KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N., Canada, Jamaica To Convene World Leaders In Effort To Boost Funding For Developing Countries; AP, Devex Examine Leadership, Key Development Players During Pandemic

Reuters: U.N. calls meeting to boost pandemic support for developing countries
“U.N. officials said they will meet on Thursday with over a dozen world leaders to discuss shoring up financial support for emerging economies, hit hard by the pandemic’s economic fallout. The online meeting comes amid surging coronavirus infections in developing countries and warnings it will cost more than the initially forecast $2.5 trillion for them to weather the crisis. It was convened by Canada, Jamaica, and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres…” (Shalal, 5/26).

AP: Hypocrisy gone viral? Officials set bad COVID-19 examples (Adamson et al., 5/27).

Devex: ‘It’s very, very different’: COVID-19 forces new era of development cooperation (Welsh, 5/26).

Devex: Donors must match speed with transparency in coronavirus funding, advocates say (Igoe, 5/26).

Devex: Key actors: Who is leading the COVID-19 aid response? (Ravelo, May 2020).

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WHO Warns Of COVID-19 Second Peak As Nations Lift Restrictions; Latin America Becomes Epicenter Of Pandemic, PAHO Says

CNN: Latin America is now the ‘epicenter of the outbreak,’ says health official
“Latin America has surpassed Europe and the United States in the daily number of reported Covid-19 infections, the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said Tuesday, putting the region at the center of the global outbreak. There have been more than 2.4 million cases and more than 143,000 deaths in all of the Americas, Dr. Carissa Etienne told a press briefing, adding the region ‘has become the epicenter of the Covid pandemic’…” (Darlington et al., 5/26).

Washington Post: WHO warns of second peak and cautions against scaling back restrictions too soon
“The World Health Organization on Tuesday warned nations against scaling back coronavirus restrictions too quickly, saying a premature push to return to normalcy could fuel a rapid acceleration of new cases. ‘We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now that it’s going to keep going down,’ Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s health emergencies program, told reporters during a briefing. He cautioned that countries could face another peak of coronavirus cases even ahead of a presumed second wave of infections months from now…” (Dennis et al., 5/26).

Additional coverage of the WHO’s warning and rising cases in Latin America is available from ABC, The Guardian, and Reuters (2).

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Senate Bill, Administration Plan Look To Revamp U.S. Global Health Security; WHO Official Discusses Trump's Threat To Withdraw From Organization; Administration Imposes New Travel Ban On Brazil

Devex: Senate bill latest in efforts to revamp U.S. global health security
“…[Sen. James Risch, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee], a Republican from Idaho, on Friday introduced the Global Health Security and Diplomacy Act of 2020, which is co-sponsored by Democrats Sen. Chris Murphy and Sen. Ben Cardin. The bill outlines a reorganization of leadership in U.S. global health security and proposes $3 billion in funding for global health security between fiscal years 2021 and 2025. … The Global Health Security and Diplomacy Act of 2020 proposes creating a new global health security coordinator at the State Department — which an administration plan for a new health initiative would also require, according to documents that Devex obtained Friday…” (Saldinger, 5/27).

POLITICO: WHO official: ‘I cannot imagine’ U.S. pulling out of the international body
“The World Health Organization and United States have been ‘connected since the very beginning,’ and a U.S. departure from the international body would be unimaginable, a WHO official said Sunday. ‘The United States, since at least 1902, has been the leader in global public health, and I cannot imagine an environment where the United States would not be in WHO and contributing to WHO as it does today,’ Stewart Simonson, WHO’s assistant director general of general management, said in an interview on CNN’s ‘Fareed Zakaria GPS’…” (Seddiq, 5/24).

AP: White House imposes coronavirus travel ban on Brazil (Superville, 5/24).

BBC: Coronavirus: China accuses U.S. of spreading ‘conspiracies’ (5/24).

Borgen Magazine: Everything to Know About US Foreign Aid During COVID-19 (Burrer, 5/26).

STAT: New research rewrites history of when Covid-19 took off in the U.S. — and points to missed chances to stop it (Branswell, 5/26).

Vox: Trump’s latest travel ban targets Brazil (Narea, 5/26).

