KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report
In The News
- U.N. Security Council Works To Find Common Ground On COVID-19, Cease Fire Resolution; WHO's Nabarro Warns Of 'Fracture In Global Leadership'
AP: U.N. council tries again to agree on COVID-19 resolution
“The U.N. Security Council is trying again to reach agreement on its first resolution since the coronavirus pandemic started circling the globe over two months ago, but a dispute between the U.S. and China over mentioning the World Health Organization remains unresolved. The United States on Friday objected to a proposed resolution drafted by France and Tunisia after diplomats said it had agreed to compromise language with China that didn’t directly mention the U.N. health agency…” (Lederer, 5/13).
Axios: WHO’s coronavirus envoy: We’re seeing a “fracture in global leadership”
“David Nabarro, an envoy for the World Health Organization on COVID-19, said Tuesday that the world is experiencing a ‘fracture in global leadership’ amid responses to the coronavirus pandemic…” (Perano, 5/12).
- China Attempted To Stall WHO From Declaring COVID-19 Pandemic, U.S. Intelligence Officials Say
Newsweek: Exclusive: As China Hoarded Medical Supplies, The CIA Believes It Tried To Stop The WHO From Sounding The Alarm On The Pandemic
“The CIA believes China tried to prevent the World Health Organization from sounding the alarm on the coronavirus outbreak in January — a time when Beijing was stockpiling medical supplies from around the world. A CIA report, the contents of which were confirmed to Newsweek by two U.S. intelligence officials, said China threatened the WHO that the country would stop cooperating with the agency’s coronavirus investigation if the organization declared a global health emergency. It was the second such report from a Western intelligence service and is likely to further inflame tensions between the United States and China over a pandemic that has killed 280,000 people worldwide — more than a quarter of them American…” (Jamali/O’Connor, 5/12).
- U.S. Commission On China, U.S.-Backed Coalition Of Countries Urge Inclusion Of Taiwan In WHO's World Health Assembly
Al Jazeera: U.S. says Taiwan’s exclusion from WHO caused loss of lives
“A top U.S. government commission has said the World Health Organization’s (WHO) exclusion of Taiwan and refusal to allow it to share best practices on tackling the coronavirus pandemic have jeopardized global health, causing deaths across the globe and imperiling the territory’s 23 million people. The report on Tuesday came as the United States and Taiwan stepped up lobbying for Taipei to be allowed access to next week’s meeting of the WHO’s decision-making body, the World Health Assembly…” (5/13).
The Telegraph: U.S.-China clash looms over Taiwan’s invite to global health meeting
“China is heading for a showdown with a U.S.-backed coalition of countries who are calling for Taiwan to be allowed to attend next week’s virtual World Health Assembly as an observer. … The U.K., Japan, Canada, Australia, along with multiple European and developing countries are all asking that Taiwan — which has been lauded globally for a robust pandemic strategy that has kept infections down to 440 and deaths at seven — be invited to join. The U.S. government, in particular, is strongly pushing Taiwan’s case with the launch of the state department’s a ‘Tweet for Taiwan’ campaign…” (Smith, 5/12).
- In U.S.-Led Letter, More Than 300 Lawmakers Urge IMF, World Bank To Cancel Debts Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Reuters: More than 300 lawmakers urge IMF, World Bank to cancel poor countries’ debt
“Over 300 lawmakers from around the world on Wednesday urged the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to cancel the debt of the poorest countries in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and to boost funding to avert a global economic meltdown. The initiative, led by former U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Ilham Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, comes amid growing concern that developing countries and emerging economies will be devastated by the pandemic…” (Shalal, 5/13).
Reuters: IMF chief says growth forecast cuts ‘very likely’ as coronavirus hits economies hard
“International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Tuesday it was ‘very likely’ the Fund would cut global growth forecasts further as the coronavirus pandemic was hitting many economies harder than previously projected…” (Shalal/Lawder, 5/12).
