KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. Appeals For $2.5T COVID-19 Rescue Package For Emerging Economies; WHO DG Calls On G20 Nations To Address PPE, Medical Supplies Shortages

U.N. News: $2.5 trillion COVID-19 rescue package needed for world’s emerging economies
“The economic fallout from COVID-19 is likely to get ‘much worse’ before it gets better for some six billion people living in developing economies, the U.N. said on Monday, in an appeal for a $2.5 trillion rescue package to boost their resilience to further hardship. According to new analysis from UNCTAD, the U.N. trade and development body, commodity-rich exporting countries will face a $2 trillion to $3 trillion drop in investment from overseas in the next two years…” (3/30).

VOA: WHO Chief Calls on G-20 Nations to Address Shortages
“The World Health Organization chief called on the world’s top economic powers to use their resources to address worldwide shortages of protective equipment and medical supplies, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. During his daily briefing from WHO headquarters in Geneva, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged the Group of 20 top economic nations to work with companies to increase production of medical protective products and other medical goods…” (3/30).

AP: U.N. adopts 4 resolutions, voting by email because of COVID-19 (Lederer, 3/31).

CNBC: ‘Act quickly, act decisively, act robustly’ to stop coronavirus outbreaks, WHO special envoy says (Choudhury, 3/30).

CNN Philippines: Coronavirus won’t go away by itself, WHO says. It needs to be pushed down (Watts, 3/31).

NPR: World Health Organization Antimicrobial Expert Explains Transmission Of Coronavirus (Kelly, 3/30).

U.N. News: Coronavirus necessitates global increase in protective equipment, medical supplies: U.N. health chief (3/30).

U.N. News: COVID-19 stoking xenophobia, hate and exclusion, minority rights expert warns (3/30).

UPI: WHO warns against neglecting non-coronavirus patients (Coote/Jacobson, 3/30).

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Health Officials Watch For COVID-19 Stabilization Across Europe, Spread Into Developing Countries, Refugee Communities

CIDRAP News: Officials watch for COVID-19 to stabilize in Europe; rapid growth shifts to other areas
“Global COVID-19 cases continued their steady increase, with a glimmer of hope that activity may soon stabilize in some of Europe’s hot spots, but with growing worries about the threat of the pandemic virus and the impact of social distancing measures in India…” (Schnirring, 3/30).

The Hill: More than 150,000 people have recovered from coronavirus around the world
“While the United States continues to grapple with a rapidly increasing number of coronavirus cases, the outbreak has seen more than 150,000 patients recover from infection across the globe as of Monday…” (Guzman, 3/30).

NPR: As Pandemic Spreads, The Developing World Looks Like The Next Target
“So far, the coronavirus has hit hardest in wealthy countries. But the pandemic now appears poised to explode in many parts of the developing world — which has far fewer resources to combat the virus. … Analysts caution that it’s impossible to predict with certainty which countries will be hit hardest and which may be able to mount an effective defense. But a list of vulnerable nations includes countries with huge populations and widespread poverty, such as Brazil, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan…” (Myre, 3/31).

Washington Post: World’s 70 million displaced people face a coronavirus disaster, report says
“…Several factors have helped create a virus time bomb: crowded conditions and, for many, a lack of basic shelter; aid that has slowed and in some cases stopped altogether during the crisis; along with the absence of medical care and basic sanitation, according to Refugees International. In a report released Monday, the independent organization said that while a failure to protect refugee communities will threaten societies at large, ‘many nations are turning inward as they seek to protect their own citizens’…” (DeYoung, 3/30).

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Nations Worldwide Take Steps To Mitigate COVID-19 Impacts

AFRICA

Daily Beast: Coronavirus Erupts in Africa — Along With Deadly Rumors and Fear (Obaji, 3/30).

Fox News: Coronavirus measures in Africa escalate to violence as police, military enforce lockdowns (Sorace, 3/30).

France 24: Millions enter lockdown in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, as Africa steps up virus fight (3/31).

New Humanitarian: Coronavirus in crisis-hit Burkina Faso: Healthcare centers close as cases rise (Mednick, 3/30).

Quartz Africa: Africa is watching a potential health disaster turn into an economic crisis, quickly (Adegoke, 3/30).

ASIA

New York Times: North Korea Claims No Coronavirus Cases. Can It Be Trusted? (Sang-Hun, 3/31).

New York Times: China Created a Fail-Safe System to Track Contagions. It Failed (Myers, 3/29).

Radio Free Asia: Estimates Show Wuhan Death Toll Far Higher Than Official Figure (3/27).

Reuters: Indonesia rolls out nearly $25 billion more spending for coronavirus (Jefriando, 3/31).

