KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. SG Calls For Solidarity In COVID-19 Global Response; WHO To Open Virtual Ministerial Meeting On May 18

Reuters: WHO ministerial to open on May 18; UNICEF seeks flights for vaccines
“The annual meeting of health ministers will take place virtually from May 18, with the focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. … UNICEF called for unlocking a ‘massive backlog’ in vaccine shipments amid a huge drop in commercial flights and limited availability of charters in the pandemic…” (Nebehay, 5/1).

Reuters: U.N. chief laments lack of global leadership in coronavirus fight
“United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday lamented a lack of leadership by world powers and a divided international community in the fight against the coronavirus as he raised concern about inadequate support for poor countries…” (Nichols, 4/30).

U.N. News: U.N. chief calls for ‘solidarity, unity and hope’ in battling COVID-19 pandemic
“… ‘We mourn the lives lost — more than 200,000,’ Secretary-General António Guterres said in a virtual press conference on Thursday. ‘We despair that many more will follow, particularly in places least able to cope.’ He ran through the multiple ways the organization is working to combat the virus on the ground, and said that on Friday, a new U.N. policy report would be launched to advise how best to protect older persons, along with an analysis of COVID-19 consequences for persons with disabilities…” (4/30).

Additional coverage of the U.N.’s response to the pandemic is available from Devex, Reuters, and Xinhua.

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U.N. Experts Urge U.S. To Lift Cuba Embargo To Save Lives From COVID-19; WHO Expresses Concern Over Virus's Spread In West Africa; Afghanistan Faces 'Health Disaster,' U.S. Watchdog Says

AFRICA

Reuters: WHO says very concerned at community spread of coronavirus in West Africa (Felix, 4/30).

ASIA

ABC News (Australia): Taiwan rejoining World Health Organization still backed by Australia in diplomatically risky move (Dziedzic, 4/30).

AP: U.N. chief: World should follow South Korea on COVID-19 fight (Lederer, 5/1).

The BMJ: Covid-19: collateral damage of lockdown in India (Dore, 4/30).

Financial Times: Three-fifths of new coronavirus cases in China show no symptoms (Yang et al., 4/30).

NPR: Conspiracy Theories Abound In Pakistan, Worsening Spread Of The Coronavirus (Hadid, 4/30).

Reuters: Australia to consider next Friday easing of coronavirus containment measures (Pandey, 5/1).

Reuters: Japan’s Abe says leaning toward extending state of emergency on May 4 (Lies, 5/1).

EUROPE

VOA: Boris Johnson: Britain is ‘Past Peak’ of Coronavirus Outbreak (Hoke, 4/30).

VOA: Britain’s Low-Cost Ventilator Aims to Boost COVID-19 Fight in Developing Economies (Ridgwell, 4/30).

LATIN AMERICA & CARIBBEAN

PRI: ‘We’re dead here’: Migrants stranded in Panama rainforest amid coronavirus (Valencia, 4/30).

Reuters: U.N. experts urge lifting of Cuba embargo to save lives in coronavirus fight (Psaledakis, 4/30).

U.N. News: Lift Cuba embargo or risk many lives lost to COVID-19, U.N. rights experts warn U.S. (4/30).

MIDDLE EAST

BBC: Coronavirus: Yemen reports first deaths amid fears of undetected spread (4/30).

Reuters: Afghanistan likely facing coronavirus ‘health disaster’: U.S. watchdog (Landay, 5/1).

NORTH AMERICA

The BMJ: Coronavirus pandemic stirs fight over abortion rights in U.S. (Tanne, 4/30).

The Guardian: San Francisco recruits army of social workers, librarians and investigators to track Covid-19 (Singh, 5/1).

STAT: A bipartisan group of former health officials seeks to sell a $46.5 billion coronavirus plan to the White House (Facher, 4/29).

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Trump Administration's WHO Funding Freeze Impacts PAHO Operations In Venezuela; WHO Members Owe More Than $470M In Outstanding Dues

AP: Lawmakers: Trump’s funding freeze for WHO hits Venezuela
“As much as $110 million in U.S. funding for disease prevention in Latin America as well as U.S. support for Venezuelan migrants has been thrown into doubt as part of President Donald Trump’s decision to halt funding to the World Health Organization over its response to the coronavirus pandemic. Rep. Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter Thursday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo complaining that freezing funds for the Pan American Health Organization threatened to worsen the plight of Venezuelans suffering at the hands of Nicolás Maduro…” (Goodman, 4/30).

