing has been inconsistent across nations, with U.S. officials advising people to get tested only if they show symptoms of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus…” (Harris, 3/22).

AP: Pandemic bonds prove good for investors, less so for nations (Cheng, 3/22).

Devex: COVID-19 reveals weak spots in NGO contingency planning (Worley, 3/20).

The Guardian: Urgent call to head off new debt crisis in developing world (Elliot, 3/22).

The Hill: WHO official warns more steps needed in addition to lockdowns (Budryk, 3/22).

Reuters: Panic buying, lockdowns may drive world food inflation — FAO, analysts (Thukral, 3/21).

Reuters: World Bank moving forward on first $1.7 billion in pandemic aid projects (Shalal, 3/22).

Science: Cellphone tracking could help stem the spread of coronavirus. Is privacy the price? (Servick, 3/22).

Wall Street Journal: The Worst of the Global Selloff Isn’t Here Yet, Banks and Investors Warn (Hirtenstein/Otani, 3/22).

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NIAID Director Fauci Discusses Role In USG Response To COVID-19 In Several Interviews

The Atlantic: Anthony Fauci’s Plan to Stay Honest
“…Trump doesn’t like to be upstaged. And speaking truths that clash with Trump’s message risks banishment and ridicule from the president. The 79-year-old Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has shown that he’s willing to do it anyway. As Trump touts an existing malaria drug as a potential treatment (‘I’m probably more of a fan of that — maybe than anybody,’ he said at a press briefing Friday), Fauci made plain that the drug’s effectiveness against the coronavirus is unproven…” (Nicholas, 3/22).

Several other news outlets have interviewed or reported on NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, including The Hill, POLITICO, Science, and Washington Times.

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U.S. Federal, State Governments Respond To COVID-19; USAID Offers Advice For Private Sector Partners

CIDRAP News: National Guard activated for 3 states as U.S. COVID-19 cases pass 33,000
“President Trump today announced he has activated the National Guard for three hard-hit states, and Ohio and Louisiana [Sunday] became the latest states to issue mandatory shelter-in-place orders, as the number of COVID-19 infections in the United States soared past 33,000…” (Schnirring, 3/22).

Washington Post: As coronavirus spreads, so do doubts about America’s ability to meet the moment
“As the novel coronavirus spreads through communities across the country, it poses a critical question: Can America’s people, institutions, and government collectively rise to the occasion to defeat a once-in-a-generation crisis? With a global pandemic testing the country’s political, financial, social, and moral fabric, there are growing signs that answering in the affirmative has become increasingly difficult…” (Olorunnipa et al., 3/22).

AP: Iran leader refuses U.S. help, citing virus conspiracy theory (Gambrell, 3/22).

Devex: USAID advice for business partners in responding to COVID-19 (Cornish, 3/23).

DW: Joe Biden to launch ‘shadow’ coronavirus briefings as Trump ‘unfit to lead’ (Martin, 3/22).

The Hill: Khamenei: U.S. offer to help Iran ‘strange’ (Budryk, 3/22).

Wall Street Journal: With Unmandated Sick Leave, U.S. Economy Is More Vulnerable to Pandemics (Torry, 3/22).

Washington Post: Trump writes North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to offer help against the coronavirus (Kim, 3/22).

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National Security, Public Health Experts Warn Of Deteriorations In U.S.-China Relations Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

New York Times: Coronavirus Drives the U.S. and China Deeper Into Global Power Struggle
“…The withering criticism [of China amid the COVID-19 pandemic] is an abrupt change in tone for a president who has long sought to stay on friendly terms with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, and who initially praised Mr. Xi’s government for ‘doing a very professional job’ against the epidemic. But as Mr. Trump and top American officials toughen their condemnations of Mr. Xi’s government, national security and public health experts fear that the two world powers are heading into a new Cold War that could seriously undermine joint efforts to quash the virus and salvage the global economy…” (Crowley et al., 3/22).

Additional coverage of U.S.-China relations amid the COVID-19 pandemic is available from The Hill, NBC, and NPR.