Reuters: Coronavirus epidemic ‘far from over’ in Asia: WHO official (Crossley/Woo, 3/31).

U.N. News: U.N. helps Pacific prepare for COVID-19 pandemic, warns that children are ‘hidden victims’ (3/30).

EUROPE

AP: Europe’s hospitals among the best but can’t handle pandemic (Cheng, 3/31).

AP: Spain sees record virus deaths as world’s hospitals struggle (Parra et al., 3/31).

EURACTIV.com: COVID-19 pandemic raises questions on preparedness for biological threats (Brzozowski, 3/30).

Financial Times: Virus death toll in England and Wales higher than stated, data suggest (Giles, 3/31).

Reuters: Italy’s epidemic should stabilize soon, but vigilance needed: WHO (Nebehay/Farge, 3/30).

LATIN AMERICA

AP: Coronavirus hits rich and poor unequally in Latin America (Weissenstein et al., 3/30).

The Guardian: ‘Coronavirus could wipe us out’: indigenous South Americans blockade villages (Collyns et al., 3/30).

New York Times: ‘I Can’t Stop’: In Vast Informal Economy, Pandemic Adds to Pressure (Semple et al., 3/30).

Washington Post: Coronavirus collides with Latin America’s maid culture — with sometimes deadly results (McCoy et al., 3/29).

MIDDLE EAST

AP: Crammed in filthy cells, political prisoners fear infection (Michael et al., 3/31).

Reuters: Iran’s death toll from coronavirus climbs to 2,898: health official (Hafezi, 3/31).

Reuters: Hard times shape speedy Saudi and Kuwaiti coronavirus response (Kalin/Hagagy, 3/30).

U.N. News: ‘Immediate nationwide ceasefire’ needed for all-out effort to counter COVID-19 in Syria (3/30).

U.N. News: Release inmates in Yemen to avert nationwide coronavirus outbreak, experts urge (3/30).

NORTH AMERICA

Reuters: U.S. panel outlines how doctors should ration care in a pandemic (Steenhuysen, 3/30).

Reuters: Canada’s army not needed right now to help combat coronavirus spread, Trudeau says (Ljunggren, 3/29).

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Pharma Companies Pressed To Give Up Patents On Potential COVID-19 Treatments; Gates Foundation, Wellcome To Fund Drug Trials; U.S. Signs Deal With Companies To Produce Potential Vaccines

AFP/France 24: NGOs press drug firm Gilead over potential virus treatment (3/30).

Financial Times: Big drugmakers under pressure to share patents against coronavirus (Mancini, 3/31).

Financial Times: Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust to fund Covid-19 drug trials (Kuchler, 3/30).

Reuters: J&J, Moderna sign deals with U.S. to produce possible coronavirus vaccines (Steenhuysen, 3/30).

Roll Call: Blockchain could transform supply chains, aid in COVID-19 fight (Reilly, 3/31).

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News Outlets Examine Political Leaders' Responses To COVID-19 Pandemic, Impacts On Political Systems, Civil Rights, National Security

AP: Dismantling democracy? Virus used as excuse to quell dissent
“…In ex-communist Eastern Europe and elsewhere, populist leaders are introducing harsh measures including uncontrolled cellphone surveillance of their citizens and lengthy jail sentences for those who flout lockdown decrees. … In times of national emergency, countries often take steps that rights activists see as curtailing civil liberties, such as increased surveillance, curfews and restrictions on travel, or limiting freedom of expression…” (Stojanovic et al., 3/31).

The Atlantic: The Problem With Being ‘at War’ With the Coronavirus
“…By choosing to frame the pandemic in military terms, governments are clearly trying to communicate the gravity of this public-health crisis — one that requires the type of state intervention and personal sacrifice most nations haven’t experienced in peacetime. But drawing this imperfect parallel can have the unintended consequence of causing fear and panic too. … If the aim of such imagery is to compel the public to act in the national interest, framing this crisis in war terms may achieve just the opposite. In this ‘war,’ after all, most people aren’t being asked to mobilize; they are being asked to stay home…” (Serhan, 3/31).

New York Times: For Autocrats, and Others, Coronavirus Is a Chance to Grab Even More Power
“…As the coronavirus pandemic brings the world to a juddering halt and anxious citizens demand action, leaders across the globe are invoking executive powers and seizing virtually dictatorial authority with scant resistance. Governments and rights groups agree that these extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. States need new powers to shut their borders, enforce quarantines and track infected people. Many of these actions are protected under international rules, constitutional lawyers say. But critics say some governments are using the public health crisis as cover to seize new powers that have little to do with the outbreak, with few safeguards to ensure that their new authority will not be abused…” (Gebrekidan, 3/30).