New Humanitarian: WHO’s members owe it more than $470 million
“Two countries account for over half the unpaid membership dues at the World Health Organization: on 31 March, the United States owed $196 million, while China’s outstanding bill stood at $57 million. They’re not alone: 151 members collectively owed $473 million in unpaid dues — about 20 percent of the WHO’s annual budget — and a quarter of it was more than a year late. But the size of the U.S. and Chinese debts highlight the WHO’s reliance on its largest members. The United States has announced a suspension of its funding for the WHO in reaction to what it alleges as weaknesses in the U.N. agency’s COVID-19 response…” (Parker, 4/30).

PBS NewsHour: 2 perspectives on the Trump administration’s clash with WHO
“The World Health Organization held a rare emergency meeting Thursday to discuss the ongoing global health crisis — and an escalating diplomatic battle with the U.S., its largest funder. President Trump has frozen contributions to WHO, blaming it for echoing China in its early response to COVID-19. Nick Schifrin talks to Duke University’s Dr. Michael Merson and Stanford University’s Lanhee Chen…” (Schifrin, 4/30).

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U.S. Intelligence Community Confirms Novel Coronavirus Not Manmade But Investigating Origins; Trump-China Rivalry Hampers Intelligence Gathering; Senior U.S. Officials Considering Retaliation Against China

The Hill: U.S. intelligence says it’s investigating COVID-19’s origins
“U.S. intelligence agencies in a rare public statement Thursday said they agreed with ‘the widespread scientific consensus’ that the COVID-19 virus was ‘not manmade or genetically modified’ but also that they are investigating whether it emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan, China…” (Beavers, 4/30).

TIME: How the Trump-China Rivalry Has Hampered U.S. Intelligence on COVID-19
“…More than five months and 225,000 deaths later, the U.S. intelligence community’s efforts to piece together the early spread of COVID-19 has been clouded by politics and self-interest in both China and the U.S., two of the countries that have suffered the most from the pandemic. Rather than doing all they could to share information to minimize the virus’ spread, both China and the U.S. have all too often focused on blaming the other for starting it…” (Walcott, 4/30).

Washington Post: U.S. officials crafting retaliatory actions against China over coronavirus as President Trump fumes
“Senior U.S. officials are beginning to explore proposals for punishing or demanding financial compensation from China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to four senior administration officials with knowledge of internal planning. The move could splinter already strained relations between the two superpowers at a perilous moment for the global economy…” (Stein et al., 4/30).

Reuters: Australian PM says no evidence coronavirus originated in China laboratory, urges inquiry (Packham/Mair, 4/30).

Science: NIH’s axing of bat coronavirus grant a ‘horrible precedent’ and might break rules, critics say (Wadman/Cohen, 4/30).

Washington Post: Chinese lab conducted extensive research on deadly bat viruses, but there is no evidence of accidental release (Warrick et al., 4/30).

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Experts Worry Demand For Coronavirus Diagnostic Tests Could Slow Production Of Tests For Other Diseases, Including HIV, Malaria

The Guardian: Demand for coronavirus tests raises concerns over HIV and malaria
“Governments were caught out when Covid-19 hit, having overlooked the need to be able to test for new diseases because they were focused on drugs and vaccines for those they already knew about. Now there are fears that the rush to supply wealthier countries pressing for more tests may destabilize the fight against HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis, illnesses that kill millions, mostly in low- and middle-income countries. … The handful of countries that had specialized in diagnostics, including South Korea and Singapore, have had remarkable success in containing their epidemics. They were at a massive advantage…” (Boseley, 5/1).

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Trump's Claim U.S. Has Tested More People For COVID-19 Than Other Countries, Other Statements On Pandemic Are Exaggerated, Fact Checkers Show

PolitiFact: Donald Trump’s claim that U.S. tested more than all countries combined is Pants on Fire wrong
“…The president has made a habit of exaggerating the United States’ capacity for COVID-19 diagnostic testing. But the health system has ramped up its testing since its slow start during the first weeks of the American outbreak. So we wanted to check back. How many people here have been tested? And has the U.S. tested more people than ‘every country combined’? We emailed the White House for comment but never heard back, so we turned to the data. Trump’s claim didn’t stand up to scrutiny…” (Luthra, 4/30).

