KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Officials Warn Nations To Lift COVID-19 Lockdowns Slowly, Methodically To Prevent Disease Resurgence

U.N. News: Tedros highlights complex challenges posed by COVID-19 resurgence, following easing of lockdowns
“The resurgence of COVID-19 cases in South Korea, China, and Germany following the lifting of stay-at-home restrictions demonstrates the complexity of easing these measures, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday. ‘Over the weekend we saw signs of the challenges that may lie ahead,’ he told journalists. Tedros was referring to reports that South Korea has shuttered nightclubs and bars after a confirmed case of COVID-19 led to thousands of contacts being traced. … While lockdowns have proved successful in slowing virus transmission and saving lives, Tedros acknowledged that they have had a ‘serious socio-economic impact’ on citizens. ‘Therefore, to protect lives and livelihoods, a slow, steady, lifting of lockdowns is key to both stimulating economies, while also keeping a vigilant eye on the virus so that control measures can be quickly implemented if an upswing in cases is identified,’ he said…” (5/11).

Additional coverage of WHO’s concerns over nations reopening too quickly is available from CNBC, New York Times, PBS NewsHour, and Reuters.

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U.N. Discusses SDGs Amid COVID-19 Pandemic; UNICEF Urges Release Of Child Detainees; Nations Relying On U.N. More Than Ever, U.N. Deputy SG Says

U.N. News: ‘Urgency to act’ for sustainable development, greater than ever as coronavirus pandemic continues
“As COVID-19 upends lives and livelihoods across the planet, the U.N. on Monday held a wide-ranging policy discussion stressing a range of multilateral solutions to ease the pandemic, while also getting back on track towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)…” (5/11).

U.N. News: U.N. officials call for release of detained Palestinian children amid pandemic
“Three senior United Nations officials in the Middle East are calling for the release of Palestinian children from Israeli-run prisons and detentions centers, saying they are at particular risk of COVID-19 infection…” (5/11).

UPI: UNICEF: Release all children in detention during pandemic
“UNICEF and United Nations officials on Monday urged that all children held in detention around the world be immediately released during the COVID-19 crisis, including almost 200 held in Palestine…” (Lotus, 5/11).

Xinhua: U.N. deputy chief says nations rely on U.N. more than ever to rise to COVID-19 challenges
“United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed on Monday said that people and countries rely on the world body more than ever to rise to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. … She added that since the start of the crisis, the U.N. has mobilized to full capacity through its 131 country teams to immediately support national authorities in developing public health preparedness as well as response plans…” (5/11).

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Disrupted HIV Efforts Amid COVID-19 Could Lead To More Than 500K Additional AIDS-Related Deaths Through 2021, UNAIDS, WHO Research Shows

U.N. News: U.N. issues ‘wake-up call’: Don’t sideline AIDS response during COVID-19 crisis
“… ‘There is a risk that the hard-earned gains of the AIDS response will be sacrificed to the fight against COVID-19, but the right to health means that no one disease should be fought at the expense of the other,’ said Winnie Byanyima, the head of UNAIDS, the U.N. agency dedicated to tackling the disease, and eradicating it by 2030. Projections estimate that a six-month disruption in antiretroviral therapy could lead to more than 500,000 AIDS-related deaths in 2020-2021, including through a rise [in] tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa, according to research conducted by a scientific modeling group convened by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization (WHO)…” (5/11).

Additional coverage of the research, including interviews with Byanyima, is available from AFP, Devex, and Health24.

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WHO Cannot Invite Taiwan To WHA Over Chinese Objections, Legal Counsel Says; World's Middle Powers Seek To Maintain Multilateral Approach To Pandemic

The Hill: WHO says it cannot invite Taiwan to upcoming global health meeting
“The World Health Organization’s (WHO) director-general does not have the power to invite Taiwan to observe an upcoming global health meeting, the organization’s legal representative said Monday, amid protests from China. WHO principal legal officer Steven Solomon said Monday that ‘divergent views’ among member states of the United Nations prevents Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from extending an invitation to an outside country to participate in meetings of the international body. ‘To put it crisply, director-generals only extend invitations when it’s clear that member states support doing so, that director-generals have a mandate, a basis to do so,’ Solomon said in a briefing with reporters…” (Kelly, 5/11).

