KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Coronavirus Pandemic To Cut Global Economic Output By $8.5T Over Next 2 Years, U.N. Report Predicts

Devex: COVID-19 will push 130 million into poverty by 2030, U.N. report shows
“Global economic losses will likely cause an estimated 34.3 million additional people to fall below the extreme poverty line in 2020, derailing shaky progress on the 2030 development agenda, a new U.N. report on the world economic situation shows. The coronavirus is expected to slash the global economic output by $8.5 trillion over the next two years, according to the U.N. World Economic Situation and Prospects mid-2020 report, which the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs released on Wednesday…” (Lieberman, 5/14).

Additional coverage of the pandemic’s impacts on the global economy is available from The Hill and U.N. News.

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COVID-19 Pandemic Threatens Gains In Global Health Progress, Efforts Toward Reaching SDGs, WHO Says

U.N. News: COVID-19 threatens to undo global health progress
“While more people are living longer and healthier lives, the rate of progress is too slow to realize global efforts to stamp out poverty and inequality by 2030, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. WHO’s latest World Health Statistics reveal that low-income countries reported the biggest gains in life expectancy, which rose by 11 years between 2000 and 2016. Other achievements during this period include a dramatic scale-up in access to services to prevent and treat HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis. Child mortality was also halved thanks to better maternal and child healthcare. However, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the COVID-19 pandemic could further thwart progress…” (5/13).

Additional coverage of WHO and UNICEF data on the impacts of COVID-19 on life expectancy and health is available from The Hill, U.N. News, and Xinhua.

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COVID-19 Pandemic Could Last 4-5 Years, WHO Scientist Predicts; U.N. Calls For More Attention On Mental Health Needs

Financial Times: WHO’s chief scientist offers bleak assessment of challenges ahead
“It will be four or five years before Covid-19 is under control, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist predicted on Wednesday, in a bleak assessment of the difficulties that lie ahead. Many factors will determine how long and to what extent the virus remains a threat, including whether it mutates, what containment measures are put in place, and whether an effective vaccine is developed, Soumya Swaminathan told the FT’s Global Boardroom digital conference…” (Hodgson, 5/13).

U.N. News: U.N. leads call to protect most vulnerable from mental health crisis during and after COVID-19
“Decades of neglect and underinvestment in addressing people’s mental health needs have been exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.N. said on Thursday, in a call for ambitious commitments from countries in the way they treat psychological illness, amid a potential global spike in suicides and drug abuse. Spearheading the alert ahead of the upcoming World Health Assembly in Geneva, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres urged the international community to do much more to protect all those facing mounting mental pressures…” (5/13).

Additional coverage of the WHO’s statements on the COVID-19 pandemic is available from The Hill (2) and Reuters (2).

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Any Novel Coronavirus Vaccine Must Be Patent-Free, Made Available At No Cost, Current, Former Leaders Say In Open Letter; WHA Draft Resolution Includes Language On Voluntary Intellectual Property Pool, Compulsory Licenses For COVID-19 Medicines

Financial Times: ‘People’s vaccine’ for coronavirus must be free, leaders urge
“Any vaccine against Covid-19 should be patent-free, produced at scale, and made available at no cost to people everywhere, three African leaders and more than 140 public figures, including 50 former world leaders, have urged in an open letter. Calling a vaccine humanity’s best hope of ‘putting a stop to this painful global pandemic,’ Cyril Ramaphosa, the South African president who also chairs the African Union, called for a ‘people’s vaccine’ that would act as a global public good. Signatories of the letter, including Macky Sall, President of Senegal, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, president of Ghana, and Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister, expressed fears that developing countries might not have quick or affordable access to a vaccine that is expected to be discovered and manufactured in the global north…” (Pilling/Jack, 5/13).

STAT: World Health Assembly draft resolution boosts access to Covid-19 medicines
“World Health Assembly negotiators have agreed on a draft resolution that ensures countries can navigate patent rights for Covid-19 medical products, a victory for those supporting wider access to drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines. Although the language could still change before a Monday deadline, the document mentions a voluntary pool, which would collect patent rights, regulatory test data, and other information that could be shared for developing medical products. The European Union last month asked the assembly, which is the governing body of the World Health Organization, to adopt the idea, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has already voiced support…” (Silverman, 5/13).

