KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. SG Laments Lack Of Global Leadership In Pandemic Response; WHO Extends COVID-19 PHEIC Declaration

AP: Unlike 2008 crisis, pandemic has no leader, no global plan
“When financial markets collapsed and the world faced its last great crisis in 2008, major powers worked together to restore the global economy, but the COVID-19 pandemic has been striking for the opposite response: no leader, no united action to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, which has killed over 200,000 people. … A clearly frustrated [U.N. Secretary-General António] Guterres told reporters Thursday that instead of ‘solid leadership’ to fight the pandemic, each country went ahead with a different strategy, increasing the risk that the virus would not disappear, but rather spread and then return…” (Lederer, 5/3).

CIDRAP News: WHO extends COVID-19 emergency; cases soar in Brazil, Russia
“The World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 emergency committee met [Thursday] to review the latest pandemic developments, and the WHO’s director general [Friday] accepted the group’s recommendation that the event still warrants a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) under the International Health Regulations…” (Schnirring, 5/1).

New York Times: The Covid-19 Riddle: Why Does the Virus Wallop Some Places and Spare Others? (Beech et al., 5/3).

Reuters: Global coronavirus cases surpass 3.5 million amid underreporting fears (Wardell, 5/3).

Reuters: Countries must ease lockdowns slowly, be ready for virus to jump back — WHO (Nebehay/Kelland, 5/2).

STAT: Three potential futures for Covid-19: recurring small outbreaks, a monster wave, or a persistent crisis (Begley, 5/1).

U.N. News: COVID-19 pandemic exposes global ‘frailties and inequalities’: U.N. deputy chief (5/3).

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Virtual Global Summit Aims To Raise $8.2B For Novel Coronavirus Vaccine, Treatment Research, Distribution

The Guardian: Global summit hopes to raise $8.2bn for coronavirus vaccine
“A global alliance of world leaders is expected to pledge to raise an initial $8.2bn [€7.5bn/£6.5bn] at a virtual summit on Monday to research and equitably distribute vaccines and therapeutics to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic. It is hoped national research efforts will be streamlined so that vaccines are manufactured quickly for distribution to poorer countries, and not just for the benefit of the wealthy economies that produce them…” (Wintour, 5/4).

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Race For Novel Coronavirus Vaccine Intensifies; E.U.-Led Donors' Meeting Held To Raise Funds; Concerns Mount Over Trump's 'America First' Policies To Hinder Research, Distribution

Financial Times: Cost of vaccinating billions against Covid-19 put at more than $20bn
“The cost to immunize people around the world against coronavirus is likely to exceed $20bn, far surpassing the initial fundraising target of $8bn set for an E.U.-led donors’ meeting to be held on Monday, global health organizations say. International health bodies suggest the full cost could reach $25bn, once funding needed to produce doses in vast numbers and distribute them globally is taken into account…” (Peel/Jack, 5/3).

New York Times: Profits and Pride at Stake, the Race for a Vaccine Intensifies
“…Seven of the roughly 90 projects being pursued by governments, pharmaceutical makers, biotech innovators, and academic laboratories have reached the stage of clinical trials. With political leaders — not least President Trump — increasingly pressing for progress, and with big potential profits at stake for the industry, drug makers and researchers have signaled that they are moving ahead at unheard-of speeds. But the whole enterprise remains dogged by uncertainty about whether any coronavirus vaccine will prove effective, how fast it could be made available to millions or billions of people and whether the rush — compressing a process that can take 10 years into 10 months — will sacrifice safety…” (Sanger et al., 5/2).

POLITICO: Fears rise that Trump will incite a global vaccine brawl
“…On Monday, the European Union is hosting a gathering for countries to pledge funding for research into vaccines and treatments for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. But once again the U.S. government isn’t expected to participate. … The fear is that Trump will be content with allowing the race to develop and distribute the vaccine to devolve into a global contest — and that poorer countries will be left behind in the rush to procure doses. In essence: that the president’s ‘America First’ view of world affairs as an atavistic scramble for power will lead to unnecessary suffering and death…” (Toosi/Bertrand, 5/3).

Bloomberg: January? Autumn? Doctors Debate Arrival for Covid Vaccine (Krasny, 5/3).

Bloomberg: Covid Exit Strategy Depends on Getting Vaccine to Whole World (Paton, 5/1).

CNN: What happens if a coronavirus vaccine is never developed? It has happened before (Picheta, 5/4).

PA Media/The Guardian: Boris Johnson: Covid vaccine hunt is ‘most urgent endeavor of our lives’ (5/3).

POLITICO: Trump contradicts top health officials with vaccine timeline, malaria drug claims (Ollstein, 5/3).