New York Times: China Is Defensive. The U.S. Is Absent. Can the Rest of the World Fill the Void?
“When Australia started pushing for a global inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, no other countries were on board, and officials had no idea how it would work or how harshly China might react. Europe soon joined the effort anyway, moving to take up the idea with the World Health Organization later this month. And Australia, in its newfound role as global catalyst, has become both a major target of Chinese anger and the sudden leader of a push to bolster international institutions that the United States has abandoned under President Trump. … Confronting a once-in-a-generation crisis, the world’s middle powers are urgently trying to revive the old norms of can-do multilateralism…” (Cave/Kwai, 5/11).

Fox News: Bipartisan lawmakers push to have Taiwan included in World Health Agency meeting, China pushes back (Chakraborty/Casiano, 5/11).

The Hill: China slams New Zealand for supporting Taiwan’s participation in global health meeting (Kelly, 5/11).

New York Times: U.S. to Accuse China of Trying to Hack Vaccine Data, as Virus Redirects Cyberattacks (Sanger/Perlroth, 5/10).

NPR: U.S. Officials: Beware Of China And Others Trying To Steal COVID-19 Research (Myre, 5/11).

NPR: In Coronavirus War Of Words With The U.S., China Pulls No Punches (Feng/Cheng, 5/11).

Wall Street Journal: Tom Cotton Has a China Coronavirus Attack Plan (Seib, 5/11).

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NIAID Director Fauci, Other Health Officials To Testify Virtually In Senate Health Committee Hearing

New York Times: Fauci, Other Witnesses and Chairman Are Quarantined, but Hearing Must Go On
“The chairman is in quarantine for coronavirus exposure. So are the star witnesses. But fireworks — albeit virtual ones — are likely when Dr. Anthony S. Fauci and three other top government doctors testify before the Senate Health Committee on Tuesday in one of the strangest high-stakes hearings in memory. The session, in which the chairman and witnesses will appear by video, will be the first time Dr. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert — and one of the few truth-tellers in the administration in the eyes of many Americans — appears before Congress since President Trump declared the coronavirus crisis a national emergency on March 13…” (Stolberg et al., 5/11).

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China Plans To Test All Wuhan Residents For Novel Coronavirus After Disease Resurgence; African Researchers Push For Funding, Developing Diagnostic Test; Europe Fears Second Wave; Navajo Nation In U.S. Hit Hard


AP: Cape Town and its province are South Africa’s virus hotspot (Magome, 5/11).

Eurasia Review: Dearth Of Medical Resources in Africa For COVID-19 Reminiscent Of Early HIV/AIDS Pandemic (5/10).

Financial Times: Mystery deaths in Nigeria provoke fear of unrecorded coronavirus surge (Munshi, 5/12).

The Guardian: ‘We depend on God’: gravediggers on frontline of Kano’s Covid-19 outbreak (Akinwotu, 5/11).

IPS: Africa’s Health Dilemma: Protecting People from COVID-19 While Four Times as Many Could Die of Malaria (Bafana, 5/11).

New York Times: Kenyans Held for Weeks in Quarantine Were Told to Pay to Get Out (Dahir, 5/8).

NPR: They Used To Give Their Kids 3 Meals A Day. Then Came Coronavirus (Bwire, 5/11).

PRI: Researchers in Senegal are developing a coronavirus test kit to be used across Africa (Rosman, 5/11).

Quartz Africa: African scientists sense a once-in-a-life opportunity to push for research funding (Edward-Ekpu, 5/11).


New York Times: Taiwan’s Weapon Against Coronavirus: An Epidemiologist as Vice President (Hernández et al., 5/9).

PRI: India begins to ease restrictions on areas with no new coronavirus cases (Shenoy, 5/11).

Washington Post: After six new cases, Wuhan plans to test all 11 million residents for coronavirus (Fifield, 5/12).

Washington Post: Tracing South Korea’s latest virus outbreak shoves LGBTQ community into unwelcome spotlight (Kim, 5/11).

Washington Post: In one of the world’s largest slums, the fight against the coronavirus has turned into a struggle to survive (Slater et al., 5/11).


AFP: Putin eases Russia’s stay-at-home orders as cases soar (Brown/Antonova, 5/11).

