KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Predicts $1.3B Shortfall For Pandemic Response, Warns U.S. Funding Cuts Would Impact World's Most Vulnerable Populations

AP: WHO: Trump cut to U.S. funds would hit world’s most vulnerable
“The head of emergencies at the World Health Organization warned Wednesday that any end to sizable U.S. funding for the U.N. health agency will have a ‘major implication for delivering essential health services to the most vulnerable people in the world.’ Michael Ryan was responding to questions from reporters about a letter sent by U.S. President Donald Trump to the WHO’s chief threatening an end — for good — to funding from the United States, the agency’s biggest donor, unless it reforms…” (Keaten/Cheng, 5/20).

NPR: Fact-Checking And Assessing Trump’s Letter Of Rebuke To WHO
“As the world seeks to join together to bring the novel coronavirus under control, President Trump has sent a letter to the World Health Organization threatening that the U.S. will halt all funding and consider leaving the agency, pending an assessment of its response to COVID-19. … NPR spoke to global health experts in the U.S., Canada and Switzerland and examined the public record to provide context for some of the assertions in Trump’s letter…” (Huang, 5/20).

Reuters: WHO reports most coronavirus cases in a day as cases approach five million
“The World Health Organization expressed concern on Wednesday about the rising number of new coronavirus cases in poor countries, even as many rich nations have begun emerging from lockdown. The global health body said 106,000 new cases of infections of the novel coronavirus had been recorded in the past 24 hours, the most in a single day since the outbreak began…” (Nebehay et al., 5/20).

Wall Street Journal: World Health Organization Projects $1.3 Billion Shortfall in Fighting Covid-19
“The World Health Organization says it is currently $1.3 billion short of what it expects it will need this year to fight the coronavirus pandemic and is looking for donors to fill the gap as the U.S. government threatens to cut funding. The WHO projects that it will require around $1.7 billion to fight the pandemic through the end of the year, but so far has raised a little more than $400 million from governments and charitable organizations around the world, according to a new report from the organization. An additional $300 million had been pledged by the beginning of May but it had not yet been received…” (Alpert, 5/20).

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Experts Call For U.S. Leadership, Funding To Prevent Global Food Crisis; Additional 10M Children Face Acute Malnutrition Amid Pandemic, WFP Warns

Roll Call: Experts fear worsening global food crisis if U.S. does not lead
“With global hunger projected to increase dramatically this year as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, humanitarian relief experts are calling on the U.S. government to play a leadership role in ensuring that global food supply lines remain open. … Foreign aid organizations want Congress to include $12 billion in additional international assistance in the next coronavirus emergency spending bill it sends to the president. But even more than monetary assistance, U.S. leadership is needed to discourage other countries from erecting trade barriers to agricultural exports and to keep global supply lines running, these groups told CQ Roll Call…” (Oswald, 5/20).

The Telegraph: Ten million more children facing acute malnutrition due to pandemic
“The coronavirus pandemic could push an additional 10 million children into acute malnutrition, according to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). The numbers of young children suffering from malnutrition — a life-threatening lack of the nutrients needed to grow and develop — could rise by 20 percent as a result of the outbreak, the WFP said. Already, one in four children under five years old globally experience stunted growth as a result of malnutrition, or around 151 million. Malnutrition is the cause of almost half of all deaths for under-fives…” (Rigby, 5/20).

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Civil Society Groups Express Concern Over U.S. Request That U.N. Remove Sexual, Reproductive Health Language From COVID-19 Response Plan

The Guardian: U.S. demands removal of sexual health reference in U.N.’s Covid-19 response
“Civil society groups have condemned calls by the Trump administration to remove references to sexual and reproductive health from the U.N. Covid-19 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). In a letter to the U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday, John Barsa, the acting administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), called on the U.N. to ‘stay focused on life-saving interventions’ and not include abortion as an essential service. … Françoise Girard, president of the International Women’s Health Coalition, said Barsa’s letter was ‘very worrisome’…” (Ford, 5/20).

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AstraZeneca Secures Agreements For 400M Doses Of Experimental COVID-19 Vaccine, Receives $1.2B U.S. BARDA Investment; 2 Studies Raise Hopes Of Antibody Immunity, Vaccine; U.S. Vaccine Lead Has Various Investments In Pharma Companies

AP: AstraZeneca secures orders for virus vaccine under testing
“Drug maker AstraZeneca said Thursday it had secured its first agreements for 400 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine it is testing, bolstered by an investment from the U.S. vaccine agency. The Anglo-Swedish company reported it had received more than $1 billion from the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for the development, production and delivery of the vaccine, starting this fall…” (Kirka, 5/21).