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CDC Epidemiologist Embedded With China's Disease Control Agency Left Post In July Before Position Cut In September

Reuters: Exclusive: U.S. axed CDC expert job in China months before virus outbreak
“Several months before the coronavirus pandemic began, the Trump administration eliminated a key American public health position in Beijing intended to help detect disease outbreaks in China, Reuters has learned. The American disease expert, a medical epidemiologist embedded in China’s disease control agency, left her post in July, according to four sources with knowledge of the issue. … [Linda] Quick left amid a bitter U.S. trade dispute with China when she learned her federally funded post, officially known as resident adviser to the U.S. Field Epidemiology Training Program in China, would be discontinued as of September, the sources said. The U.S. CDC said it first learned of a ‘cluster of 27 cases of pneumonia’ of unexplained origin in Wuhan, China, on Dec. 31…” (Taylor et al., 3/22).

Quartz examines other global and public health positions eliminated by the Trump administration.

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Countries Worldwide Facing Challenges In Containing Spread Of Coronavirus


AP: As virus spreads, Africa gets supplies from China’s Jack Ma (Meseret/Meldrum, 3/22).

NPR: African Countries Respond Quickly To Spread Of COVID-19 (Beaubien, 3/21).

Reuters: Tunisia allocates $850 million to combat effects of coronavirus (Amara, 3/21).

Reuters: Angola, Eritrea, Uganda confirm first cases as coronavirus spreads in Africa (Obulutsa, 3/21).


AP: Workers crowd trains for home as Indian cities close further (Schmall, 3/23).

Financial Times: How Singapore waged war on coronavirus (Palma, 3/22).

NPR: Southeast Asian Nations Tighten Restrictions To Help Contain Spread Of Coronavirus (Sullivan, 3/22).

Reuters: China sees drop in new coronavirus cases; all of them imported (Woo et al., 3/22).

Reuters: Indians breathe easier as lockdowns to halt coronavirus clear smog (Ulmer, 3/23).

Washington Post: A region in Japan launched its own coronavirus fight. It’s now called a ‘model’ in local action (Denyer/Kashiwagi, 3/22).


The Hill: Germany’s Merkel in quarantine after doctor tests positive for coronavirus (Conradis, 3/22).

POLITICO: Greece to go into coronavirus-induced lockdown (Stamouli, 3/22).

The Telegraph: U.K. infections soar by almost 1,000 in a day as retired doctors and nurses sign up to help NHS (Newey et al., 3/21).

The Telegraph: Why have so many coronavirus patients died in Italy? (Newey, 3/22).

Washington Post: As coronavirus surges, a frantic Europe scrambles for hospital beds, ventilators, supplies (Morris et al., 3/22).

Washington Post: Italy’s coronavirus death toll feeds fear of what lies ahead in Europe and the U.S. (Harris, 3/21).


Devex: Colombia’s imperfect potatoes find purpose at Venezuela border (Welsh, 3/23).

PRI: In Central America, efforts to slow spread of coronavirus could lead to ‘autocratic tendencies’ (Valencia, 3/20).


AP: Virus now in Gaza, Syria, raising fears in vulnerable areas (Akram et al., 3/22).

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Media Outlets Examine Efforts To Identify, Test COVID-19 Treatments

ABC: Blood clot medicine, an HIV treatment and other drugs studied for coronavirus fight (Salzman, 3/21).

New York Times: Scientists Identify 69 Drugs to Test Against the Coronavirus (Zimmer, 3/22).

Science: WHO launches global megatrial of the four most promising coronavirus treatments (Kupferschmidt/Cohen, 3/22).

STAT: Gilead pauses access to experimental Covid-19 drug due to ‘overwhelming demand’ (Herper, 3/22).

STAT: Why President Trump is at odds with his medical experts over using malaria drugs against Covid-19 (Herper, 3/22).

Wall Street Journal: Doctors Try Steroids to Treat Coronavirus Patients, Against WHO Counsel (Landers/Inada, 3/22).