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Federal Researchers Publish Preliminary Results From Remdesivir Trial; WHO Pauses Use Of Hydroxychloroquine In Global Study; Nations Take Actions On Experimental COVID-19 Treatments

New York Times: Federal Scientists Finally Publish Remdesivir Data
“Nearly a month after federal scientists claimed that an experimental drug had helped patients severely ill with the coronavirus, the research has been published. … The long-awaited study, sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on The New England Journal of Medicine website on Friday evening. It confirms the essence of the government’s assertions: Remdesivir shortened recovery time from 15 days to 11 days in hospitalized patients. The study defined recovery as ‘either discharge from the hospital or hospitalization’…” (Kolata, 5/23).

POLITICO: World Health Organization pauses study of hydroxychloroquine in global trial
“The World Health Organization is pausing the use of hydroxychloroquine in its global study of COVID-19 treatments amid a review of safety data, officials announced Monday. The move follows findings from a large observational study, published Friday, that found increased risk of heart problems and death in COVID-19 patients who used chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine…” (Wheaton, 5/25).

Washington Post: Taxpayers paid to develop remdesivir but will have no say when Gilead sets the price
“…Three federal health agencies were deeply involved in remdesivir’s development every step of the way, providing tens of millions of dollars of government research support. Now that big government role has set up a political showdown over pricing and access. Despite the heavy subsidies, federal agencies have not asserted patent rights to Gilead’s drug, potentially a blockbuster therapy worth billions of dollars. That means Gilead will have few constraints other than political pressure when it sets a price in coming weeks. Critics are urging the Trump administration to take a more aggressive approach…” (Rowland, 5/26).

Additional coverage of clinical trials involving remdesivir and hydroxychloroquine is available from Financial Times, The Guardian, POLITICO (2), Reuters (2), STAT, and The Telegraph.

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Merck Enters Race To Develop Novel Coronavirus Vaccine, Announcing Partnership With IAVI; Global Funds For Vaccine, Treatment R&D Reach $10.4B, E.C. Head Says

PRI: Coronavirus vaccine will need new models of public-private partnership, says research nonprofit CEO
“The world will need billions of doses of a vaccine to eradicate the novel coronavirus pandemic, and that means public and private sector partners will have to find new models of partnership to meet the challenge, Mark Feinberg, CEO of research nonprofit IAVI tells The World’s Marco Werman…” (5/26).

Reuters: Global fundraising for COVID-19 vaccine, drugs exceeds $10 billion, E.U. says
“A global campaign to fund the development of vaccines and therapies against COVID-19 has so far raised 9.5 billion euros ($10.4 billion), the head of the European Commission said on Tuesday…” (Guarascio, 5/26).

Wall Street Journal: Merck Does Deals to Develop Coronavirus Vaccines, Drug
“…For one vaccine, Merck said it is acquiring privately held Themis Bioscience, of Vienna. In March, Themis said it was collaborating with the French nonprofit Institut Pasteur and the University of Pittsburgh on Covid-19 vaccine development. Themis is working to scale up production for clinical trials that could begin within weeks, [Roger Perlmutter, Merck’s R&D chief,] said. Merck’s second coronavirus vaccine effort will take the form of a partnership with the scientific-research organization IAVI, whose experimental vaccine uses the same technology that is the basis for Merck’s Ebola Zaire virus vaccine, Dr. Perlmutter said. Merck said it would help IAVI, a New York-based nonprofit, further develop the vaccine, which could begin human testing later this year. In addition, Merck said it would license the rights to an experimental Covid-19 drug from privately held Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP of Miami…” (Hopkins, 5/26).

Additional coverage of the global effort to develop vaccines for the novel coronavirus, as well as accessibility to approved vaccines and treatments, is available from Bloomberg (2), CNBC, Devex (2), Financial Times, The Hill, Reuters (2), Science, and STAT.

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E.U. Proposal Focused On Fast-Tracking Vaccines Rejected By Pharmaceutical Companies In 2017, Guardian Reports

The Guardian: Exclusive: big pharma rejected E.U. plan to fast-track vaccines in 2017
“The world’s largest pharmaceutical companies rejected an E.U. proposal three years ago to work on fast-tracking vaccines for pathogens like coronavirus to allow them to be developed before an outbreak, the Guardian can reveal. The plan to speed up the development and approval of vaccines was put forward by European Commission representatives sitting on the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) — a public-private partnership whose function is to back cutting-edge research in Europe — but it was rejected by industry partners on the body. The commission’s argument had been that the research could ‘facilitate the development and regulatory approval of vaccines against priority pathogens, to the extent possible before an actual outbreak occurs.’ The pharmaceutical companies on the IMI, however, did not take up the idea…” (Boffey, 5/25).