Washington Post: In a time of global crisis, should the world cancel poor countries’ debts?
“…Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in a Wednesday letter addressed to Georgieva and David Malpass, president of the World Bank, called on international financial organizations to consider ‘extensive debt forgiveness’ for more than 70 of the world’s poorest countries. The letter, which also called for significant fiscal stimulus to help stabilize the global economy, was signed by more than 300 lawmakers from over two dozen countries, including former Argentine president Carlos Menem, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, and Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), one of the most senior members in the U.S. chamber…” (Tharoor, 5/13).
- U.S. Provides COVID-19 Pandemic Assistance To South Africa, Nigeria
AP: U.S. gives ‘up to 1,000’ ventilators to South Africa for virus
“The U.S. government is donating ‘up to 1,000’ ventilators to South Africa to help the country respond to COVID-19 as the Trump administration addresses criticism that it hasn’t done enough for countries in need. … The U.S. soon will make similar donations to countries around the world, according to embassy officials…” (Meldrum, 5/12).
The Guardian (Nigeria): United States spends $33m on COVID-19 response in Nigeria
“The United States (U.S.) yesterday disclosed that it has spent over $32.8m in Nigeria in its response to COVID-19 pandemic. In a virtual press briefing, the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, said America had spent over $237m in its interventions on the African continent, while its global interventions had reached $32.4b…” (Mbamalu/Azeez, 5/13).
- Science Examines White House's 'Operation Warp Speed' Initiative To Develop Novel Coronavirus Vaccine
Science: Unveiling ‘Warp Speed,’ the White House’s America-first push for a coronavirus vaccine
“Conventional wisdom is that a vaccine for COVID-19 is at least 1 year away, but the organizers of a U.S. government push called Operation Warp Speed have little use for conventional wisdom. The project, vaguely described to date but likely to be formally announced by the White House in the coming days, will pick a diverse set of vaccine candidates and pour essentially limitless resources into unprecedented comparative studies in animals, fast-tracked human trials, and manufacturing. Eschewing international cooperation — and any vaccine candidates from China — it hopes to have 300 million doses by January 2021 of a proven product, reserved for Americans. Those and other details, spelled out for Science by a government official involved with Warp Speed, have unsettled some vaccine scientists and public health experts…” (Cohen, 5/12).
- Fauci Warns U.S. Reopening Too Quickly Could Cause Disease Resurgence; CDC Guidance More Conservative Than White House; POLITICO Examines Bright's Whistleblower Allegations
AP: AP Exclusive: CDC guidance more restrictive than White House
“Advice from the top U.S. disease control experts on how to safely reopen businesses and institutions during the coronavirus pandemic was more detailed and restrictive than the plan released by the White House last month. … The Associated Press obtained a 63-page document that is more detailed than other, previously reported segments of the shelved guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It shows how the thinking of the CDC infection control experts differs from those in the White House managing the pandemic response…” (Dearen/Stobbe, 5/13).
POLITICO: Colleagues paint a mixed picture of ousted vaccine chief
“…Rick Bright, the [Health and Human Services] department’s ousted vaccine expert, has assembled a 63-page complaint filled with damning allegations: that Trump appointees pressured health officials to rush unproven malaria drugs; that his warnings about mask shortages were ignored; and that senior leaders repeatedly missed opportunities to grapple with threats posed by Covid-19. Those claims are backed up by emails released by Bright, interviews conducted by POLITICO and, in some cases, President Donald Trump’s own public statements. But some colleagues say Bright’s complaint leaves out the full context for the pivotal malaria drug episode, which two current and two former officials say paints a murkier picture of Bright’s claims. Some of his allegations about department decisions on Covid-19 don’t match officials’ statements or the public record. And Bright’s central claim that he was ousted for battling Trump appointees over science is less than certain given that some of his own staff spent months raising concerns about his leadership, including a complaint filed by a person in Bright’s office last summer…” (Diamond, 5/13).