New York Times: A Coronavirus Mystery Explained: Moscow Has 1,700 Extra Deaths (Nechepurenko, 5/11).

POLITICO: Europe fears coronavirus second wave (Paun, 5/12).

Reuters: Merkel urges prudence as Germany’s infection rate remains critical (Nienaber/Escritt, 5/11).

Xinhua: German gov’t to earmark up to 750 mln euros for developing coronavirus vaccine (5/12).


AP: Pandemic upends life on isolated, idyllic Galapagos Islands (Armario/Vasquez, 5/11).

The Atlantic: Brazil’s Pandemic Is Just Beginning (Friedman, 5/10).

The Hill: Mexican president says NYT ‘lacking in ethics’ over coronavirus report (Bernal, 5/11).

New Humanitarian: As COVID-19 takes off in Latin America, Amazon indigenous groups fear the worst (Dupraz-Dobias, 5/11).

Reuters: ‘Gathering to kill me’: Coronavirus patients in Haiti fear attacks, harassment (Paultre/Marsh, 5/11).


Reuters: Coronavirus cases in Gulf Arab region surpass 100,000 (Ghantous/Barrington, 5/11).

Reuters: Lebanon fears second coronavirus wave as new infections surge (Francis, 5/11).

Reuters: Yemen declares Aden an ‘infested’ city as coronavirus spreads, clashes erupt (Ghobari et al., 5/10).


Fox News: Feds spent nearly $100B on pandemic readiness, health security in decade leading up to coronavirus crisis (Olson, 5/11).

HuffPost: Navajo Nation Now Has More Known COVID-19 Cases Per Capita Than Any State (Miller, 5/11).

Reuters: Coronavirus in Mexico made worse by trio of health risk factors (Gonzalez et al., 5/11).

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News Outlets Highlight Efforts To Develop, Test Vaccines, Treatments For Novel Coronavirus

AP: U.N. says 7 or 8 ‘top’ candidates for a COVID-19 vaccine exist (Lederer, 5/11).

The Guardian: The race for a vaccine: how Trump’s ‘America First’ approach hinders the global search (McCarthy, 5/12).

The Hill: What you need to know about four potential COVID-19 vaccines (Sullivan, 5/12).

Reuters: WHO sees ‘potentially positive data’ on COVID-19 treatments (Farge, 5/12).

Washington Post: WHO sees ‘potentially positive data’ on COVID-19 treatments (Rowland et al., 5/11).

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More Efforts Needed To Erase Inequalities In Food, Health Systems, 2020 Global Nutrition Report Says

Devex: Inequality to blame for uneven nutrition progress, new report says
“Inequalities in food systems and health care coverage mask the true scope of poor nutrition progress within countries and populations, the ‘2020 Global Nutrition Report’ has found. The report, launched Tuesday, said that ‘striking’ inequalities based on location, wealth, education level, age, and sex, as well as the presence of conflict or fragility, can determine nutritional status. Wasting in children under 5 years of age can be up to nine times higher in certain communities inside the same country, while stunting can be four times higher and overweight and obesity three times higher…” (Welsh, 5/12).

The Guardian: Malnutrition leading cause of death and ill health worldwide — report
“…The Global Nutrition Report 2020 found that most people across the world cannot access or afford healthy food, due to agricultural systems that favor calories over nutrition as well as the ubiquity and low cost of highly processed foods. Inequalities exist across and within countries, it says. One in nine people is hungry, or 820 million people worldwide, the report found, while one in three is overweight or obese. An increasing number of countries have the ‘double burden’ of malnutrition, obesity, and other diet-related diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer…” (McVeigh, 5/12).

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USAID Announces New $20M Feed The Future Program In Zimbabwe

VOA: USAID Unveils $20 Million Program to Combat Food Insecurity in Zimbabwe
“The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Zimbabwe has signed a $20 million contract with a local organization expected to boost food production in the country. In a statement, the U.S Embassy in Harare said the new ‘Feed the Future’ program, known as Fostering Agribusiness for Resilient Markets (FARM), is designed to combat food insecurity in Zimbabwe…” (Dube, 5/12).

