KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump Signs $8.3B Emergency Spending Bill For U.S. Domestic, International Response To COVID-19

AP: Trump signs $8.3B bill to combat coronavirus outbreak in US
“President Donald Trump on Friday signed an $8.3 billion measure to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak that has killed 12 people in the U.S. and infected more than 200. The legislation provides federal public health agencies with money for vaccines, tests, and potential treatments and helps state and local governments prepare and respond to the threat. The rapid spread of the virus has rocked financial markets, interrupted travel, and threatens to affect everyday life in the United States…” (Taylor, 3/6).

Devex: U.S. Congress commits $1.25B to international coronavirus response
“…The bill … approves $8.3 billion for response and prevention, about $1.25 billion of which is to be spent internationally. The U.S. Agency for International Development will receive about $435 million for global health programs, and $200 million will be designated for the Emergency Reserve Fund. The bill includes $300 million for international disaster assistance and some $250 million that can be used to address economic, security, and stabilization challenges that result from the virus. The bill also appropriates $1 million for USAID’s Office of Inspector General. This money will be in addition to the $37 million in funding announced by USAID on Monday for countries affected by or at high risk of the new coronavirus and the roughly $100 million in humanitarian assistance that the U.S. sent to China in January. The U.S. is providing humanitarian assistance and personal protective equipment to more than 25 countries, according to the State Department…” (Saldinger, 3/6).

Additional coverage of the Senate’s approval of the bill and a Senate committee hearing on COVID-19 is available from The Hill, MedPage Today, POLITICO, and Reuters.

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News Outlets Examine USG, Trump Administration's Response To COVID-19 Outbreak

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Trump’s Atlanta visit puts CDC in spotlight (Hart, 3/5).

The Hill: Trump disputes WHO’s 3.4 percent global death rate for coronavirus (Chalfant, 3/5).

Newsweek: Head of the World Health Organization praises Donald Trump for tapping Pence to lead coronavirus response (Fink, 3/5).

New York Times: Top Coronavirus Official for U.S. Has Fought an Epidemic Before (Stolberg, 3/6).

NPR: Public Trust In Health Authorities Is Key To Fighting Coronavirus — Is It At Risk? (Simmons-Duffin, 3/5).

NPR: Trump’s Gut Collides With Science On Coronavirus Messaging (Keith/Romo, 3/5).

POLITICO: White House sidelines Azar from coronavirus response (Diamond et al., 3/5).

POLITICO: Trump’s coronavirus musings put scientists on edge (Kenen, 3/5).

Roll Call: Members left Trump administration coronavirus briefing frustrated (Siddons et al., 3/5).

TIME: ‘Doomed from the Start.’ Experts Say the Trump Administration’s Coronavirus Response Was Never Going to Work (Bergengruen/Hennigan, 3/5).

USA TODAY: Coronavirus death rate is 3.4%, World Health Organization says, Trump says ‘hunch’ tells him that’s wrong (Jackson, 3/5).

Washington Post: The Trump administration’s greatest obstacle to sending a clear message on coronavirus may be Trump himself (Olorunnipa et al., 3/5).

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COVID-19 Cases Pass 100K Worldwide, Continuing Spread Into More Countries, U.S. States

AP: Virus hits 100,000 cases as it upends lives, livelihoods
“Crossing more borders, the new coronavirus hit a milestone Friday, infecting more than 100,000 people worldwide as it wove itself deeper into the daily lives of millions, infecting the powerful, the unprotected poor and the vast masses in between. The virus, which has killed nearly 3,400 people, edged into more and more U.S. states, popped up in at least four new countries and even breached the halls of the Vatican…” (Sedensky et al., 3/6).

NPR: Coronavirus Spreads Recession Fears Around The World
“As odds of a global recession rise, governments and central banks around the world are racing to fend off the economic damage from the spread of the coronavirus. The toll has already landed hard on jittery financial markets. Stocks continued to sell off on Thursday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 969 points, or about 3.6%, as investors fled stocks. Companies have shut factories, canceled conferences and drastically scaled back employee travel. In countries where the virus is most lethal, such as China and northern Italy, business activity has all but ground to a halt, with entire cities under quarantine and whole industries forced to lay off workers…” (Zarroli, 3/5).