POLITICO: Coronavirus rattles America’s national security priesthood
“If the U.S. foreign policy establishment were a high school cafeteria, the popular kids would be the terrorism and nuclear weapons analysts. And the global health specialists would be eating tater tots in the corner with the band geeks. The coronavirus outbreak is upending that social hierarchy as it ravages economies and societies around the world — making an irrefutable case for a cause that once struggled to get a hearing in the clubby national security priesthood…” (Toosi, 3/28).

Reuters: U.S. spies find coronavirus spread in China, North Korea, Russia hard to chart
“As U.S. spy agencies seek to assemble a precise picture of the world’s coronavirus outbreaks, they are finding serious gaps in their ability to assess the situation in China, Russia and North Korea, according to five U.S. government sources familiar with the intelligence reporting. The agencies also have limited insight into the full impact of the pandemic in Iran, although information on infections and deaths among the ruling class and public is becoming more available on official and social media, two sources said…” (Hosenball/Landay, 3/30).

Vox: World leaders who denied the coronavirus’s danger made us all less safe
“Millions of people out of work. Nationwide lockdowns keeping billions at home. Health care systems on the brink of collapse. And millions — plural — at risk of dying. These are the consequences not only of the coronavirus outbreak but also what happens when world leaders deny its severity. Their actions, or rather inactions, have made the pandemic worse and all of us less safe. From the United States to China to Iran to Italy, politicians facing life-or-death decisions early on in the outbreak minimized the global health crisis. They wasted precious time fighting reality, not the disease. And the results have been deadly…” (Ward, 3/30).

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White House Using Statistical Models To Predict COVID-19 Impact In U.S.; Nation's Death Toll Passes 3K

AP: White House turns to statistical models for virus forecast
“Like forecasters tracking a megastorm, White House officials are relying on statistical models to help predict the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and try to protect as many people as possible. The public could get its first close look at the Trump administration’s own projections Tuesday at the daily briefing…” (Alonso-Zaldivar/Neergaard, 3/31).

CNN: More than 3,000 people in the U.S. have died from coronavirus
“At least 3,003 people have died in the United States from Covid-19, according to a CNN tally of data from state health departments. There have been at least 160,698 cases of coronavirus that have been detected and tested in the United States through US public health systems…” (Yan et al., 3/31).

ProPublica: Internal Emails Show How Chaos at the CDC Slowed the Early Response to Coronavirus
“…The documents — mostly emails — provide a behind-the-scenes peek into the messy early stages of the U.S. response to the coronavirus, revealing an antiquated public health system trying to adapt on the fly. What comes through clearly is confusion, as the CDC underestimated the threat from the virus and stumbled in communicating to local public health officials what should be done…” (Chen et al., 3/26).

Washington Post: Coronavirus pandemic could kill as many as 200,000 in U.S., White House warns
“The White House’s coronavirus coordinator on Monday warned that the pandemic could kill as many as 200,000 Americans in even a best-case scenario as state officials intensified their stay-at-home directives — further erasing any hope that the country would have a speedy recovery from the global health crisis…” (Zapotosky, 3/30).

CNN: Model cited by White House says 82,000 people could die from coronavirus by August, even with social distancing (Azad, 3/31).

The Hill: Fauci says task force ‘argued strongly’ with Trump to extend coronavirus guidelines (Wise, 3/30).

NBC: Dr. Birx predicts up to 200,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths ‘if we do things almost perfectly’ (Kesslen, 3/30).

Reuters: U.S. coronavirus death toll rises past 3,000 on deadliest day (Kelly et al., 3/30).

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U.S. Backs World Health Assembly Observer Status For Taiwan

VOA: U.S. Supports Taiwan’s World Health Assembly Observer Status
“The United States is backing Taiwan’s observer status in the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO). The support comes at a time when Washington is sounding the alarm on foreign governments’ disinformation campaigns, calling out China as questions rise on China’s influence over the WHO amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the State Department will ‘do our best to assist’ Taiwan’s ‘appropriate role’ in the world’s highest health-policy-setting body…” (Ching, 3/30).

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New E-Cigarette Regulations, Growing Anti-Vaping Sentiment Impacting Industry Worldwide

New York Times: The World Pushes Back Against E-Cigarettes and Juul
“When the big American tobacco companies started feeling pressure decades ago, they found new markets and friendlier regulation abroad. Juul’s efforts to follow the same playbook have been stunningly unsuccessful. The company has been met with ferocious anti-vaping sentiment and a barrage of newly enacted e-cigarette restrictions, or outright bans, in country after country. As a result, its ambitious overseas plans have collapsed…” (Kaplan et al., 3/30).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: WFP repackages efforts to reach hungry children as COVID-19 closes schools (Lieberman, 3/31).