Washington Post: Trump’s triumphant rhetoric on coronavirus testing
“…[T]he Trump administration bungled its initial effort to get a broad-based testing regime in place for the new coronavirus and has been playing catch-up ever since. But now the United States has conducted more than 5 million tests, more than any other country. That would seem to be a good talking point for President Trump. But it also lacks important context, because what really matters is how many tests are performed per million people. Moreover, Trump keeps exaggerating the statistics or making claims that turned out to be incorrect. ‘Anyone who wants a test can get a test,’ he declared March 6, a statement so false it needed to be corrected the next day by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Here’s a tour through Trump’s recent rhetoric on testing…” (Kessler, 4/30).

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Trump Administration Launches Effort To Develop Novel Coronavirus By January

Washington Post: Administration describes a dash for a coronavirus vaccine that would be available in January
“The Trump administration is racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine that could be fielded nationwide by January, U.S. officials said Thursday, as national stay-at-home guidance expired. The January timeline represents a fast pace for vaccine development but still means there would be no fail-safe protection from the novel coronavirus until long after most Americans are likely to have returned to work or school and until after the November presidential election…” (Gearan et al., 4/30).

Additional coverage of the effort, dubbed “Operation Warp Speed,” is available from CNBC and Reuters.

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Media Outlets Examine Research Into Treatments, Vaccines For Novel Coronavirus, Manufacturing Capabilities Of Private Industry, Governments

Nature: Scores of coronavirus vaccines are in competition — how will scientists choose the best?
“Less than five months after the world first learnt about the new coronavirus causing fatal pneumonia in Wuhan, China, there are more than 90 vaccines for the virus at various stages of development, with more announced each week. At least six are already being tested for safety in people. Now, developers, funders and other stakeholders are laying the groundwork for their biggest challenge yet: determining which vaccines actually work…” (Callaway, 4/30).

New York Times: Find a Vaccine. Next: Produce 300 Million Vials of It.
“…Here in the United States, more than 300 million people may need to be inoculated. … Several manufacturers worry that the Trump administration may be waiting too long before ordering for an ample supply of medical equipment needed to deliver a vaccine. One manufacturer said they had recently received an order for syringes, but were concerned that the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a branch of the Health and Human Services Department built to help with pandemic preparedness, was still soliciting too few supplies for nationwide vaccine delivery…” (Sheikh, 5/1).

STAT: Gilead’s remdesivir has seen success against the coronavirus. Now the company has to make enough to supply the world
“…A study run by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases showed that patients with Covid-19 who were given the drug recovered faster than those who were given a placebo, the agency said this week. Regulators have not yet approved the drug — though an emergency authorization is reportedly imminent — but the company now stands in the position of having to scale up production of a drug that the whole world may want. Gilead is working to meet the need. Already, it is up to 50,000 treatment courses, with a goal of having ‘multiple millions of treatment courses’ by the end of the year, CEO Daniel O’Day told STAT Wednesday. Still, the realities of manufacturing pharmaceuticals limit how much a company can churn out and how fast that can be increased, experts say…” (Joseph, 4/30).

Additional coverage of efforts to test, develop, and manufacture treatments and vaccines for the novel coronavirus is available from Becker’s Hospital Review, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Fox News, The Guardian, POLITICO (2), Reuters, and WIRED.

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U.N.'s Response To Haiti Cholera Outbreak, Failure To Compensate Victims Falls Short, U.N. Independent Rights Experts Say

Miami Herald: The United Nations’ own experts slam its treatment of Haiti’s cholera victims
“More than a dozen United Nations independent rights experts are slamming the world agency on its response to the cholera epidemic in Haiti that has left more than 10,000 dead and over 800,000 infected after being introduced by U.N. peacekeepers shortly after Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake. The group, which includes outgoing U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston, says the U.N.’s response and failure to compensate victims has fallen short. They are calling on U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to urgently step up efforts to fulfill a U.N. pledge to help victims…” (Charles, 4/30).

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Sudan's New Government Outlaws Female Genital Mutilation

New York Times: In a Victory for Women in Sudan, Female Genital Mutilation Is Outlawed
“Sudan’s new government has outlawed the practice of female genital mutilation, a move hailed as a major victory by women’s rights campaigners in a country where the often dangerous practice is widespread. The United Nations estimates that nearly nine in 10 Sudanese women have been subjected to the most invasive form of the practice, which involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia and leads to health and sexual problems that can be fatal. Now, anyone in Sudan who performs female genital mutilation faces a possible three-year prison term and a fine under an amendment to Sudan’s criminal code approved last week by the country’s transitional government, which came to power only last year following the ouster of longtime dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir…” (Walsh, 4/30).

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More News In Global Health

AP: Heart disease main underlying condition in COVID-19 deaths (Selsky, 4/29).