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DRC Ebola Outbreak Wanes While Widespread Measles Outbreak Continues, New COVID-19 Cases Mount

Reuters: In the Shadow of Ebola and Covid-19, Measles Rips Through Congo
“…Underfunded and delayed government vaccination drives in the vast Central African nation have left millions of hard-to-reach children vulnerable. Dud vaccines have left thousands of others at risk without knowing, local and international health workers say, in a nation of 81 million people that is ten times the size of Britain. Complicating matters, authorities have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars and manpower into a 19-month Ebola outbreak in the east that has killed over 2,000 people, weakening efforts to contain measles, health officials say. Ebola is finally on the wane, but COVID-19 threatens to steal the limelight…” (Holland, 3/23).

Global Voices: As Ebola outbreak ends, coronavirus begins in DR Congo
“…The first case was reported in Kinshasa, the capital. The patient is Congolese, 52, who returned to DR Congo from France. Upon arrival, he showed no symptoms. However, he was taken to a clinic in the Commune of Ndji’li, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Health, who added that health services are working to trace and identify all persons who have been in contact with the patient since March 8, 2020. There are now at least 23 confirmed cases in DR Congo, as of March 22, according to WHO, including one virus-related death…” (Tsongo, 3/22).

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Media Outlets Recognize World Water Day

CNN: Around 10% of the world population can’t get clean water. Here’s how you can help on World Water Day
“Right now, almost 780 million people live without access to clean water, and more than 2.5 billion need improved sanitation. That’s according to the World Health Organization. March 22 is World Water Day, an annual U.N. observance spotlighting something so basic — and yet so scarce for so many. There are some simple things you can do at home that can help care for the global water supply…” (Blank, 3/22).

Devex: How satellite images could improve water management in Africa
“Climate change is expected to increase water scarcity in Africa. Already, 1 in 3 people in Africa face water scarcity and about 400 million lack access to safe drinking water. To further exacerbate this, many African countries don’t have the tools at hand to properly manage their water supplies. Noncomprehensive datasets make it difficult to know how much is coming in through rainfall and how much is washed away. This prevents certain governments from properly managing the supplies they have. … Satellite imagery offers a potential solution for better management…” (Jerving, 3/20).

U.N. News: ‘Count every drop, every drop counts’: U.N. weather agency calls for better water data on World Meteorological Day
“Floods, extreme rainfall, droughts, and melting glaciers … many of the major signs of climate change involve water. On this year’s World Meteorological Day, the U.N. weather agency (WMO) is reinforcing the message of World Water Day, by focusing on the links between climate and water, and calling for better water-related data. In a message to mark the Day, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said that climate and water are ‘inextricably linked. Both lie at the heart of global goals on sustainable development, climate change, and disaster risk reduction’…” (3/23).

U.N. News: World Water Day: Often overlooked, water resources are essential part of solution to climate change
“On World Water Day, the United Nations launched a flagship report which says that reducing both the impacts and drivers of climate change will require major shifts in the way we use and reuse the Earth’s limited water resources. The new global report calls, among others, for concrete efforts to address rising water stress and improve the efficiency of water use in agriculture and industry, and it outlines actions in three areas: first, enabling people to adapt to the impacts of climate change; second, improving the resilience of livelihoods; and, third, reducing the drivers of climate change…” (3/22).

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More News In Global Health

Bloomberg: Coronavirus Slowing Desert Locust Response Amid New Swarms (Gebre/Herbling, 3/22).

Borgen Magazine: S.Res. 260: Fighting Maternal and Child Malnutrition (Frazer, 3/23).

Devex: As misinformation on coronavirus surges, funding trickles in (Worley/Krishnan, 3/23).

The Hill: Former FDA head: ‘Life’s never going to be perfectly normal until we get to a vaccine’ (Budryk, 3/22).

New York Times: Lost Sense of Smell May Be Peculiar Clue to Coronavirus Infection (Rabin, 3/22).

Science: The physician whose 1964 vaccine beat back rubella is working to defeat the new coronavirus (Wadman, 3/21).