The Hill: Two new studies suggest COVID-19 antibodies provide immunity
“A pair of peer-reviewed lab studies conducted by research teams at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston suggest that antibodies created in response to COVID-19 provide immunity from the disease. The studies suggesting one can’t become reinfected with the coronavirus were both published in the journal Science on Wednesday…” (Johnson, 5/20).

New York Times: Trump’s Vaccine Chief Has Vast Ties to Drug Industry, Posing Possible Conflicts
“The chief scientist brought on to lead the Trump administration’s vaccine efforts has spent the last several days trying to disentangle pieces of his stock portfolio and his intricate ties to big pharmaceutical interests, as critics point to the potential for significant conflicts of interest. … Just days into his job, the extent of Dr. Slaoui’s financial interests in drug companies has begun to emerge…” (Kaplan et al., 5/20).

NPR: What It Would Take To Develop A Coronavirus Vaccine
“NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly talks with Prashant Yadav, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, about why vaccines require global cooperation and how the U.S. is approaching the challenge…” (Kelly, 5/20).

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Why developing a COVID-19 vaccine is only part of the struggle (Stirgus, 5/19).

Bloomberg: How China’s Pledge to Give Its Virus Vaccine Could Go (5/19).

CNBC: Trump administration’s ‘Warp Speed’ plan gets this right about speeding up a Covid-19 vaccine (Clifford, 5/20).

Financial Times: AstraZeneca books orders for 400m doses of Oxford vaccine (Rovnick et al., 5/21).

New York Times: A New Entry in the Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine: Hope (Zimmer et al., 5/20).

NPR: New Studies Show That Developing A Coronavirus Vaccine Should Be Possible (Palca, 5/20).

Reuters: U.S. secures 300 million doses of potential AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (B et al., 5/21).

Reuters: Red Cross aid agency warns against any move to limit vaccine access (Nichols, 5/20).

Washington Post: Trump’s promise of ‘Warp Speed’ fuels anti-vaccine movement in fertile corners of the Web (Stanley-Becker, 5/20).

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White House Report Further Criticizes China; China's Xi Seeks To Revive Economy, Project Unity

AP: White House report blasts Chinese ‘malign activities’
“Beyond its hard-hitting rhetoric against China over its handling of the coronavirus, the White House has issued a broad-scale attack on Beijing’s predatory economic policies, military buildup, disinformation campaigns, and human rights violations. The 20-page report does not signal a shift in U.S. policy, according to a senior administration official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the report and spoke only on the condition of anonymity, but it expands on President Donald Trump’s get-tough rhetoric that he hopes will resonate with voters angry about China’s handling of the disease outbreak, which has left tens of millions of Americans out of work…” (Reichmann, 5/21).

Wall Street Journal: China’s Xi Seeks to Portray Unity and Pivot to Economy Under Coronavirus Shadow
“Chinese leader Xi Jinping is racing to revive a battered economy as he tries to project a united Communist Party and quash dissent against his authority. An annual legislative conclave will bring thousands of lawmakers and political advisers to Beijing this week, after a 2½-month delay, and give Mr. Xi an opportunity to lay out his economic goals and pivot back to sidelined priorities through the staging of China’s first major political assembly since the Covid-19 pandemic started…” (Wong, 5/20).

Additional coverage of the U.S.-China relationship is available from Reuters and Washington Post.

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U.S. To Deliver Medical Aid To Russia To Assist With Rising Number Of COVID-19 Cases

Reuters: U.S. to fly aid into Russia where coronavirus cases are climbing
“A U.S. military transport aircraft was expected to deliver a first batch of medical aid to Russia on Thursday, including 50 ventilators, to help Moscow cope with a rising number of novel coronavirus cases and deaths. … Only the United States has more confirmed cases of the novel infection. … Moscow sent medical supplies itself to the United States last month…” (Stolyarov et al., 5/21).

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U.N. Pulls Some Foreign Staff From Idlib Amid Rise In COVID-19 Cases; Russian Doctors Face Hostility, Mistrust; South Africa Experts Predict Up To 50K COVID Deaths; Pakistan Cases Continue To Rise Post-Lockdown

AFRICA

AP: Nearly 2 dozen escape from virus quarantine in Zimbabwe (Mutsaka, 5/20).