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Wuhan Tests 6.5M People For COVID-19 In Days; Chile's Hospitals Struggle Amid Pandemic; Middle East Fears Resurgence During Eid; Navajo Nation Youth Work To Protect Elders, Cultural Knowledge


AP: Sudan to establish police force to protect health workers (Magdy, 5/23).

The Guardian: How South Africa’s action on Covid-19 contrasts sharply with its response to AIDS (du Plessis, 5/27).

U.N. News: Mozambique school children face ‘catastrophic’ fall-out from COVID-19: a U.N. Resident Coordinator blog (5/25).

U.N. News: First Person: The struggle to protect human rights in East Africa during the pandemic (5/26).

Washington Post: ‘We were so ready’: LGBT refugees in Kenya live in fear as global resettlement is put on hold (Bearak/Ombuor, 5/26).


Al Jazeera: No school until coronavirus vaccine is available: Duterte (5/26).

New York Times: Here’s How Wuhan Tested 6.5 Million for Coronavirus in Days (Wee/Wang, 5/26).

Reuters: China’s coronavirus campaign offers glimpse into surveillance system (Cadell, 5/26).

The Telegraph: Covid-19 pandemic could increase child mortality in Cambodia by 35 percent, report warns (Hayes, 5/26).

Science: Japan ends its COVID-19 state of emergency (Normile, 5/26).

Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Doesn’t Have to Be So Deadly. Just Look at Hong Kong and Singapore (Purnell/Solomon, 5/26).

Washington Post: ‘There is no work from home’: As Hong Kong moves past pandemic, unsung hygiene army soldiers on (Mahtani/Liang, 5/26).


The Guardian: Sweden ‘wrong’ not to shut down, says former state epidemiologist (Orange, 5/24).

Reuters: Coronavirus toll on Italy’s elderly strains ‘nonni’ safety net (Cristoferi et al., 5/27).


AP: Mexico hit new virus record of over 500 deaths per day (5/27).

AP: Death and denial in Brazil’s Amazon capital during pandemic (Brito/Biller, 5/26).

AP: Chile’s hospital ICUs near full capacity as pandemic rages (Vergara, 5/27).

PRI: In Latin America, coronavirus slams an economy already in dire straits (Valencia, 5/26).


The Guardian: Middle East fears a coronavirus surge amid Eid celebrations (Safi et al., 5/24).

U.N. News: Yemen aid lifeline near ‘breaking point’: U.N. food agency (5/26).


Homeland Preparedness News: Nuclear Threat Initiative provides new metrics on safely reopening the U.S. amidst COVID-19 pandemic (Galford, 5/26).

New York Times: The Pandemic Upends Islam’s Holiest Month (Stack, 5/26).

POLITICO: Fears of Canadian condom shortage mask Covid-19’s real sexual health crisis (Blatchford, 5/26).

Reuters: Mexico registers 501 deaths from coronavirus in one day, biggest jump yet (Angulo, 5/26).

STAT: Pharma panics as Washington pushes to bring drug manufacturing back to the U.S. (Florko, 5/26).

STAT: As Covid-19 tears through Navajo Nation, young people step up to protect their elders (Gable, 5/26).

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Virtual Pledging Conference For Venezuelan-Related Aid Raises $2.79B

Devex: Virtual Venezuela pledging conference raises $2.79B
“A virtual pledging conference for Venezuelan refugees and migrants raised $2.79 billion in total commitments Tuesday. Representatives from UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration, which supported the conference along with the European Union and Spain, said the United Nations agencies were pleased with the results of the conference, which was livestreamed on YouTube. Of the $2.79 billion raised, $653 million is grant funding…” (Welsh, 5/27)

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More News In Global Health

Bloomberg: Global Leaders Call on U.N., Governments to Thwart Health-Care Hackers (Sebenius, 5/26).

BMJ: Covid-19: Public health must be ‘at the core’ of global recovery plans, say doctors (Iacobucci, 5/25).

Devex: Q&A: WFP redesigns programs for ‘marathon’ COVID-19 response (Lieberman, 5/26).