Washington Post: Fauci warns Senate that reopening U.S. too quickly could lead to avoidable ‘suffering and death’
“…Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-diseases expert, predicted Americans would experience ‘suffering and death that could be avoided,’ as well as additional economic damage, if states ignore federal guidelines, including delaying reopening of most businesses until they see dramatic declines in cases. He also said the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus is probably higher than the 80,000 reported to date. Fauci’s comments came during a contentious Senate hearing as lawmakers of both parties pressed him and other federal health officials on whether the country is ready to reopen…” (Wagner et al., 5/12).
- While Some Countries Ease Restrictions, Others Reenact Lockdowns After Seeing COVID-19 Resurgence Following Loosening
Washington Post: As some countries ease up, others are reimposing lockdowns amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections
“As many parts of the world, including the United States, explore ways to ease restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus, countries that had already opened up are closing down again after renewed spikes in infections. Such a resurgence of cases had been widely predicted by experts, but these increasing numbers come as a sobering reminder of the challenges ahead as countries chafing under the social and economic burdens of keeping their citizens indoors weigh the pros and cons of allowing people to move around again…” (Sly et al., 5/13).
- Social Stigma Hurting COVID-19 Containment Efforts In Asia; Russia Records 2nd-Highest Caseload Globally; Cuba Enters Race For Vaccine; Experts Warn Of Case Undercounting In Yemen
Al Jazeera: Is COVID-19 making it harder to treat other diseases in Africa? (5/12).
AP: COVID-19 confirmed in crowded U.N.-run camp in South Sudan (Ajak/Anna, 5/12).
Scientific American: Antipoaching Tech Tracks COVID-19 Flare-Ups in South Africa (Wild, 5/12).
U.N. News: Chad’s storytellers take COVID prevention messages off the grid (5/12).
Wall Street Journal: Another Malaria Cure Draws Notice in Coronavirus Outbreak, This Time in Africa (Steinhauser, 5/12).
AP: India’s financial center strains from virus amid rescue plan (Schmall/Saaliq, 5/13).
Bloomberg: ‘No One Wants to Be Tested’: How Social Stigma Hurts Containment (Lee/Rai, 5/12).
PRI: Malaysia eradicated Nipah virus. Now it’s a leader in the battle against coronavirus (Vass, 5/12).
BBC: Coronavirus: Russia now has second highest virus case total (5/12).
Devex: E.U. launches humanitarian air bridge amid travel shutdowns (Chadwick, 5/13).
The Hill: Families of COVID-19 victims bring lawsuit against Spanish PM (Budryk, 5/12).
NPR: European Countries Are Bracing Themselves For The Next Wave Of The Pandemic (Poggioli et al., 5/12).
Reuters: French coronavirus death toll overtakes Spain’s, now world’s 4th largest (De Clercq/Vidalon, 5/12).
U.N. News: U.N. sustainable energy project in Ukraine finds a new role: fighting COVID-19 (5/12).
LATIN AMERICA & CARIBBEAN
Devex: Virtual Venezuela pledging event moves ahead as COVID-19 pushes needs to $1.41B (Welsh, 5/12).
New Humanitarian: What’s happening in Venezuela’s COVID-19 border quarantines? (Grattan, 5/12).
NPR: Argentina Reacted Early And Kept The Coronavirus Largely Contained (Reeves, 5/12).
Reuters: With Castro-era biotech, Cuba seeks to compete in coronavirus treatment race (Marsh et al., 5/13).
Reuters: Cuba doubles down on testing as coronavirus cases decline (Frank et al., 5/12).
Reuters: Women, migrants, minorities to suffer most in Latin America as coronavirus rages: U.N. agency (Miranda/Sherwood, 5/12).
AP: Doctors and nurses suffered as Iran ignored virus concerns (Michael, 5/12).
New Humanitarian: Syrian refugee women face new COVID-19 battleground (Mednick, 5/12).