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Brazil Supreme Court Overturns Rule Limiting Blood Donations From Gay, Bisexual Men; TRF Examines Blood Donation Rules Globally

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Brazil’s Supreme Court throws out rules that limit gay men donating blood
“Brazil’s Supreme Court has overturned rules that limit gay and bisexual men from donating blood in a decision considered a human rights victory for LGBT+ people in the country. The move came as more nations review restrictions on blood donations imposed during the 1980s HIV/AIDS crisis, with some countries imposing blanket bans, some waiting periods after gay sex, and others — like Italy — having no limitations at all…” (Teixeira, 5/9).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: What are the blood donation rules globally for gay and bisexual men?
“…Here are the rules governing blood donation by gay and bi men around the world…” (Savage et al., 5/11).

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More News In Global Health

CNBC: Coronavirus patients discharged from hospitals report ‘long struggle,’ some relapse, WHO says (Feuer, 5/11).

Devex: Travel restrictions, funding gaps a bigger problem than PPE, humanitarian leaders say (Igoe, 5/12).

Financial Times: FTfm: Responsible Investing (Multiple authors, 5/11).

Fox News: Top scientist who battled COVID-19 says ‘we will never … live normally’ without vaccine (Carbone, 5/11).

The Guardian: ‘We wrap services around women’: Brazil’s innovative domestic violence center (Johnson, 5/12).

HealthDay News: Zika Virus Tied to Profound Developmental Delays (Reinberg, 5/11).

Mail & Guardian: The doctor who gave her life to stop Ebola in Nigeria (Lawal, 5/11).

Nature: How young refugees’ traumatic pasts shape their mental health (Abbott, 5/12).

New York Times: Surviving Covid-19 May Not Feel Like Recovery for Some (Horowitz/Bubola, 5/10).

U.N. News: Battle ‘not yet over’ against locust invasions in East Africa and Yemen (5/11).

Wall Street Journal: Bill Gates Has Regrets (McKay, 5/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Role Of Women In Response, Potential Impact On Other Disease Efforts

Barron’s: How to Make Sure the Market Delivers a COVID-19 Vaccine
Amanda Glassman, executive vice president of CGD, CEO of CGD Europe, and senior fellow, and Rachel Silverman, policy fellow at CGD (5/9).

Devex: Opinion: We need a feminist response to this pandemic
Lina Abirafeh, executive director of the Arab Institute for Women at the Lebanese American University and SheDecides Guiding Group member (5/11).

Foreign Affairs: A Perfect Storm for Venezuela
Ivan Briscoe, program director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the International Crisis Group (5/11).

The Guardian: Women are on the Covid-19 frontline — we must give them the support they need
Mark Lowcock, U.N. under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, and Natalia Kanem, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (5/11).

The Hill: Building the next ‘American century’ in the age of COVID-19
R. David Harden, managing director of the Georgetown Strategy Group, and Louise C. Ivers, executive director of Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health, associate professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, and practicing infectious diseases physician (5/11).

New Humanitarian: Coronavirus aid must aim far beyond the short-term health response
Vera Exnerova, Asia regional director, Tim Jenkins, Mongolia country director, and Munkhsaruul Mijiddorj, gender adviser, all at People In Need (5/11).

New York Times: We’re All Casualties of Trump’s War on Science
Michelle Goldberg, opinion columnist at the New York Times (5/11).

POLITICO: What Afghanistan Can Teach Us About Fighting Coronavirus
Pat A. Basu, president and chief executive officer of Cancer Treatment Centers of America Global, Inc. and Jason Dempsey, veteran of the war in Afghanistan and adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security (5/12).

Project Syndicate: COVID-19 Is Clarifying the Climate Challenge
Olivia Macharis, researcher, and Nadim Farajalla, program director of the Climate Change and Environment Program, both at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut (5/11).

Project Syndicate: Is COVID-19 Killing Democracy?
Guy Verhofstadt, president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group (ALDE) in the European Parliament (5/11).

STAT: A global pathogen shield: the health security step to ‘never again’
Ara Darzi, surgeon and director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London, and Noubar Afeyan, biochemical engineer and founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering (5/11).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Opinion — Amid COVID-19, communities continue fight against other pandemics
Linda Mafu, head of political and civil society advocacy at the Global Fund (5/11).

Washington Post: This is Trump’s greatest failure of the pandemic
Editorial Board (5/11).