AP: Sanofi walks back after saying U.S. would get vaccine first (Corbet, 5/14).

AP: E.U.: Possible virus drug approval ‘before the summer’ (Cheng, 5/14).

Financial Times: Why vaccine ‘nationalism’ could slow coronavirus fight | Free to read (Milne/Crow, 5/14).

Reuters: Coronavirus vaccine possible in about a year, says EU agency (Sterling et al., 5/14).

Reuters: U.S. priority on Sanofi virus vaccine would be unacceptable, says France (Andre et al., 5/14).

Wall Street Journal: Old Vaccine Gets New Look in Tests for Coronavirus Protection (Bhattacharya et al., 5/13).

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Trump To Appoint Former GSK Executive Moncef Slaoui To Lead 'Operation Warp Speed' Search For Novel Coronavirus Vaccine

AP: Trump to name former pharma exec as vaccine czar
“President Donald Trump is set to name a former pharmaceutical executive to lead his administration’s all-out effort to produce and distribute a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year. Moncef Slaoui, a former GlaxoSmithKline executive, will lead ‘Operation Warp Speed,’ Trump’s push to accelerate the vaccine development process for COVID-19, according to an administration official. Slaoui is to serve in a volunteer capacity, and will be assisted by Army Gen. Gustave Perna, the commander of United States Army Materiel Command. … ‘Operation Warp Speed’ is operating largely independently of the existing White House coronavirus task force, which is also shifting its focus toward vaccine development…” (Miller, 5/13).

Additional coverage of Slaoui’s expected appointment is available from The Hill, POLITICO, and Reuters.

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U.S. Has Committed More Than $900M In Global Health, Humanitarian Aid But Recipients Restricted On Using Funding For PPE; Senate Aims To Provide Billions For International COVID-19 Response

Devex: ‘Enormous’ bipartisan support for global coronavirus funding, says U.S. senator
“The U.S. is ‘fundamentally misresourced’ when it comes to protecting against global threats, according to Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut and leading voice on the country’s foreign policy in the U.S. Congress. … That ‘fact pattern’ has led Murphy to join with advocates for stronger global health engagement, who are asking that $12 billion for an international response to COVID-19 be included in the next supplemental spending bill that lawmakers are currently negotiating. Last week, a group of Senate Democrats introduced a bill that would provide $9 billion for international coronavirus-related funding. The House of Representatives unveiled a spending proposal Tuesday that voiced support for international programs but made little progress toward the $12 billion mark. Murphy said he is optimistic that senators from both parties will prioritize funding for global response efforts when they eventually come to agreement on what will likely be another massive spending package…” (Igoe, 5/13).

NPR: The U.S. Is Giving Vast Sums Of Money To Fight COVID-19 Abroad. But There’s A Catch
“When it comes to fighting COVID-19 abroad, the U.S. has been the most generous nation in the world, committing $900 million to global health, humanitarian, and economic programs in 120 countries, according to the State Department. The money goes to international and local aid groups and health facilities in country. But there’s a catch. Aid recipients can’t use U.S. funds to buy personal protective equipment for health workers — masks and gloves, for example — without prior approval from the U.S. Agency for International Development. … The measure was put in place to ensure there would be enough PPE for the U.S., [a USAID] spokesperson told NPR. In the email response, the spokesperson noted: ‘We continue to remain sensitive to the needs of humanitarian beneficiaries around the world while balancing the urgency of the domestic requirements here in the United States’…” (Gharib, 5/13).

Science: House Democrats include research dollars in latest pandemic relief package
“By week’s end the Democrat-led U.S. House of Representatives hopes to approve another massive coronavirus relief package. For U.S. scientists, the good news is that the $3 trillion spending bill (H.R. 6800) unveiled last night contains billions of dollars in new research funding. The bad news is that the bill is only a marker for negotiations with Senate Republicans and the White House on what more the federal government should do to help the country deal with the devastating economic and health effects of the pandemic…” (Mervis, 5/13).