New Humanitarian: COVID-19 and hyperinflation leave hunger and few options in Zimbabwe (Dongozi, 5/20).

Reuters: South Africa scientists say up to 50,000 COVID-19 deaths possible (Toyana, 5/21).

Reuters: Egypt to offer coronavirus testing in all general hospitals (Atallah/Lewis, 5/20).

U.N. News: Just hoping coronavirus will bypass Africa, would be a deadly mistake: Bachelet (5/20).

ASIA

AP: Sikh kitchens feed New Delhi’s masses in virus lockdown (Schmall, 5/21).

Reuters: Lockdown over, Pakistan’s COVID-19 deaths, infections tick higher (Peshimam, 5/21).

UPI: Report: North Korea quarantining people with cold symptoms (Shim, 5/19).

EUROPE

AP: ‘We’re expendable’: Russian doctors face hostility, mistrust (Litvinova/Trofimova, 5/21).

Wall Street Journal: As the Coronavirus Lockdown Eases, Italy Confronts an Epidemic of Poverty (Stancati, 5/21).

Washington Post: An undertaker’s view of London’s coronavirus outbreak (Booth, 5/18).

LATIN AMERICA

AP: As virus swamps Peru, Venezuelan migrants collect the dead (Briceño, 5/20).

AP: In Brazil Amazon, help a flight away for many virus patients (Brito, 5/20).

AP: Brazil expands use of unproven drug as virus toll rises (Jeantet, 5/20).

The Guardian: ‘If I don’t have sex I’ll die of hunger’: Covid-19 crisis for Rio’s trans sex workers (Phillips/Cheibub, 5/21).

Reuters: Rural Ecuador faces coronavirus outbreak without doctors (Arcos/Del Pino, 5/20).

The Telegraph: Bolivia health minister arrested for corruption over ventilators (5/20).

Washington Post: Coronavirus seizes São Paulo as Trump ponders Brazil travel ban (Lopes, 5/20).

MIDDLE EAST

New Humanitarian: COVID-19 border closure cuts off Idlib cancer patients from treatment (Al Hosse/Edwards, 5/20).

New Humanitarian: U.N. pulls half its foreign aid staff out of Yemeni capital as COVID-19 spreads (Parker, 5/20).

Reuters: Iran says 10,000 of its health workers infected with coronavirus (5/21).

NORTH AMERICA

The Atlantic: ‘How Could the CDC Make That Mistake?’ (Madrigal/Meyer, 5/21).

The Atlantic: America’s Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further (Yong, 5/20).

Financial Times: U.S. health agency director warns of virus flare-up this year (Stacey/Crow, 5/20).

The Hill: Why the U.S. has the most reported coronavirus cases in the world (Sullivan, 5/21).

NPR: WH Coronavirus Coordinator Encouraged By Decline In New Cases In Most Of U.S. (Ordoñez, 5/19).

Reuters: Mexico registers record one-day coronavirus death toll with 424 fatalities: health ministry (Jorgic, 5/20).

Reuters: Large contingent of Cuban doctors help Mexico with coronavirus: sources (Oré, 5/20).

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Negotiated Solutions Among Venezuela's Political Actors Needed For Country To Move Forward, Especially Amid COVID-19, U.N. Official Says

U.N. News: Only Venezuelans can resolve Venezuela’s deepening crisis, DiCarlo tells Security Council
“Negotiations remain the only way to overcome the ongoing political deadlock in Venezuela, especially given the potentially far-reaching impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior U.N. official told the Security Council on Wednesday. … Reiterating the secretary general’s oft-repeated call for a negotiated solution among Venezuelans — with United Nations help if requested — [Rosemary A. DiCarlo, under-secretary general for political and peacebuilding affairs,] said that talks among the country’s main political actors remains the only way forward. … In its latest situation report, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a total of 618 confirmed [COVID-19] cases in Venezuela and 10 deaths. Politicization of humanitarian aid remains a major concern, the under-secretary general said, adding that nationwide fuel shortages — which the government attributes to unilateral sanctions — is constraining the work of humanitarian organizations trying to sustain their COVID-19 response…” (5/20).

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Oxfam To Close 18 Country Offices Amid Funding Pressures Exacerbated By COVID-19 Pandemic

AP: Oxfam to close 18 offices worldwide as virus drains finances
“Oxfam International, one of the world’s leading aid agencies, will severely curtail its work because of the financial strain caused by the coronavirus pandemic, including the closure of operations in 18 countries at the potential cost of 1,450 jobs…” (Pylas, 5/21).