Additional coverage of the coronavirus’s global spread and impacts is available from AP, BBC, CBS, CNBC, Devex, The Lancet, Newsweek, New Yorker, Reuters (2), STAT, U.N. News, Wall Street Journal (2) (3) (4), and Washington Post (2).

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Media Outlets Examine Efforts Of Pharmaceutical Companies, Scientists To Develop COVID-19 Vaccines, Treatments

POLITICO: How the drug industry got its way on the coronavirus (Karlin-Smith, 3/5).

Science: With $115 million, more than 80 Boston researchers will collaborate to tackle COVID-19 (Couzin-Frankel, 3/5).

STAT: We’re learning a lot about the coronavirus. It will help us assess risk (Branswell, 3/6).

STAT: How blood plasma from recovered patients could help treat the new coronavirus (Herper/Feuerstein, 3/5).

STAT: From ferrets to mice and marmosets, labs scramble to find right animals for coronavirus studies (Boodman, 3/5).

Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Epidemic Draws Scrutiny to Labs Handling Deadly Pathogens (Areddy, 3/5).

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DFID Country Directors Ordered To Report To Foreign Commonwealth Office

Devex: DFID country directors told to report to the Foreign Office
“Department for International Development country directors around the world must now report to Foreign & Commonwealth Office officials in an ‘alarming’ revelation, insiders said. Instead of reporting to DFID’s U.K. headquarters, DFID officials in its country offices will answer to British ambassadors or high commissioners, who work for FCO, according to a memo sent to senior management this week…” (Worley, 3/6).

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State-Owned Think Tank In China Examining Feasibility Of Chinese-Led WHO Alternative, Axios Reports

Axios: Scoop: State-owned think tank floats China-led WHO alternative
“As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, a Chinese government-owned think tank is soliciting opinions to gauge how the international community might receive a Chinese alternative to the World Health Organization. … In a message viewed by Axios, an employee of CNPC Economics & Technology Research Institute (CNPC ETRI) said they were exploring the possibility of a Beijing-led global health organization that would rival the WHO…” (Allen-Ebrahimian, 3/4).

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Progress Toward Gender Equality Stalled 25 Years After Beijing Conference, Reports Show Ahead Of International Women's Day

Devex: Gender equality progress remains stunted 25 years after Beijing, reports show
“Twenty-five years after United Nations member states committed to achieving gender equality, progress remains incremental and insufficient to reach gender equality goals within the next decade, according to two new reports issued by the global gender partnership Equal Measures 2030 and U.N. Women. … The separate findings were both released on Thursday, ahead of International Women’s Day on Sunday, and the planned launch of the annual Commission on the Status of Women forum. The forum, intended to offer a status update on Beijing progress, is postponed because of COVID-19. Member states will still adopt a political declaration affirming continued commitment to the Beijing platform on Monday…” (Lieberman, 3/6).

Additional coverage of progress toward women’s equality is available from Devex, Reuters, and U.N. News (2) (3).

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Bloomberg Examines Barriers To HIV, Cancer Treatment Access In Mexico, Implications For Country's Coronavirus Preparedness

Bloomberg: Mexico’s Cancer and HIV Patients Hunt for Medicine After AMLO Decree
“…[The Mexican government] has struggled to respond to unusually stark shortages of medicines and medical supplies that are roiling Mexico and driving street protests. The roots of the crisis, by most accounts, were sweeping changes President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ordered last year to public-health programs in the name of rooting out corruption and cutting costs. The unintended consequences rippling through the system are raising concerns about preparedness for the novel coronavirus; Mexico confirmed its first cases last week…” (Navarro, 3/5).

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More News In Global Health

ABC’s “Science Show”: Gates: Despite the problems, we shouldn’t lose sight of recent gains (Williams, 3/7).

Devex: World Bank looks to systematize growing role in fragile states (Igoe, 3/6).

The Drum: Can graphic design save your life? A brief history of the epidemic PSA (Deighton, 3/2).