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U.S. Government Should Focus Implementation Of Global Fragility Act On Countries In Africa, Civil Society Analysis Says

Devex: Africa should be focus of Global Fragility Act, NGOs say
“The U.S. government should focus implementation of the [Global Fragility Act (GFA)] primarily on countries in Africa, according to a civil society analysis released Tuesday. The working paper, produced by the Alliance for Peacebuilding and One Earth Future, for the first time publicly recommends priority countries for both stabilization and prevention activities as mandated by the GFA. The bill, passed in December, requires the U.S. government to develop a Global Fragility Strategy and identify priority regions and countries in which to pilot a new prevention-based approach to fragile states drawing from lessons learned from decades of failed U.S. foreign interventions….” (Welsh, 5/14).

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U.S. Accusation Of Chinese Hacking COVID-19 Research Slanderous, China Says; China Attempted To Cut Ties To WHO Investigation If Agency Declared Global Emergency, CIA Report Shows

Fox News: China put pressure on WHO to scale back coronavirus warning to stockpile supplies, CIA believes: report
“The CIA believes China tried to prevent the World Health Organization from warning other countries about the novel coronavirus outbreak in January as it worked feverishly to stockpile medical supplies from countries around the world, including the United States. The CIA report, titled ‘U.N.-China: WHO Mindful But Not Beholden to China,’ accuses China of threatening to cut ties with WHO’s coronavirus investigation team if the agency declared a global health emergency, Newsweek first reported on Tuesday…” (Chakraborty, 5/13).

Reuters: China calls U.S. accusation of hacking in COVID-19 research “slander”
“China’s foreign ministry, asked about China-linked hackers breaking into U.S. COVID-19 research, said China opposed what it called slander from the United States…” (Crossley, 5/14).

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Vaccine Expert, Whistleblower Rick Bright To Testify Before U.S. House Subcommittee, Call For Coordinated National Response To COVID-19 Based In Science

Roll Call: ‘Darkest winter in modern history’ may be ahead, whistleblower to testify
“A Trump administration health official who filed a whistleblower complaint last week plans to tell Congress Thursday that without a science-based national response to the pandemic, 2020 will be the ‘darkest winter in modern history.’ ‘Our window of opportunity is closing,’ Rick Bright will tell the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, according to his prepared testimony. … ‘If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities,’ his testimony reads…” (Kopp, 5/13).

Additional coverage of Bright’s expected testimony and whistleblower case is available from Science and Washington Post.

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Brazil Possibly Next COVID-19 Epicenter; 7 U.N. Agencies Urge Libyan Ceasefire To Contain Virus; Lesotho Last African Nation To Confirm Coronavirus Case; Russian Health System Strains Under High Caseload

AFRICA

AP: Burundi kicks out top WHO official in country ahead of vote (Ssuuna/Anna, 5/14).

AP: Lesotho becomes last African nation to confirm a virus case (Moyo, 5/13).

The Guardian: Lesotho records first coronavirus case a week after lifting lockdown (Charumbira, 5/13).

PRI: Coronavirus — and locusts — threaten Kenya’s food security (Kusmer, 5/13).

ASIA

New York Times: Duterte’s Shutdown of TV Network Leaves Void Amid Coronavirus Crisis (Gutierrez, 5/14).

Quartz: One country might emerge from the pandemic stronger than before (Timsit, 5/13).

Wall Street Journal: China’s Wuhan Revs Up Testing Amid Second-Wave Coronavirus Fears (Fan, 5/13).

EUROPE

Bloomberg: Experts Question Why Coronavirus Hasn’t Killed More Russians (Meyer, 5/13).

POLITICO: Italy adopts massive coronavirus economic package (Leali, 5/13).

Wall Street Journal: Britain Starts Easing Lockdown as Pressure Builds on Boris Johnson (Douglas/Colchester, 5/13).

Wall Street Journal: The Dr. Fauci of Eastern Ukraine Tackles Coronavirus After Years of War (Marson, 5/13).

Washington Post: Russia’s coronavirus cases are spiking and the health system is struggling to keep pace (Dixon/Abbakumova, 5/13).