Devex: Charting a path for global nutrition: Strategies for scalable success (3/30).

Devex: Watch: How Jan Egeland sees the COVID-19 crisis developing (Kumar, 3/31).

The Guardian: Planting hope: the Syrian refugee who developed virus-resistant super-seeds (Chouraqui, 3/31).

New York Times: The Medical News Site That Saw the Coronavirus Coming Months Ago (Tracy, 3/30).

Reuters: Singapore’s Top Court Upholds Law Criminalizing Gay Sex (Geddie et al., 3/30).

Vox: Trump is mishandling coronavirus the way Reagan botched the AIDS epidemic (Beauchamp, 3/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

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

Washington Post: Trump rightly extended pandemic guidance. Here’s what he should do next.
Editorial Board

“…[T]he month ahead must be well spent — with action. … Mr. Trump … ought to immediately and forcefully insist that governors and other elected officials follow his guidance, order people to engage in social distancing, and close nonessential businesses and workplaces. There is no room for a patchwork response. … Next, Mr. Trump must put in charge the commanders who can oversee this life-and-death war, both for the immediate crisis and for planning the eventual easing of restrictions. … Down the road, the reopening will require a delicate state-by-state choreography in which jurisdictions could begin to relax after 14 days of steady reduction in daily case numbers … All of this is going to require an immense amount of investment, planning, personnel, and logistics, as well as skilled leadership, on the order of nothing ever seen in public health in the past century. It will be a tragic failure if complacency turns the United States into a playground for the coronavirus, allowing it to leap for months from one infected population to ignite outbreaks in another. The coming weeks may well be the last chance to shape a better outcome” (3/30).

Washington Post: Thousands of health care workers are at risk of being deported. Trump could save them.
Editorial Board

“…Some 27,000 dreamers are health care workers; some … are on the front lines, grappling with a deadly pandemic. They are doctors, nurses, intensive care unit staff, and EMTs trained to respond quickly to accidents, traumas, and an array of other urgent medical needs. Until now, because of [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)], they have been shielded from deportation and allowed to work legally. Their time may be running out. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the fall on the Trump administration’s attempt to rescind the program; it is expected to rule in the coming months. If, as appears likely, the court’s conservative majority sides with the administration, … thousands of … health care workers would lose their work permits and jobs, and face the threat of deportation. So would another 700,000 DACA recipients — food prep workers, teachers and tutors, government employees, and students, including those enrolled in medical programs. That would be catastrophic, and not just for the dreamers themselves, young people in their 20s and 30s who have grown up here. It would also be catastrophic for the United States. … The country needs them as never before. Will Mr. Trump step up to provide them with safety and security?” (3/30).

Bloomberg: Time for the U.S. and China to Collaborate, Not Complain
Stephen Roach, faculty member at Yale University and author (3/30).

The Conversation: Coronavirus vaccine: here are the steps it will need to go through during development
Samantha Vanderslott, postdoctoral researcher in social sciences at the University of Oxford; Andrew Pollard, professor of pediatric infection and immunity at the University of Oxford; and Tonia Thomas, Vaccine Knowledge project manager (3/30).

Financial Times: Scientists seek reason why coronavirus has less impact on children
Anjana Ahuja, science commentator at Financial Times and visiting lecturer in science journalism at City University in London (3/30).

Foreign Policy: Authoritarianism in the Time of the Coronavirus
Florian Bieber, professor of Southeast European history and politics, and Jean Monnet, chair for the Europeanization of Southeastern Europe at the University of Graz, Austria (3/30).

Foreign Policy: The U.S. Government Must Prepare Now for the Next Pandemic
Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), U.S. senator from Connecticut and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (3/30).

The Hill: Conservatives privilege ideology over expertise in this global health crisis
Sara Hutchinson Ratcliffe, acting president of Catholics for Choice (3/30).

NEJM: Developing Covid-19 Vaccines at Pandemic Speed
Nicole Lurie, distinguished health policy fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, and colleagues (3/30).

STAT: It’s past time to fully deploy the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps to fight Covid-19
Andrew B. Meshnick, medical student at the Georgetown University School of Medicine; Brian J. Miller, physician and adjunct associate professor at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School; and Boris D. Lushniak, dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Health (3/30).

Washington Post: The National Security Council sounded early alarms about the coronavirus
Josh Rogin, columnist for the Washington Post (3/30).