DW: Germany pledges €100 million in aid for Idlib conflict (5/3).

EURACTIV.com: AMR: Foodborne superbugs harder to beat, E.U. agencies say (Fortuna, 3/5).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: ‘I was waiting to die’: In Russia, HIV+ migrants fear death and deportation (Gorgieva, 3/5).

VICE News: Vancouver Is Trying to Make Birth Control Free (Just Like Condoms and Vasectomies) (Sherman, 3/5).

Xinhua: China to continue to make contributions to world food security: diplomat (3/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorials, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Outbreak, Response

The Lancet: COVID-19: too little, too late?
Editorial Board

“…The evidence surely indicates that political leaders should be moving faster and more aggressively [to address coronavirus]. … National governments have all released guidance for health care professionals, but published advice alone is insufficient. … So far, evidence suggests that the colossal public health efforts of the Chinese government have saved thousands of lives. High-income countries, now facing their own outbreaks, must take reasoned risks and act more decisively. They must abandon their fears of the negative short-term public and economic consequences that may follow from restricting public freedoms as part of more assertive infection control measures” (3/7).

Washington Post: China is using the cover of coronavirus to escalate its repression in Hong Kong
Editorial Board

“The pro-democracy demonstrations that rocked Hong Kong last year have lulled, in part because the city is under partial lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. You’d think Chinese Communist authorities and their hugely unpopular representatives in the city would breathe a sigh of relief and focus on keeping the population healthy. Instead, they chose last week to escalate the repression of opposition leaders. … Hong Kong’s legal system, which was supposed to remain independent via the ‘one country, two systems’ formula under which the former British colony was returned to Chinese sovereignty, no longer can be counted on to uphold the rule of law…” (3/5).

USA Today: Bernie Sanders: We need scientists, not politicians, in charge of the coronavirus response
Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont and candidate for the Democratic nomination for president

“…The time has come for Donald Trump to stop playing politics with this deadly virus and put scientists and health experts back in charge. Here is some of what must be done: the Senate must approve and Trump must sign the bipartisan emergency funding passed by the House, and the administration should provide any additional resources needed by state and local agencies on the frontlines of this effort. … If we are to stop the spread of this disease, everybody should get the medical treatment they need regardless of their income. … And once a vaccine is developed, it should be free. … Finally, [the U.S.] must also join every major country on earth and pass paid family and medical leave legislation into law. … Health experts agree that the spread of the coronavirus will likely get worse before it gets better. Donald Trump must stop spreading lies and fear, and leave the science to scientists and health professionals, not politicians. We must make certain that we are prepared for a pandemic, just as we do with FEMA and natural disasters” (3/5).

The Atlantic: The Pattern That Epidemics Always Follow
Karl Taro Greenfeld, author (3/5).

The Atlantic: The coronavirus is exposing the limits of populism
Thomas Wright, director at the Center on the United States and Europe and senior fellow for foreign policy at the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution, and Kurt Campbell, chair and CEO at the Asia Group, LLC (3/4).

The Atlantic: The Official Coronavirus Numbers are Wrong, and Everyone Knows it
Alexis C. Madrigal, staff writer at the Atlantic and author (3/3).

Bloomberg: How Bad Is the Coronavirus? Let’s Run the Numbers
Justin Fox, Bloomberg opinion columnist and author (3/5).

The Conversation: Vaccines without needles — new shelf-stable film could revolutionize how medicines are distributed worldwide
Maria Croyle, professor of pharmaceutics at the University of Texas at Austin (3/4).

Forbes: To Save Lives, Shift Pentagon Spending to Public Health
William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy and author (3/5).

Foreign Affairs: U.S.-Chinese Distrust Is Inviting Dangerous Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories
Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and director of CFR’s Global Health Governance Roundtable (3/5).

Foreign Policy: The U.S. Government Is Vulnerable to Virus Chaos
Michael Miller, consultant and adjunct associate professor at the Duke Global Health Institute (3/5).

Fox News: Drs. Amesh Adalja and Jennifer Nuzzo: End coronavirus health care worker quarantines
Amesh A. Adalja, infectious disease physician and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, and Jennifer Nuzzo, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering and the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (3/5).