TIME: Will the Coronavirus Ever Go Away? Here’s What One of the WHO’s Top Experts Thinks (Gunia, 3/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

The Atlantic: When Disease Comes, Rulers Grab More Power
Anne Applebaum, staff writer at the Atlantic (3/23).

The Atlantic: What the Great Plague of Athens Can Teach Us Now
Katherine Kelaidis, resident scholar at the National Hellenic Museum (3/23).

Bloomberg: Coronavirus Will Forever Change Global Order
Brooke Sample, editor for Bloomberg Opinion (3/22).

CNN: What we’ve learned from the HIV pandemic
James Krellenstein, HIV activist, co-founder of the PrEP4All Collaboration, and organizer of an emergency working group to address the coronavirus pandemic in New York, and Denis Nash, professor of epidemiology at the CUNY Public Health School and executive director of the CUNY Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health (3/21).

The Conversation: Why a one-size-fits-all approach to COVID-19 could have lethal consequences
Alex Broadbent, director of the Institute for the Future of Knowledge and professor of philosophy at the University of Johannesburg, and Benjamin T. H. Smart, associate professor at the University of Johannesburg (3/23).

Devex: Opinion: COVID-19 a collective failure, an unprecedented opportunity
Catarina de Albuquerque, CEO of Sanitation and Water for All, and Sue Coates, executive director ad interim of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (3/19).

Financial Times: Rich countries cannot win the war against coronavirus alone
Raghuram Rajan, professor of finance at the Chicago Booth School of Business and author (3/20).

Foreign Affairs: It Takes a World to End a Pandemic
Mahlet Mesfin, visiting scholar at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement (3/21).

Foreign Policy: How the World Will Look After the Coronavirus Pandemic
Multiple authors (3/20).

The Hill: Politics and the pandemic — Republicans are rightly worried
Al Hunt, former executive editor of Bloomberg News (3/22).

The Hill: Global conflict in the ‘Age of Coronavirus’: No shortage of deadly threats
Gen. (Ret.) Keith B. Alexander, founding commander of United States Cyber Command and chair, president, and co-CEO of IronNet Cybersecurity, and Jamil N. Jaffer, senior vice president for strategy, partnerships, and corporate development at IronNet Cybersecurity (3/22).

IPS: Fighting Coronavirus: It’s Time to Invest in Universal Public Health
Isabel Ortiz, director of the Global Social Justice Program at the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University, and Thomas Stubbs, senior lecturer in international relations at Royal Holloway at the University of London and research associate in political economy at the Centre for Business Research at the University of Cambridge (3/23).

Mail & Guardian: The coronavirus and Africa: Exposing our vulnerabilities and inequalities
Ayesha Jacub, medical doctor and global health policy analyst (3/22).

New York Times: Google Gives Cover to Trump’s Lies
Greg Bensinger, member of the editorial board at the New York Times (3/21).

New York Times: They Don’t Hide From the Coronavirus, They Confront It
Donald M. Berwick, president emeritus and senior fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (3/23).

New York Times: Thank God the Doctor Is In
Maureen Dowd, opinion columnist at the New York Times (3/21).

New York Times: The Best-Case Outcome for the Coronavirus, and the Worst
Nicholas Kristof, opinion columnist at the New York Times (3/20).

New York Times: Call Trump’s News Conferences What They Are: Propaganda
Jennifer Senior, opinion columnist at the New York Times (3/20).

Project Syndicate: Beating COVID-19 and the Economic Pandemic
Shang-Jin Wei, professor of finance and economics at Columbia Business School and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (3/23).

Scientific American: Has Telemedicine’s Day Finally Come?
Daniel S. Barron, resident psychiatrist at Yale University and member of Yale’s Neuroscience Research Training Program (3/21).

STAT: We don’t send soldiers to fight a war without weapons. Give doctors what they need to fight Covid-19
Jennifer Hushion, certified financial planner (3/21).

STAT: I fought Ebola. Here’s my advice for health workers fighting Covid-19
Adam Levine, emergency physician, associate professor of emergency medicine, and director of the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies and the Division of Global Emergency Medicine at Brown University (3/21).