Devex: How COVID-19 and climate are encouraging islands to invest in food security (Cornish, 5/26).

Devex: Maternal health services take a hit amid global lockdown (Green, 5/25).

Devex: Watch: Rockefeller Foundation’s pandemic chief calls for ‘herd awareness’ (Kumar, 5/25).

Devex: Donors are ignoring hygiene in the fight against COVID-19 (Root, 5/25).

The Guardian: U.K. behind Yemen and Sudan in global index of children’s rights, report finds (Summers, 5/26).

IPS: Kenya’s Adolescent Women Left Behind As More Married Women Access Contraception (Gathigah, 5/25).

New York Times: A Virus-Hunter Falls Prey to a Virus He Underestimated (McNeil, 5/26).

SciDev.Net: SDG setback ‘tremendous’ as COVID-19 accelerates slide (Willmer/Broom, 5/21).

Science: ‘The house was on fire.’ Top Chinese virologist on how China and U.S. have met the pandemic (Cohen, 5/22).

Washington Post: America’s response to coronavirus pandemic is ‘incomprehensibly incoherent,’ says historian who studied the 1918 flu (Heim, 5/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Vaccine R&D, Potential Impact On SDGs, Women's Health, Other Diseases

Bloomberg: The More Covid-19 Vaccines, the Merrier
Faye Flam, Bloomberg Opinion columnist (5/26).

Bloomberg: The Pandemic Is Exposing the Limits of Science
Ferdinando Giugliano, columnist at Bloomberg View and economics columnist for La Repubblica (5/25).

The Conversation: Lockdown and flooding raise the risk of a spike in mosquito-borne diseases in Kenya
Eunice Anyango Owino, medical entomologist at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Nairobi (5/26).

The Conversation: Developing countries are facing economic disaster: four ways western nations can support them to shore up the global economy
Steve Schifferes, honorary research fellow at City Political Economy Research Centre at City, University of London (5/26).

Devex: Leaders — build on successful pledging effort and go bolder
Global Citizen and other organizations (5/25).

Devex: The end of global health advocacy as we know it
Loyce Pace, president and executive director of Global Health Council, and Katie Husselby, coordinator at Action for Global Health (5/25).

The Hill: Is defunding the WHO really just a backdoor attack on sexual and reproductive health?
Terry McGovern, chair of the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and human rights lawyer; Emily Battistini, independent researcher on women’s health and alum of both the Mailman School and Columbia’s College of Physicians & Surgeons; and Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) (5/26).

The Hill: U.K. ambassador: Our nations must lead the global COVID-19 recovery
Dame Karen Pierce, U.K. ambassador to the U.S. (5/26).

The Hill: Potential cross-reactivity between MMR vaccinations and COVID-19
Ted S. Yoho (D-Fla.) (5/26).

IPS: Are the SDGs in Reverse Gear?
Saida Ali, intersectional feminist, international policy analyst, and Atlantic fellow for social and economic equity (5/25).

IPS: Politics, Profits Undermine Public Interest in Covid-19 Vaccine Race
Anis Chowdhury, adjunct professor at Western Sydney University & University of New South Wales (Australia), and Jomo Kwame Sundaram, former United Nations assistant secretary general for economic development (5/26).

IPS: Women are Often an After-Thought in a Humanitarian Crisis
Bina Pradhan, independent researcher and adviser for the Federation of Business and Professional Women, Nepal (FBPWN) (5/26).

Ms. Magazine: Another Egregious Attack on Reproductive Health by Trump Administration
Anu Kumar, president and CEO of Ipas (5/26).

New York Times: An Incalculable Loss
New York Times (5/24).

New York Times: How Modi Failed the Pandemic Test
Hartosh Singh Bal, political editor of The Caravan magazine (5/27).

New York Times: Will the Pandemic Lead to Outbreaks of Other Maladies?
Anita Shet, director of child health at the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (5/26).

Project Syndicate: How Germany Contained the Coronavirus
Jens Spahn, Germany’s federal minister of health (5/22).

STAT: When bubonic plague hit France in 1720, officials dithered. Sound familiar?
Cindy Ermus, assistant professor of history at the University of Texas at San Antonio and co-executive editor of Age of Revolutions (5/25).