Democracy Now!: WHO Adviser on Meat Plants: If We’re at War, the Weapons We Need Are Tests and PPE, Not Pork (Goodman, 4/30).

Devex: Kenya’s blood shortage goes from bad to worse (Jerving, 5/1).

Devex: How COVID-19 is impacting vision work (Smith, 4/30).

Devex: U.K. NGOs warn of ‘cliff edge’ for nutrition funding (Worley, 5/1).

The Lancet: Prisons are ‘in no way equipped’ to deal with COVID-19 (Burki, 5/2).

NPR: ‘We Will Not Give Up’: Marking 3 Months Since Coronavirus Became A Global Emergency (Dwyer, 4/30).

U.N. News: Coronavirus and human rights: New guidance highlights support for persons with disabilities (4/30).

Xinhua: Time for cooperation, not hasty denunciation: Bill Gates (4/29).

Yahoo Finance: Bill Gates says the world will need 7 billion vaccine doses to end COVID-19 pandemic (Boyle, 4/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorials, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Search For Vaccine, Potential Impact On SDGs

The Atlantic: You Should Politicize the Coronavirus
Helen Lewis, staff writer at the Atlantic and author (5/1).

The Atlantic: The Pandemic Will Make America Stronger
Kori Schake, director of foreign and defense policy at the American Enterprise Institute (5/1).

Bloomberg: Maybe the Pandemic Will Never End
Narayana Kocherlakota, professor of economics at the University of Rochester (4/30).

CNBC: Op-Ed: Why despite COVID-19, Africa cannot lose sight of the Sustainable Development Goals
Cobus Oosthuizen, dean of Milpark Business School (4/29).

The Conversation: Why a campaign to champion all vaccines matters now more than ever
Katherine E. Gallagher, assistant professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and colleagues (4/30).

Devex: Opinion: World Bank needs to make fragility a central priority in the COVID-19 era
Gary Milante, program director and focal point for the Global Registry of Violent Deaths initiative, and Robert Muggah, co-founder of the Igarapé Institute and the SecDev Group, and adviser at the Global Parliament of Mayors (4/30).

Forbes: Lessons From Ebola: It’s Not Enough To Fight One Disease Outbreak — You Have To Build Systems That Can Prevent The Next Ones
Raj Panjabi, CEO of Last Mile Health and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, and Olivia Leland, founder and CEO of Co-Impact (4/30).

Foreign Affairs: Public Health Calls for Solidarity, Not Warfare
Natalia Linos, social epidemiologist and executive director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, and Mary T. Bassett, director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard (4/30).

Foreign Affairs: Finding a Vaccine Is Only the First Step
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Board chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and WHO special envoy on the global collaboration to fight COVID-19 (4/30).

Globe and Mail: We should be proud of the WHO’s pandemic response
Peter A. Singer, special advisor to the director general of the WHO and adjunct professor of medicine at the University of Toronto (4/30).

The Guardian: Africa’s heavy-handed lockdown policing must not become the new normal
Karen Allen, consultant to the Institute for Security Studies, and Anton du Plessis, executive director of the Institute for Security Studies (5/1).

The Hill: The administration should look to a national security approach in fighting COVID-19
Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.), member of the House Armed Services Committee (4/30).

IPS: Only Sustainable Investment & Global Cooperation Can Counter COVID’s Blow to SDGs
Jay Collins, vice chair for Banking Capital Markets and Advisory at Citigroup (4/30).

The Lancet: COVID-19: remaking the social contract
Editorial Board (5/2).

The Lancet: Offline: A global health crisis? No, something far worse
Richard Horton, editor in chief of The Lancet (5/2).

New York Magazine: Why Humanity Will Probably Botch the Next Pandemic, Too
Eric Levitz, senior writer at New York Magazine (4/30).

New York Times: In a Crisis, True Leaders Stand Out
Editorial Board (4/30).

New York Times: Get Ready for the Global Fight Over Vaccines
Stuart Blume, author (4/30).

New York Times: How Long Will a Vaccine Really Take?
Stuart A. Thompson, writer and graphics director for Times Opinion (4/30).

New York Times: What if We Already Have a Coronavirus Vaccine?
Melinda Wenner Moyer, science and health writer and author (5/1).

Project Syndicate: A Pledge for Africa
Abiy Ahmed, prime minister of Ethiopia (5/1).

Project Syndicate: The Conspiratorial Style in Pandemic Politics
Hugo Drochon, assistant professor of political theory at the University of Nottingham and author (5/1).