Reuters: War-torn Yemen reports coronavirus cases in three more provinces (Ghobnari, 5/12).
Reuters: Exclusive: As COVID-19 cases in Yemen surge, some sources see undercounting (Yaakoubi, 5/13).
Xinhua: Health aid stepped up in Yemen amid COVID-19: U.N. (5/12).
CBC: Canadians to help develop, test potential COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese company (Zafar, 5/12).
TIME: Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine Moves to Phase 2 Testing, and Gets Fast-Track Approval From the U.S. Government (Park, 5/12).
USA TODAY: ‘Unrivaled?’ Fact-checking Donald Trump’s claims about COVID-19 testing (Cummings, 5/13).
- More Than 1M Children Could Die Over Next 6 Months Due To Pandemic-Related Interruptions In Health Services, Modeling Study Shows
The Guardian: UNICEF: 6,000 children could die every day due to impact of coronavirus
“As many as 6,000 children around the world could die every day from preventable causes over the next six months due to the impact of coronavirus on routine health services, the U.N. has warned. Global disruption of essential maternal and child health interventions — such as family planning, birth and postnatal care, and vaccinations — could lead to an additional 1.2 million deaths of under fives in just six months, according to analysis by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, published in the Lancet Global Health Journal…” (Hodal, 5/13).
- Devex Examines Efforts To Prioritize Gender-Based Response To COVID-19 Pandemic
Devex: The effort to prioritize gender-based violence in U.N. pandemic response
“…At the United Nations, gender has been mainstreamed within the COVID-19 response, [Åsa Regnér, deputy executive director at U.N. Women,] argued. The organization has been able to build on lessons from previous crises — especially the Ebola and Zika outbreaks — where restrictions on movement led to an increase in violence against women…” (Smith, 5/13).
Devex: Why focusing on gender-based violence is a priority in a crisis (Smith, 5/13).
- Canada Commits CAD $600M To Gavi, CAD $190M To GPEI Over 4 Years
Radio Canada International/CBC: Canada commits $600M to global vaccination efforts
“Canada is pledging $600 million to a global public-private partnership that works on vaccination campaigns in the world’s poorest countries, International Development Minister Karina Gould announced [Tuesday]. In addition to the funding for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Canada is committing $47.5 million annually over four years to support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s strategy, Gould said. Gould made the announcement at the launch of the Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security virtual meeting, which she co-hosted with her counterparts from Denmark, Qatar, South Korea, and Sierra Leone…” (Sevunts, 5/12).
Global News: Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau praises Canada’s contribution to GAVI initiative (5/12).
- Latin America Faces Dengue Fever Epidemic Amidst COVID-19; Doctors Fear Health System Collapse
The Observers/France 24: Peruvian hospitals hit by double crisis of Covid-19 and dengue fever
“Hospitals in Iquitos, Peru, had already been locked in a months-long struggle against a dengue fever epidemic when Covid-19 hit. The hospitals have been in a dire state since mid-April — an estimated 80% of the department’s health care workers have fallen ill and they are running out of oxygen and beds for sick patients. One doctor says the situation is ‘out of control’…” (Lauvergnier, 5/12).
Reuters: ‘Dengue kills too’ — Latin America faces two epidemics at once
“…Dengue — colloquially called breakbone fever for the severe joint pain it causes — is endemic in much of Latin America, but COVID-19’s arrival has pulled crucial attention and resources away from the fight against it, doctors and officials say. The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) expects 2020 to be marked by high rates of dengue, which can fill intensive care units and kill patients even absent the pressures of COVID-19…” (Griffin et al., 5/12).
- Newborns, Mothers Among Those Killed In Attacks On Afghan Hospital, Funeral
The Guardian: Newborns among 40 killed in attacks on Afghan hospital and funeral
“Gunmen attacked a hospital that houses a maternity clinic in Kabul on Tuesday, killing at least 16 people including two newborn babies, and a suicide bomber killed at least 24 others at a funeral on a morning of double tragedy for Afghanistan. … The attack targeting the most vulnerable of civilians, including children just hours old and exhausted new mothers, caused a wave of horror and revulsion…” (Graham-Harrison/Makoii, 5/12).