Washington Post: The coronavirus pandemic will turn into a poverty pandemic unless we act now
Sandro Galea, epidemiologist and professor and dean at the Boston University School of Public Health (5/26).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Statements Address Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

Center for Global Development: A Tool to Estimate the Net Health Impact of COVID-19 Policies
Damian Walker, non-resident fellow with CGD, and colleagues (5/26).

Center for Global Development: What Is the World Health Organization Without the United States?
Amanda Glassman, executive vice president of CGD, CEO of CGD Europe, and senior fellow, and Brin Datema, associate with the executive office and programs, both with CGD (5/26).

Council on Foreign Relations: Millions at Risk of Gender-Based Violence if COVID-19 Pandemic is Prolonged
Natalia Kanem, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) (5/26).

Global Citizen: How UNICEF Australia Is Providing Life-Saving Support to Children on the Front Lines of COVID-19
Madeleine Keck, digital campaigner with Global Citizen Australia (5/27).

Global Polio Eradication Initiative: Somalia’s Polio Teams Help Combat COVID-19 (5/26).

Health Affairs Blog: Centering The Needs Of Birthing People During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Erin Miller, health policy work lead for the Colorado Children’s Campaign, and Samantha Espinoza, policy analyst with Colorado Children’s Campaign (5/26).

PAHO: PAHO Director says fight against COVID-19 pandemic must include chronic disease care (5/26).

PLOS Blogs “Your Say”: Coronavirus, Obesity and Undernutrition: The Triple Burden for Latin America
Ada Cuevas, from the Advanced Center for Metabolic Medicine and Nutrition (CAMMYN) in Chile, and Claudia Batz, policy and education officer at the World Obesity Federation (5/26).

Sanitation and Water for All: World leaders’ Call to Action on COVID-19 (May 2020).

UNAIDS: Civil society organizations in Kenya call for a response to COVID-19 that respects the rights and dignity of all (5/26).

UNAIDS: “When people are asked to isolate themselves, we also need to make sure that they have food and medicine” (5/26).

World Economic Forum: 4 infectious diseases that should not be forgotten during COVID-19
Andrea Willige, senior writer for Formative Content (5/26).

World Economic Forum: Bushmeat could cause the next pandemic — here’s why it’s a threat and what’s being done to stop it
Ben Garrod, fellow for animal and environmental biology at Anglia Ruskin University (5/26).

WHO: Countries failing to stop harmful marketing of breast-milk substitutes, warn WHO and UNICEF (5/27).

WHO Regional Office for Europe: World Health Assembly adopts resolution to intensify efforts to control COVID-19 at virtual session (5/26).

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NASEM Releases Evaluation Of PEPFAR's HRH Investments In Rwanda

National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine: Evaluation of Strengthening Human Resources for Health Capacity in the Republic of Rwanda under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
“The purpose of the evaluation is to understand how the CDC/PEPFAR-funded (2012-2017) Rwandan Ministry of Health HRH Program affected morbidity and mortality outcomes for people living with HIV (PLHIV). The evaluation will describe PEPFAR HRH investments and activities in Rwanda over time together with their context, examine the impact of these investments on both HRH outcomes and on patient and population-related HIV outcomes, and provide recommendations to inform future HRH investments” (May 2020).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. State Department Publishes Freedom Online Coalition Statement On COVID-19, Internet Freedom

U.S. Department of State: Freedom Online Coalition Statement on COVID-19 and Internet Freedom
This media note summarizes a statement from the Freedom Online Coalition, “a group of 31 countries deeply committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). We believe that the human rights and fundamental freedoms that individuals have offline must also be protected online. We are committed to working together to support Internet freedom for individuals worldwide — including the freedoms of expression, association, peaceful assembly, as well as privacy rights online…” (5/27).

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GAO Report Spotlights SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Development

Government Accountability Office: Science & Tech Spotlight: COVID-19 Vaccine Development
This GAO report discusses the vaccine development process, highlighting opportunities, challenges, and policy questions for the development of a novel coronavirus vaccine. The report notes that the U.S. is funding multiple efforts to develop vaccines for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 (5/26).

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From KFF

KFF Provides Resources On Global Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of May 27, 2020 (5/27).
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 have been added to the tracker.

KFF: Sweden’s Coronavirus Strategy Should Not Be the World’s — But Aspects of It Are Worthy of Consideration (Michaud, 5/26).

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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