Globe and Mail: COVID-19 must be treated as a grave threat to public health and economic well-being
Michael Bociurkiw, global affairs analyst (3/4).

The Hill: A warning for the next pandemic
Liz Schrayer, president and chief executive officer of the United States Global Leadership Coalition (3/5).

JAMA: Priorities for the U.S. Health Community Responding to COVID-19
Amesh A. Adalja, infectious disease physician and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, and colleagues (3/3).

Project Syndicate: Stop the Posturing on COVID-19
Arkebe Oqubay, senior minister and special adviser to the prime minister of Ethiopia and distinguished fellow at the Overseas Development Institute (3/5).

Project Syndicate: Preparing Africa for COVID-19
Adaora Okoli, medical doctor who survived the Ebola virus, global health advocate, and Aspen New Voices fellow (3/5).

STAT: Trump’s immigration policies will make the coronavirus pandemic worse
Wendy E. Parmet, professor of law and director of the Center for Health Policy and Law at Northeastern University School of Law and professor of public policy and urban affairs at Northeastern’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs (3/4).

Washington Post: How epidemics have changed the world
Ishaan Tharoor, writer at the Washington Post (3/6).

Washington Post: As coronavirus spreads, the bill for our public health failures is due
Richard E. Besser, president and chief executive of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (3/5).

Washington Post: Trump’s latest coronavirus lies have a galling subtext
Greg Sargent, opinion writer at the Washington Post (3/5).

Washington Post: How the populist right is exploiting coronavirus
Fareed Zakaria, columnist at the Washington Post (3/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Health GAP Highlights Community Recommendations For 5 PEPFAR Country Operational Plans

Health GAP: PEPFAR Watch
This resources page features documents highlighting community recommendations for PEPFAR Country Operational Plans (COP) in five countries: Uganda, Malawi, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and South Africa (March 2020).

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Community-Led Efforts Working To Inform PEPFAR's Budgeting, Programming In South Africa

Maverick Citizen: People’s COP shows U.S. where to spend HIV money
Anele Yawa, general secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), and Lotti Rutter, associate director of international policy at Health GAP

“…After years of calling on the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and government to take the crisis in our clinics [in South Africa] seriously and focus financial resources in addressing these widespread challenges, the ‘Ritshidze’ system of community-led monitoring was created in 2019. Ritshidze community monitors collect data using a variety of methods that reveal insights about the problems with health care services and suggest solutions at the facility, district, provincial, and national levels. That data is then integrated into evidence-based advocacy that brings new information to the attention of decision makers and holds them accountable for acting on it. Data gathered through Ritshidze is at the center of this year’s ‘People’s COP,’ an advocacy document aimed at influencing PEPFAR as it determines how it will spend millions of dollars on HIV and TB programs in South Africa through its Country Operational Plan (COP) for 2020. … Activists are busy reviewing the text [of the 2020 COP] now to ensure the interventions in the People’s COP have been correctly and fully included — and that commitments have not been overlooked or forgotten. As we have learnt in past years, just because something is promised or written down, we cannot take it for granted as a victory; it is simply a first step. Through Ritshidze, next we must track what is actually implemented on the ground — holding PEPFAR and government accountable for their obligations to people living with HIV and TB” (3/3).

Maverick Citizen: Communities in Malawi demand changes to how U.S. spends HIV money
David Kamkwamba, executive director of the Network of Journalists Living with HIV (JONEHA) and chair of the Civil Society Advocacy Forum, and Lotti Rutter, associate director of international policy at Health GAP

“Community monitoring of 12 health centers in Malawi during January 2020 revealed increased numbers of people living with HIV not returning to the facility to collect treatment in eight of those sites by the end of 2019. … What is driving this troubling reality? There are not enough health care facilities … and existing clinics are understaffed so that health care workers can’t provide the level of care they want to offer. … Two people involved in fighting for … critical changes … are sharing their stories and their prescriptions for change in order to show PEPFAR, and the government of Malawi, what it means to interact with the current, failing health care system, and why the changes activists are demanding in COP20 are urgently needed…” (3/4).