Washington Post: Brutal attack on mothers and newborns prompts Afghanistan to resume offensive operations against Taliban
“…The attacks cap a deadly six-week period since the Taliban and the United States signed a deal that leaders hoped would lead to a reduction in violence and the start of intra-Afghan talks. Instead, a spike in attacks by the Taliban and other militant groups such as the Islamic State have put the fragile chance for peace in jeopardy. … In a statement Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the hospital attack as ‘an act of sheer evil’ and urged both sides to find a solution to the political crisis…” (Hassan/George, 5/12).
- More News In Global Health
AP: U.N. chief urges faith leaders to challenge harmful messages (Lederer, 5/13).
CBS News: Forget ‘murder hornets,’ experts say — this is the real ‘murder insect’ (5/12).
Devex: Catching fog and other creative solutions for clean water access (Root, 5/12).
POLITICO: Conspiracy theorists, far-right extremists around the world seize on the pandemic (Scott et al., 5/12).
PRI: Women leaders eschew ‘macho-man’ politics in COVID-19 response (Barry, 5/12).
Science: Mosquitoes’ taste for human blood may grow as African cities expand (Pennisi, 5/12).
U.N. News: U.N. chief appeals to ‘common humanity’ across all faiths, in tackling the coronavirus (5/12).
UPI: Study: Global malnutrition puts more at risk for coronavirus disease (Hughes, 5/12).
Editorials and Opinions
- Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Sweden's Coronavirus Strategy, Virus's Impact On Women's, Children's Health
The Conversation: Human activities are responsible for viruses crossing over from bats and causing pandemics like coronavirus
Narveen Jandu, assistant professor at the School of Public Health & Health Studies at the University of Waterloo (5/12).
Devex: Opinion: How to prevent the 2020s from becoming a lost decade for children
Kevin Watkins, chief executive of Save the Children U.K. (5/12).
Foreign Affairs: Sweden’s Coronavirus Strategy Will Soon Be the World’s
Nils Karlson, professor of political science at Linköping University and president and CEO of the Ratio Institute; Charlotta Stern, professor of sociology in work and organization at Stockholm University and deputy CEO of the Ratio Institute; and Daniel B. Klein, professor of economics and JIN chair at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and associate fellow at the Ratio Institute (5/12).
Foreign Policy: We Can’t Stop the Coronavirus Unless We Stop Corruption
Alexandra Wrage, president of TRACE (5/12).
IPS: Opinion: Protecting Women’s Reproductive Health During the Pandemic
Anand Grover, former United Nations special rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and Ximena Casas, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch (5/12).
The Lancet Global Health: A wake-up call: COVID-19 and its impact on children’s health and wellbeing
Henrietta H. Fore, executive director of UNICEF (5/12).
POLITICO: Coronavirus Is Going to Make Some People Move
Parag Khanna, founder and managing partner of FutureMap, and Kailash K. Prasad, director of research at FutureMap and editor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (5/13).
Project Syndicate: A Pandemic of Hunger
Esther Ngumbi, assistant professor of entomology and African-American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (5/12).
Washington Post: A Chinese lawyer criticized the regime’s handling of the pandemic. Then he disappeared
Editorial Board (5/12).
Washington Post: The pandemic will fuel the populism that sent Trump to the White House
Marc A. Thiessen, columnist at the Washington Post and fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (5/12).
From the Global Health Policy Community
- Blogs, Statements, Letters Address Various Issues Related To COVID-19 Pandemic
BMJ Opinion: Patients in Pakistan are actively participating in relief activities during the covid-19 pandemic
Hussain Jafri, vice chair of the Advisory Group of the WHO PFPS program (5/12).