USA TODAY: Coronavirus hero: Anthony Fauci is a great public servant in a time of great public need
David M. Rubenstein, co-executive chairman of the Carlyle Group (3/22).

Wall Street Journal: These Drugs Are Helping Our Coronavirus Patients
Jeff Colyer, practicing physician and chair of the National Advisory Commission on Rural Health, and Daniel Hinthorn, director of the Division of Infectious Disease at the University of Kansas Medical Center (3/22).

Wired: The Dangers of Relying on Philanthropists During Pandemics
Rob Reich, professor of political science at Stanford University and author, and Mohit Mookim, researcher at the Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford University (3/22).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Health Community Publishes Blog Posts On COVID-19

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF): Battered health systems brace for the impact of coronavirus
Jonathan Whittall, head of humanitarian analysis at MSF (3/20).

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF): MSF sends inflatable hospital and emergency team to Iran to help fight coronavirus outbreak (3/22).

Think Global Health: Where WASH Figures in the COVID-19 Fight
Katherine E. Bliss, senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Global Health Policy Center, and Tanvi Nagpal, director of the international development program at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies (3/22).

Think Global Health: Six Proactive Steps in a Smart Trade Approach to Fighting COVID-19
Jennifer A. Hillman, senior fellow for trade and international political economy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) (3/20).

Think Global Health: Tracking Coronavirus in Countries With and Without Travel Bans
Samantha Kiernan, research associate on global health, economics, and development at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR); Madeleine DeVita, intern with the CFR Global Health Program; and Thomas J. Bollyky, director of the global health program and senior fellow for global health, economics, and development at CFR (3/20).

Think Global Health: Remembering America’s Global Connections in the Time of Coronavirus
Sten H. Vermund, dean of the Yale School of Public Health, Anna M.R. Lauder Professor of Public Health, and professor of pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine, and Chris Collins, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (3/20).

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Global Health Community Recognizes World Water Day, Discusses Related Issues

International Atomic Energy Agency: World Water Day 2020: Water and Climate Change… and Isotopes
Elodie Broussard with the IAEA Office of Public Information and Communication discusses how the IAEA helps countries mitigate the impacts of climate change on water resources (3/20).

Oxfam: Achieving Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 6: The case for gender-transformative water programs
In a briefing note, Emma Crawford, policy adviser at Oxfam, discusses the link between gender equality and access to safe water and sanitation and argues that in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals on both gender equality (SDG5) and universal access to water (SDG6), the “international community must adopt more gender-transformative approaches to water development” (3/22).

Water World: Water resources an essential part of the solution to climate change
“Climate change will affect the availability, quality, and quantity of water needed for basic human needs, thus undermining enjoyment of the basic rights to safe drinking water and sanitation for billions of people, warns the latest U.N. World Water Development Report. The authors call on States to make more concrete commitments to address the challenge…” (3/22).

World Economic Forum: 3 ways to put water onto the climate agenda
Anna Huber, a specialist in water and environmental resilience with the World Economic Forum, discusses three key lessons from global youth to advance an inclusive and effective climate action agenda: 1. Raise awareness … 2. Be an advocate … 3. Seek innovation (3/20).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Secretary Of State Provides Press Statement On Coronavirus In Iran

U.S. Department of State: Khamenei’s Lies About the Wuhan Virus Put Lives at Risk
In a press statement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, discusses the coronavirus in Iran (3/23).

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From KFF

KFF Resources Examine U.S. Military's COVID-19 Response, Case Numbers Globally, Other Aspects Of Outbreak

KFF: The U.S. Military and the Domestic Coronavirus Response: Key Questions
Governors, presidential candidates, and others have asked for military assistance for domestic coronavirus response, and President Trump has stated he is working with states and the Department of Defense to have the military provide additional resources and assets. This brief answers key questions about potential U.S. military engagement in the domestic response to the coronavirus (Michaud/Moss, 3/20).

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of March 23, 2020 (3/23).

KFF: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak Glossary (3/18).

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

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