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Ipas President/CEO Discusses Trump Administration Policies Impacting Abortion Domestically, Internationally

North Carolina Justice Center’s “NC Policy Watch”: The global, national and local impacts of Trump’s war on reproductive freedom
Anu Kumar, president and CEO of Ipas, discusses Trump administration policies aimed at reducing abortion, both domestically and abroad, including the reinstated and expanded Mexico City policy. Kumar writes, “As Americans watch abortion access shrink under the Trump administration, we should remember the United States is an aberration in the global movement for women’s rights, including sexual and reproductive rights…” (3/6).

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Global Health Community Publishes Blog Posts On Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Outbreak

Brookings Insitution’s “Future Development”: The coronavirus will reveal hidden vulnerabilities in complex global supply chains
Geoffrey Gertz, fellow for global economy and development at Brookings (3/5).

Center for Global Development: What COVID-19 Should Teach Us About Smart Health Spending in Developing Countries
Kalipso Chalkidou, director of global health policy and senior fellow at CGD, and Carleigh Krubiner, policy fellow at CGD (3/5).

Center for American Progress: Trump Is Failing to Lead on Coronavirus
Katrina Mulligan, managing director for national security and international policy at CAP, and Alexandra Schmitt, and policy analyst for human rights, democracy, and development on the national security and international policy team at CAP (3/5).

U.N. Dispatch: We Should Be Thanking Our Lucky Stars for the World Health Organization Right Now
Mark Leon Goldberg, editor of U.N. Dispatch and host of the Global Dispatches Podcast (3/5).

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CFR Expert Discusses Waning DRC Ebola Outbreak, Lessons Learned For Addressing Coronavirus

Council on Foreign Relations: Tentative Victory Against Ebola in Eastern Congo
John Campbell, Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, discusses the status of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Campbell writes, “Officials from Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the last Ebola patient has been discharged from a hospital in Beni. … Once there has been no new cases for forty-two days, the outbreak can be officially declared over. … Success against Ebola gives hope that the eastern Congo will respond well against the new threat of the new coronavirus…” (3/5).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Administrator Discusess Agency's Global Health Work In Statement Before House Appropriations Subcommittee

USAID: Written Statement of Administrator Mark Green Before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
“…The President’s Budget Request for FY 2021 seeks $2.1 billion for USAID-Global Health programs. USAID will use these resources to accelerate progress towards ending preventable child and maternal deaths and combating infectious diseases, while building sustainable, effective, and efficient country health systems. As part of that effort, we will continue our longstanding efforts to strengthen developing countries’ capacities to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious diseases outbreaks…” (3/3).

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GAO Science & Tech Spotlight Provides Overview On Coronaviruses

Government Accountability Office: Science & Tech Spotlight: Coronaviruses
This GAO report provides an overview on coronaviruses, including previous coronavirus outbreaks, how coronaviruses work, current diagnostics, and research on vaccines and therapeutics (3/3).

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U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Helps Provide Treatment To U.S. Patients Infected With COVID-19 In Japan

HHS: U.S. Public Health Service Strike Team Helps Treat Patients Infected with COVID-19 in Japan
“A team of specialized officers from the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps are working with the United States Embassy in Japan, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, and Gilead Sciences Inc. to provide compassionate access use of an investigational antiviral treatment for severely ill patients in Japan who have COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. … This specialized team of Commissioned Corps officers, with clinical, scientific, international, and public health backgrounds, deployed on February 15 to Japan to assist in the management of hospitalized United States citizens with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Their mission is to identify seriously and critically ill patients for enrollment in a compassionate use trial so that patients with viral pneumonia could receive treatment with remdesivir, an investigational antiviral treatment developed by Gilead Sciences Inc…” (3/3).

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From the Kaiser Family Foundation

KFF Regularly Updating COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of March 5, 2020
This tracker provides the number of cases and deaths from the novel coronavirus by country, the trends in case and death counts by country, and a global map showing which countries have cases and deaths. The data are drawn directly from official coronavirus situation reports released regularly by the WHO (3/5).

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