Center for Global Development: The Indirect Health Effects of COVID-19: Disrupted and Suspended Health Services
Lydia Regan, research assistant, and Y-Ling Chi, senior policy analyst, both with CGD (5/12).
Gates Notes: Scanning for answers to a pandemic
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (5/12).
IntraHealth International’s “VITAL”: A Nurse’s View from the Front Lines of COVID-19 in Namibia
Irine Chelag’at Birir, nurse mentor, and Katherine Seaton, former editorial officer for IntraHealth International (5/12).
PAHO: PAHO Director asks countries to address health, social and economic emergencies together, as COVID-19 expands in the Americas (5/12).
Physicians for Human Rights: Open letter from PHR to the Government of Myanmar to Protect Ethnic Minorities from COVID-19 (5/12).
Research!America: Research!America letter (5/12).
UNAIDS: United Nations agencies coordinate their COVID-19 response in South Africa (5/12).
U.N. Dispatch: How Will COVID-19 Impact Africa? The WHO Releases Pandemic Projections
Joanne Lu, freelance journalist (5/12).
UNICEF: As COVID-19 devastates already fragile health systems, over 6,000 additional children under five could die a day, without urgent action (5/12).
World Bank: Investing in medical laboratory networks: Will COVID-19 (coronavirus) be a wake-up call?
Miriam Schneidman, lead health specialist with the World Bank Africa Region (5/12).
WHO: People living longer and healthier lives but COVID-19 threatens to throw progress off track (5/13).
- WHO, Vatican, Others Recognize International Nurses Day
BMJ Opinion: On International Nurses’ Day, we thank our nursing colleagues
Christine Hancock, former president of the International Council of Nurses and founder of C3 Collaborating for Health (5/12).
Vatican News: Full Text: Pope’s Message for International Nurses Day (5/12).
WHO: Happy international Nurses Day (5/11).
WHO: International Nurses Day (5/12).
From the U.S. Government
- U.S. Department Of State Fact Sheets Discuss U.S. Coordination With Transatlantic, North American Partners To Respond To COVID-19
U.S. Department of State: Transatlantic Cooperation on COVID-19
This fact sheet discusses U.S. coordination with Transatlantic partners on the COVID-19 response, including weekly calls with Transatlantic allies and partners “to share ideas and best practices in responding to the unique and complex challenges presented by the global pandemic and plan for safely re-opening … economies and commerce” (5/12).
U.S. Department of State: North American Cooperation on COVID-19
This fact sheet discusses U.S. coordination with Canada and Mexico on the COVID-19 response, including weekly calls with the two nations’ deputy ministers “to discuss challenges and share best practices in responding to the unique and complex challenges presented by the global pandemic and planning for safely re-opening … economies and commerce” (5/12).
- CDC Blog Post Addresses ME/CFS In U.S., Globally
CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: CDC Team Takes ME/CFS Around the World
This post discusses CDC’s efforts to address chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis and referred to as ME/CFS, globally. “Elizabeth Unger, head of the ME/CFS program at the CDC, describes how her team’s work impacts ME/CFS outside the United States” (5/12).
- KFF Examines Global Funding Across U.S. COVID-19 Supplemental Funding Bills, Other Issues Related To Pandemic
KFF: Global Funding Across U.S. COVID-19 Supplemental Funding Bills
The U.S. thus far has enacted four emergency supplemental funding bills to address the COVID-19 pandemic. While most of the funding in these bills has been for the domestic response, approximately $3.2 billion has been appropriated for global efforts, provided in two of the four bills — the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental and the CARES Act. This includes funding to support the operations of U.S. agencies in other countries, including for repatriation of U.S. personnel, and funding provided directly to affected countries and international efforts. This data note tracks appropriations designated for international efforts in the emergency bills. It will be updated as needed (Oum/Wexler/Kates, 5/12).
KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of May 13, 2020 (5/13).
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.