Devex: Exclusive: Oxfam to lay off 1,450 staff and withdraw from 18 countries
“…More cost cutting is expected, as Oxfam — one of the world’s best-known development charities — conducts an organizational restructuring. A strategic review of the organization, made up of 20 affiliate members, began in late 2018 but its effects have been greatly accelerated by the economic turmoil brought about by the pandemic, which has seen fundraising events canceled and Oxfam stores closed…” (Worley, 5/20).

The Guardian: Oxfam to close in 18 countries and cut 1,500 staff amid coronavirus pressures
“…Still suffering from a fall in donations from the public in the U.K. because of the Haiti sex abuse scandal, and heavily dependent on its shops in a number of European countries — to the tune of £5m a week — Oxfam’s other sources of funding had also begun drying up. Oxfam Australia had already made deep cuts earlier this month, while cuts in the UK to Oxfam GB were also foreseen. Oxfam currently operates in 66 countries and 20 affiliates. It will retain a physical presence in 48 countries, six of which it will explore as new independent affiliate members…” (Beaumont, 5/20).

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More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: Trump sidelines CDC in push to reopen the U.S. economy (Roberts, 5/20).

Devex: First came the coronavirus. And then the cyclone hit (Cornish, 5/21).

Devex: Q&A: Gates Foundation adopts ‘yes, and’ strategy in response to COVID-19 (Lieberman, 5/21).

The Economist: The risk of severe covid-19 is not uniform (5/21).

The Guardian: Rwanda to release 50 women jailed for having abortions (Hitayezu, 5/21).

Reuters: Top HIV scientist says he wouldn’t count on a vaccine for coronavirus soon (Galloni, 5/20).

Reuters: Cyclone kills 14 in India, Bangladesh leaving trail of destruction (Nagchoudhary et al., 5/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Role Of WHO, Impact On SDGs, Food Systems

Daily Star: Sustainable Development Goals: What to salvage from Covid-19
Abdullah Shibli, economist and senior research fellow at the International Sustainable Development Institute (ISDI) (5/20).

Devex: In the face of COVID-19, a new direction for Oxfam
José María (Chema) Vera, interim executive director of Oxfam International (5/20).

Foreign Affairs: Chronicle of a Pandemic Foretold
Michael T. Osterholm, Regents professor and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, and Mark Olshaker, writer and documentary filmmaker (5/21).

The Hill: Africa’s able pandemic response merits greater U.S. support
K. Riva Levinson, president and CEO of KRL International LLC (5/20).

New Humanitarian: COVID-19: When saving fewer lives is the right thing to do
Michiel Hofman, senior humanitarian specialist with Médecins Sans Frontières (5/20).

New York Times: What to Expect When a Coronavirus Vaccine Finally Arrives
Elena Conis, historian and professor in the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and Michael McCoyd and Jessie A. Moravek, doctoral candidates at the University of California, Berkeley (5/20).

New York Times: Let’s Remember That the Coronavirus Is Still a Mystery
Nicholas Kristof, columnist for the New York Times (5/20).

Project Syndicate: We Must Expand Debt Relief for Developing Countries
Josh Lipsky, director for programs and policy at the Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics Program, and Jeremy Mark, former senior communications adviser and speechwriter to the International Monetary Fund’s management team (5/20).

Project Syndicate: Protecting Women During the Pandemic
Davide De Beni, health economics adviser, and Federica Maurizio, sexual and reproductive health and rights analyst, both at the United Nations Population Fund’s Asia-Pacific office (5/20).

Wall Street Journal: How WHO Lost Its Way
Editorial Board (5/15).

Wall Street Journal: Letters: WHO Focus Widened to Reflect Health Needs
Cara Kiernan Fallon, associate fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy (5/20).

Washington Post: The E.U. has realized it is on its own — and is acting accordingly
Editorial Board (5/20).

Washington Post: Lebanese prime minister: The coronavirus is pushing Lebanon toward a major food crisis
Hassan Diab, prime minister of Lebanon (5/20).

Washington Post: The pandemic shows that Putin is not a strong leader
Michael McFaul, director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Hoover fellow at Stanford University (5/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blogs, Statements Address Issues Related To COVID-19 Pandemic

BMJ Opinion: Richard Smith: learning from a four-star general on leading in a time of pandemic
Richard Smith, former BMJ editor (5/20).