LATIN AMERICA

BBC: Coronavirus: Brazil records highest daily rise in deaths (Watson, 5/13).

DW: Coronavirus pandemic: Is Brazil the new epicenter? (Walter, 5/13).

New York Times: Latin America’s Outbreaks Now Rival Europe’s. But Its Options Are Worse (Kurmanaev et al., 5/12).

MIDDLE EAST

Al Jazeera: Saudi Arabia to enforce coronavirus curfew during Eid (5/13).

AP: 7 U.N. agencies urge Libya cease-fire to contain coronavirus (Lederer, 5/13).

NORTH AMERICA

Los Angeles Times: The whole world is spending to fight coronavirus. In Mexico, the leftist president is making cuts (Linthicum, 5/13).

Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Testing Needs to Grow Sharply in U.S., House Panel Is Told (Burton, 5/13).

Washington Post: Mexico to start reopening border region, other areas as coronavirus lockdown eases (Sheridan, 5/13).

The Week: Experts believe Mexico’s coronavirus cases could be 17 times higher than official tally (Garcia, 5/13).

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U.N. Halts Funding For Programs Transporting Health Services To Northeastern Syria, Impacting COVID-19 Response

Foreign Policy: Bowing to Russia, U.N. Halts Funding for Pandemic Relief in Northeastern Syria
“Facing pressure from Russia, the chief ally to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, U.N. relief agencies have been instructed to stop funding programs by private charities transporting lifesaving health services across the Iraqi border to northeastern Syria, dealing a blow to international efforts to respond to the coronavirus pandemic in opposition-controlled territory, according to diplomatic and relief sources and confidential U.N. guidance. … The funding freeze comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) and other U.N. relief agencies have raised concerns that they lack sufficient access rights to respond to the health needs of some 2 million people in the region…” (Lynch, 5/13).

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More News In Global Health

Der Spiegel: Other Diseases Are Spreading in the Shadow of COVID-19 (Backhaus et al., 5/13).

DW: Coronavirus: COVID-19 shouldn’t make us forget other major infectious diseases (Schmidt, 5/13).

The Guardian: Covid-19 crisis raises hopes of end to U.K. transmission of HIV (Segalov, 5/14).

IPS: Former Child Bride Holds Pakistan to Account for Wrongful Imprisonment in Historic Legal Challenge (Ebrahim, 5/8).

New York Times: New Inflammatory Condition in Children Probably Linked to Coronavirus, Study Finds (Belluck, 5/13).

U.N. News: COVID-19 could help turn the tide on ocean health in Asia-Pacific (5/13).

U.N. News: Take ‘all appropriate public health measures’ to protect detainees from coronavirus, U.N. urges (5/13).

Wall Street Journal: Soaring Prices, Rotting Crops: Coronavirus Triggers Global Food Crisis (Trofimov et al., 5/13).

Wall Street Journal: As Coronavirus Cases Fall, Countries Struggle to Measure When It’s Safe to Reopen (Pancevski/Fidler, 5/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorials, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Response, Including Impact On Other Health Issues

The Atlantic: The Very Real Problem of Both Trump and Pence Getting COVID-19 at the Same Time
Brian C. Kalt, professor of law at Michigan State University (5/14).

The Atlantic: Democracy Is More Robust Than the Pandemic
Tom Mctague, staff writer at the Atlantic (5/14).

Bloomberg: Covid-19 Is Causing More Than One Health Crisis
Editorial Board (5/13).

Devex: Opinion: COVID-19 is a nutrition crisis too — we need a multisystems response
Kristin Hall, head of Nutrition for Growth strategy, and Kerri Wazny, monitoring and evaluation specialist, both at the Power of Nutrition (5/13).

Financial Times: Any Covid-19 vaccine must be treated as a global public good
David Pilling, Africa editor at the Financial Times (5/13).

Foreign Policy: Family Planning Efforts Upended by the Coronavirus
Sarita Santoshini, Indian journalist (5/13).

Global Health NOW: USAID Deserves a Bigger Role in the Global ‘Dance’ to Defeat COVID-19
Jamie Bay Nishi, director of the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) (5/12).