Washington Post: ‘No national response’: One senator’s alarming account of the first days
Greg Sargent, writer for the Plum Line blog at the Washington Post (3/30).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Climate Change, Lessons From COVID-19

Al Jazeera: The coronavirus outbreak is part of the climate change crisis
Vijay Kolinjivadi, post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Development Policy at the University of Antwerp (3/30).

Devex: Opinion: Why central banks care about climate change
Alfred Hannig, executive director of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (3/27).

Foreign Policy: Sorry, but the Virus Shows Why There Won’t Be Global Action on Climate Change
Jason Bordoff, professor of professional practice in international and public affairs and founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (3/27).

The Hill: The coronavirus pandemic versus the climate change emergency
Rupert Darwall, senior fellow at RealClear Foundation, strategy consultant, and policy analyst (3/29).

New York Times: What the Coronavirus Means for Climate Change
Meehan Crist, writer in residence in biological sciences at Columbia University (3/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Health Community Addresses Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic; WHO Issues New Guidelines On Maintaining Essential Health Services

Africa Center for Strategic Studies: Managing Health and Economic Priorities as the COVID-19 Pandemic Spreads in Africa
Shannon Smith, professor of practice and director of engagement at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (3/30).

Human Rights Watch: Afghanistan: Leaders Bicker Amid COVID-19 Crisis (3/30).

Oxfam: How to Confront the Coronavirus Catastrophe: New Oxfam Briefing (3/30).

Science Speaks: When will U.N. Security Council convene for COVID-19? The virus hunts humans — not nationalities
Daniel Lucey, infectious diseases physician and adjunct professor of infectious diseases at Georgetown University Medical Center (3/30).

U.N. Dispatch: How are Global Humanitarian Organizations Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic?
Mark Leon Goldberg, executive editor of U.N. Dispatch (3/30).

World Health Organization: WHO releases guidelines to help countries maintain essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic (3/30).

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UNAIDS Dashboard Shows Changes In Funding For AIDS Response, Including Increase In Domestic Funding Since 2010

UNAIDS: Big shift to domestic funding for HIV since 2010
“There have been big changes in the landscape for funding the AIDS response since 2010. In constant 2016 United States dollars, overall funding in low- and middle-income countries increased from US$ 15 billion in 2010 to US$ 19 billion in 2018. Within that increase in funding, there have been big changes in the sources of the funding. The amount of money that countries have invested in their own response to HIV has increased hugely. … More information can be found on the UNAIDS HIV financial dashboard” (3/31).

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GHIT Fund Announces New Investments To Develop Drugs, Vaccines, Diagnostics For Malaria, TB, NTDs

Global Health Innovative Technology Fund: GHIT Fund Announces New Investments: A Total of 3.29 Billion Yen in Drugs for Malaria, Tuberculosis, Chagas Disease, Lymphatic Filariasis, and Onchocerciasis, Vaccines for Malaria, and Diagnostics for Leishmaniasis and Mycetoma
“The Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund announced today a total of 3.29 billion yen (US$30 million) to invest in 11 partnerships to develop new lifesaving drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for malaria, tuberculosis, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, and mycetoma. This includes five new projects and six that will receive continued funding…” (3/31).

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From the U.S. Government

President Trump, Members Of Coronavirus Task Force Provide Updates On U.S. Response To COVID-19 At Press Briefing

White House: Remarks by President Trump and Members of the Coronavirus Task Force in a Press Briefing
In this press briefing held Monday afternoon, President Trump and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force discuss developments regarding the U.S. response to COVID-19 (3/30).

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U.S. To Support Non-Clinical Studies, Clinical Trial Of Janssen's Investigational COVID-19 Vaccine

HHS: HHS Accelerates Clinical Trials, Prepares for Manufacturing of COVID-19 Vaccines
“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services took steps [Monday] to speed the development and manufacturing of vaccines to prevent COVID-19, working with New Jersey-based Janssen Research & Development, part of Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), will support non-clinical studies and a Phase 1 clinical trial of Janssen’s COVID-19 investigational vaccine, Ad26 SARS-CoV-2. This clinical trial will examine the vaccine’s safety in healthy adult volunteers and its ability to induce an immune response in the recipients…” (3/30).

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From KFF

KFF Resources Examine Global, Domestic Issues Related To COVID-19 Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of March 31, 2020 (3/31).

KFF: Preparing for COVID-19 in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Leveraging U.S. Global Health Assets (Kates/Moss/Oum, 3/20).

Additional KFF COVID-19 resources, including those focused on the response and impact within the U.S., are available here. KFF’s new blog series “Coronavirus Policy Watch” is available here.

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