Washington Post: Letters to the Editor: The coronavirus needs our attention. But don’t forget about Haiti’s cholera epidemic
Josette Sheeran, U.N. special envoy for Haiti (5/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.N. Agency Statements, Blog Posts Address Various Issues Related To COVID-19 Pandemic

Borgen Magazine: Emergency Funding for COVID-19 Needed on a Global Scale
Sara Olk, writer for the Borgen Project (5/11).

Center for Global Development: Economic Perspectives in Latin America: Navigating the Great Lockdown
Alejandro Fiorito, research assistant at CGD (5/11).

Center for Global Development: The Economic Impact of COVID-19 around the World: Projections of Economic Growth Falling Further, Food Insecurity, and A Round-Up of Other Recent Analysis
David Evans, senior fellow, and Amina Mendez Acosta, research assistant, both with CGD (5/4).

ONE: Where do we go from here on COVID-19 debt relief?
Jorge Rivera, policy manager for Development Finance in Paris, and Sara Harcourt, senior policy director for Development Finance in London, both with ONE (5/11).

U.N.: COVID-19: U.N. counters pandemic-related hate and xenophobia (May 2020).

UNAIDS: UNAIDS ensures continuity of HIV treatment for people living with HIV in Botswana (5/11).

UNAIDS: HIV testing and support for homeless people in Belarus (5/11).

UNAIDS: Dealing with COVID-19 in Cameroon (5/11).

U.N. Environment Programme: UNEP steps up work on zoonotics, protecting environment to reduce pandemic risks (5/11).

UNICEF: UNICEF appeals for $1.6 billion to meet growing needs of children impacted by COVID-19 pandemic (5/11).

WHO: The cost of inaction: COVID-19-related service disruptions could cause hundreds of thousands of extra deaths from HIV (5/11). UNAIDS issued a similar release (5/11).

WHO: Considerations for school-related public health measures in the context of COVID-19 (5/10).

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: COVID-19 Shines Spotlight on Race and Gender Inequities in Healthcare
Deekshita Ramanarayanan, staff intern with the Maternal Health Initiative at the Wilson Center (5/12).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Secretary Of State Participates In Video Conference With Foreign Ministers On COVID-19 Response Efforts

U.S. Department of State: Secretary Michael R. Pompeo’s Video Conference with Partners on COVID-19
This readout provides a summary of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s video conference with the foreign ministers of Australia, Brazil, India, Israel, Japan, and the Republic of Korea on COVID-19 response efforts, the importance of international cooperation, and collaboration on preventing future global health crises (5/11).

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Coordinated Approach, More Than One Effective Vaccine Likely Needed To Prevent COVID-19, Scientific Leaders Write

NIH: Coordinated strategy to accelerate multiple COVID-19 vaccine candidates is key, NIH experts say
“A harmonized and collaborative approach to the clinical testing, scale-up, and distribution of candidate vaccines to prevent COVID-19 is essential, scientific leaders write in a perspective published [Monday] in Science. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, government, industry, and academia have introduced a variety of vaccine candidates. The authors [– Francis Collins, director of the NIH; Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at NIH; Lawrence Corey, professor in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle; and John R. Mascola, director of NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center –] note that more than one effective vaccine approach likely will be required to successfully protect the global community from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They describe a strategic approach to research and development that would generate essential data for multiple vaccine candidates in parallel…” (5/11).

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U.S. Provides $1M In Health Assistance To Liberia To Respond To COVID-19

U.S. Embassy in Liberia: The United States Provides One Million Dollars In Assistance to Liberia to Respond to COVID-19
“The United States Government has committed $1,000,000 in health funds to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Liberia. The United States, via the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing life-saving support by coordinating with the Government of Liberia, international humanitarian partners, and other stakeholders to identify priority areas for investment. … Through this assistance, USAID will support: [c]ase management to strengthen clinical care … [i]nfection prevention and control … [l]aboratory strengthening to help Liberia prepare for COVID-19 testing … [c]ommunications to help educate people on steps they can take to prevent and respond to the spread of the virus … [and surveillance] and rapid response to enhance case-finding and event-based surveillance for COVID-19. USAID also helps countries train and support rapid-response teams to investigate cases and conduct contact tracing…” (5/7).

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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 12, 2020 (5/12).

Additional KFF COVID-19 resources on the global situation, as well as 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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