The Hill: Puerto Rico needs federal assistance to recover from coronavirus, natural disasters
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chair of the House Natural Resources Committee (5/13).

New Humanitarian: What West Africa’s resilience can teach the world about COVID-19
Nate Haken, programs director, and Charles Fiertz, programs manager, both at the Fund for Peace (5/13).

New Humanitarian: Five ways to build resilience in fragile health systems
Jonathan Papoulidis, adviser on fragile states for World Vision U.S. (5/13).

New York Times: A Study Said Covid Wasn’t That Deadly. The Right Seized It
Aleszu Bajak, science and data journalist and lecturer at Northeastern University, and Jeff Howe, fellow at the Global Resilience Institute and associate professor of journalism at Northeastern University (5/14).

Project Syndicate: It’s Time to Reform the U.N.
Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari, minister of State of Qatar with the rank of deputy prime minister and president of the Qatar National Library (5/13).

Slate: What Prior Pandemics Tell Us About Drug Discovery in Times of Crisis
Ashish Jha, K.T. Li professor of global health at Harvard University, dean for global strategy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and director of the Harvard Global Health Institute; Daniel Liebman, resident physician at Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School; and Nisarg A. Patel, resident surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco (5/13).

Star Tribune: Work with the world on vaccine development
Editorial Board (5/13).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Opinion: Business with purpose in the era of COVID-19
Laura Kelly, director of shaping sustainable markets at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) (5/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Releases Address Various Issues Related To COVID-19 Pandemic

Apolitical: Women show their worth in the Covid-19 crisis. They deserve more than applause
Roopa Dhatt, co-founder and executive director of Women in Global Health (5/12).

BMJ Opinion: Covid-19: Pandemic exposes inequalities in global food systems
Jacqui Wise, freelance medical journalist (5/12).

Brookings: The coronavirus is a siren for the health-related Sustainable Development Goals
Kushal Kadakia, Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, and Andrea Thoumi, research director for global health at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy (5/13).

Council on Foreign Relations: What Is the World Doing to Create a COVID-19 Vaccine?
Claire Felter, copy editor and writer with the Council on Foreign Relations (5/13).

ONE: 3 experts on what we can’t forget during COVID-19
Anne Paisley, senior editorial manager at ONE (5/13).

Plan International: COVID-19: GOING HUNGRY (May 2020).

Pulitzer Center: COVID-19’s Spotlight on Air Pollution
Patrick Ammerman, reporting fellow with the Pulitzer Center (5/13).

UNAIDS: COVID-19 in prisons — a ticking time bomb (5/13).

UNAIDS: Sex workers in Bangladesh: building resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic (5/13).

UNDP: For a lack of soap and clean water, disease flourishes
Andrew Hudson, head of Water and Ocean Governance Programme for UNDP (5/13).

UNICEF: One of the best defences against coronavirus (5/13).

World Bank: How nutrition can protect people’s health during COVID-19
Muhammad Ali Pate, global director for Health, Nutrition and Population and director of the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF); and Martien van Nieuwkoop, director of the Agriculture Global Practice, both with the World Bank (5/13).

World Bank: COVID-19 (coronavirus): Ensuring continuity of health services in the Middle East and North Africa
Denizhan Duran, young professional, and Rekha Menon, practice manager, both with the World Bank’s Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice (5/13).

World Economic Forum: ‘A false dichotomy’: Global officials on the next phase in the coronavirus crisis
Christopher Alessi, digital editor at the World Economic Forum (5/13).

WHO: Joint statement on Libya: OCHA, UNICEF, IOM, UNHCR, WFP, WHO, UNFPA (5/13).

WHO: UNODC, WHO, UNAIDS and OHCHR joint statement on COVID-19 in prisons and other closed settings (5/13).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Fact Sheet Provides Overview Of U.S. Efforts To Eliminate TB in Central Asia

USAID: USAID Eliminating Tuberculosis in Central Asia
This fact sheet provides an overview of the USAID Eliminating Tuberculosis in Central Asia project, which aims to reduce the burden of TB in Central Asia by building local and regional capacity and improving the detection and treatment of drug-resistant TB (5/12).

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From KFF

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 14, 2020 (5/14).

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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