Center for Global Development: Why is DFC Investing in Domestic COVID-19 Programs?
Clemence Landers, policy fellow, and Prashant Yadav, senior fellow, both with CGD (5/20).

Chicago Council on Global Affairs: One Child, One Classroom — The Lifelong Cost of Malnutrition
Roger Thurow, senior fellow for global food and agriculture at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (5/20).

Friends of the Global Fight: How COVID-19 is affecting the global response to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria (5/20).

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF): Haiti: MSF opens COVID-19 treatment center (5/20).

Science Speaks: COVID-19: Does the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children have implications for vaccines?
Daniel Lucey, infectious diseases physician and adjunct professor of infectious diseases at Georgetown University Medical Center and senior scholar at the Georgetown University O’Neill Institute, and Kristen Kent, MPhil, is a medical student at Georgetown University School of Medicine (5/20).

Science Speaks: COVID-19 Chameleon: Has Kawasaki syndrome been linked to a viral illness all this while?
Bertha Serwa Ayi, adjunct assistant professor of medicine at the Kansas Health Sciences Center and adjunct lecturer at the University of Development Studies in Ghana (5/20).

UNAIDS: Kenyan sex workers abandoned and vulnerable during COVID-19 (5/20).

UNAIDS: How COVID-19 has affected the needs of young people living with HIV and young key populations in Indonesia (5/20).

UNDP: COVID-19: Human development on course to decline this year for the first time since 1990 (5/20).

World Bank: COVID-19 (coronavirus): Ensuring equal access to vaccines through advanced market commitments
Shirmila Ramasamy, capital markets lawyer working on innovative financing mechanisms at the World Bank (5/20).

World Food Programme: Coronavirus threatens global surge in malnutrition, jeopardizing future of an extra 10 million children (5/20).

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Friends Of Global Fight Post Highlights Takeaways From Global Fund Board Meeting

Friends of the Global Fight: Key Takeaways from the Global Fund’s 43rd Board Meeting
Mark P. Lagon, chief policy officer, and Berk Ehrmantraut, digital communications manager, both with Friends of the Global Fight, summarize highlights from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s Board Meeting held virtually May 14-15 (5/20).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. State Department Announces Additional Funding For International COVID-19 Response

U.S. Department of State: Delivering on American Commitments in the COVID-19 Response with Additional Foreign Assistance
In this release, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo announces additional assistance for the international response to COVID-10. Pompeo states, “The American people continue to prove they are the most generous humanitarians the world has ever known with today’s commitment of an additional $162 million for COVID-19 response, bringing the total to date to more than $1 billion since the outbreak began. The new funding announced today will continue to support vital interventions in health; water, sanitation, and hygiene; protection; and logistics; while also beginning to address the rapid rise in food insecurity driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding supports emergency food assistance, a first in our provision of COVID-19 supplemental funding to-date. Emergency food assistance is particularly important as the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted supply chains, restricted movement and created macroeconomic instability” (5/20).

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U.S. Announces Additional Humanitarian Support For Venezuela, Region

U.S. Department of State: United States Provides Additional Assistance for the Crisis in Venezuela and the Region
In a release, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo announced additional funding for the crisis in Venezuela. Pompeo states, “We are providing more than $200 million in additional assistance from the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Inter-American Foundation (IAF), including more than $138 million in humanitarian assistance, for Venezuelans in need. This includes critical humanitarian support to Venezuelans inside Venezuela, as well as humanitarian and development support for those who have fled to countries across the region and the communities hosting them” (5/20).

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From KFF

KFF Brief Examines COVID-19's Implications For PEPFAR, Expert Discusses Sweden's Coronavirus Strategy In Foreign Affairs Article

KFF: COVID-19 & PEPFAR: Implications for the Future
The potential for the COVID-19 pandemic to significantly affect the health and development of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, has serious implications for PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). This issue brief examines the steps PEPFAR has taken to respond to the outbreak and the issues at stake (Carbaugh/Kates/Oum, 5/20).

KFF: Sweden’s Coronavirus Strategy Should Not Be the World’s — But Aspects of It Are Worthy of Consideration
In an article for Foreign Affairs, KFF Associate Director for Global Health Policy Josh Michaud discusses Sweden’s response to novel coronavirus (5/20).

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of May 21, 2020 (5/21).

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 blog series “Coronavirus Policy Watch” is available here.

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