Science: COVID-19 amidst Ebola’s retreat
John Ditekemena, associate professor at Kinshasa School of Public Health at the University of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (5/1).

Scientific American: The Fight against COVID-19 Threatens to Cause Collateral Health Damage
Rachel Issaka, assistant professor of medicine in gastroenterology at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (5/1).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Opinion: Rebuilding a more resilient planet
Karina Gould, Canada’s minister of international development (5/1).

Washington Post: Bill Gates is wrong. China’s coronavirus coverup is not a ‘distraction’
Josh Rogin, columnist at the Washington Post (4/30).

Washington Post: It’ll take more than just scientists to stem this pandemic
Fareed Zakaria, foreign affairs columnist for the Washington Post, host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, and contributing editor for The Atlantic (4/30).

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Other Opinions In Global Health

Devex: Opinion: Partnerships as a catalyst in improving maternal nutrition
Mauricio Adade, DSM’s Latin America president (4/30).

Globe and Mail: Only the United Nations can prevent Venezuela’s collapse
Joe Clark, former prime minister and foreign minister of Canada, and colleagues (4/30).

The Guardian: Cholera and coronavirus: why we must not repeat the same mistakes
Neil Singh, primary care physician and senior teaching fellow in the department of primary care and public health at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (5/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blogs, Statements Address Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

BMJ Opinion: Covid-19 vaccines: global access means having enough
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (4/30).

Brookings: COVID-19 has revealed a flaw in public health systems. Here’s how to fix it.
Stuti Khemani, senior economist with the Development Research Group at the World Bank (4/30).

CMMB: A Moment of Global Awakening
Bruce Wilkinson, president and CEO of CMMB (4/30).

Gates Notes: What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (4/30).

RSA: A Global Humanitarian Marshall Plan
Ben Ramalingam, senior research associate for the Overseas Development Institute (4/28).

U.N.: “The pandemic is exposing and exploiting inequalities of all kinds, including gender inequality”
António Guterres, secretary general of the U.N. (4/30).

UNAIDS: Ensuring that all people who use drugs and are living with HIV have access to treatment in Bangladesh (4/30).

UNAIDS: UNAIDS: Ensuring continuity of HIV combination prevention for people who use drugs in Algeria (4/30).

UNICEF: Through pandemics and epidemics, hope stays alive (4/30).

World Bank: COVID-19 in fragile settings: Ensuring a conflict-sensitive response
Franck Bousquet, senior director of the World Bank Fragility, Conflict, & Violence Group, and Oscar Fernández-Taranco, U.N. assistant secretary general for peacebuilding support (4/30).

World Economic Forum: COVID-19 in Africa: insights from our 30 April WHO media briefing
Beatrice Di Caro, digital media specialist with the World Economic Forum (4/30).

World Economic Forum: These are the OECD countries testing most for COVID-19
Douglas Broom, senior writer with Formative Content (4/30).

World Economic Forum: What we can learn from Sweden’s approach to COVID-19: WHO coronavirus briefing
Linda Lacina, digital editor with the World Economic Forum (4/30).

World Economic Forum: COVID-19 is hurting children’s mental health. Here are 3 ways we can help
Henrietta H. Fore, executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (4/1).

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Organizations Discuss Global Health Aid, Gavi, Nursing Report, Global Herpes Prevalence

Center for Global Development: Examining Uncertainties in Global Health Aid through the Lens of Family Planning: A Tale of Three Countries in Three Figures
Janeen Madan Keller, assistant director of global health and senior policy analyst, and Julia Kaufman, program coordinator, both with CGD (4/30).

ONE: 6 things Gavi supports to make the world healthier
Jane Eagles, digital assistant with ONE (4/30).

World Health Organization: Billions worldwide living with herpes (5/1).

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: First Ever State of the World’s Nursing Report: Unlocking the Gender Dimensions
Deekshita Ramanarayanan, staff intern with the Maternal Health Initiative at the Wilson Center (4/30).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC's MMWR Reports On Progress Toward Maternal, Neonatal Tetanus Elimination Worldwide, Cholera Outbreak In Zimbabwe

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Progress Toward Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination — Worldwide, 2000-2018
Henry N. Njugun of the Global Immunization Division at the Center for Global Health at the CDC, and colleagues (5/1).

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Notes from the Field: Cholera Outbreak — Zimbabwe, September 2018-March 2019
Alison Winstead, Epidemic Intelligence Service officer at the CDC, and colleagues (5/1).

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From KFF

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

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of May 1, 2020 (5/1).

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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