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FDA Approves Emergency Use Authorization For Gilead's Remdesivir To Treat Patients With COVID-19; BARDA Researching New Diagnostic Test

STAT: FDA to allow emergency use of Gilead’s Covid-19 drug
“The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it would permit emergency use of remdesivir, the antiviral medicine from Gilead Sciences, to treat patients with Covid-19. The decision to issue an ’emergency use authorization’ was based on positive results from a government-conducted clinical trial, announced Wednesday, that showed remdesivir accelerated the recovery time of patients with Covid-19 compared to a placebo and from a study conducted by Gilead that studied two different treatment durations of the medicine…” (Feuerstein/Herper, 5/1).

The Guardian: U.S. germ warfare research leads to new early Covid-19 test (Tremlett, 5/1).

New York Times: How Remdesivir, New Hope for Covid-19 Patients, Was Resurrected (Kolata, 5/1).

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China Covered Up Severity Of Novel Coronavirus Outbreak, U.S. DHS Report Says; Pompeo, Trump Discuss Virus's Origins

AP: DHS report: China hid virus’ severity to hoard supplies
“U.S. officials believe China covered up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak — and how contagious the disease is — to stock up on medical supplies needed to respond to it, intelligence documents show. Chinese leaders ‘intentionally concealed the severity’ of the pandemic from the world in early January, according to a four-page Department of Homeland Security intelligence report dated May 1 and obtained by the Associated Press. The revelation comes as the Trump administration has intensified its criticism of China, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying Sunday that that country was responsible for the spread of disease and must be held accountable…” (Weissert, 5/4).

ABC: Pompeo says ‘enormous evidence’ for unproven theory that coronavirus came from lab (Brown et al., 5/3).

Bloomberg: Trump Promises ‘Conclusive’ U.S. Report on Virus’s China Origins (Fabian et al., 5/3).

The Hill: Five things to know as intelligence community probes coronavirus’s origins (Chalfant/Beavers, 5/2).

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Taiwan 'Not Yet' Invited To Attend WHO's World Health Assembly, Government Says

Reuters: Taiwan says ‘not yet’ received invite for key WHO meeting
“Taiwan has ‘not yet’ received an invitation to a meeting this month of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision-making body, the World Health Assembly, but will strive take part, the government said on Monday. Taiwan’s exclusion from WHO membership, due to objections from China, which considers the island one of its provinces, has infuriated Taipei, which says its exclusion has created a glaring gap in the global fight against the coronavirus. The United States has supported Taiwan’s participation at the assembly as an observer, adding to tension with China over its handling of the new coronavirus…” (Blanchard/Lee, 5/3).

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European DFIs Need More Resources, Rules To Support African Private Sector During COVID-19, Development Experts Say In Call To Action

Devex: Development heavyweights back bigger role for DFIs in COVID-19 response
“European development finance institutions need more resources and new rules to better support the private sector in Africa through the COVID-19 crisis, according to a call to action from 20 development experts Monday. The call to European governments … argues that: ‘DFIs should be countercyclical at a time when private financial flows have come to a sudden stop, and should lead other investors back into African markets on the other side of the crisis.’ … The call to action, coordinated by EDFI, similarly argues that governments should replenish capital injections and top up risk-sharing schemes for European DFIs while making more funding available for technical assistance to African businesses…” (Chadwick, 5/4).

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Zimbabwe Pleads For Debt Forgiveness, Aid; Australia, New Zealand Look To Create Travel 'Bubble'; E.U. Says Several Nations Not Yet Reached Pandemic Peak


AP: Thousands of hungry people line up for food in South Africa (Janssen/Delay, 5/2).

Financial Times: Zimbabwe pleads for aid to avert ‘collapse’ and fight Covid (Cotterill/Pilling, 5/3).

The Guardian: Easing of lockdown a relief to Ghana’s poor — despite fears it is premature (Akinwotu/Asiedu, 5/3).

The Telegraph: Will the legacy of Ebola help Liberia fight coronavirus? (Brown, 5/4).

Xinhua: COVID-19 impact could be “disastrously high” in poverty-stricken Malawi: U.N. (5/3).


NPR: Singapore Was A Shining Star In COVID-19 Control — Until It Wasn’t (Beaubien, 5/3).

Washington Post: With virus under control, Australia and New Zealand may form a travel ‘bubble’ (Fifield, 5/4).


AP: With testing, Iceland claims major success against COVID-19 (Bjarnason, 5/4).

Reuters: U.K. among European states not yet on COVID-19 downward slope: E.U. says (Guarascio, 5/4).

Reuters: Russia’s coronavirus cases rise again by over 10,000 (Stolyarov/Devitt, 5/4).


The Guardian: ‘We are on the eve of a genocide’: Brazil urged to save Amazon tribes from Covid-19 (Phillips, 5/3).

Miami Herald: As hemisphere focuses on fighting coronavirus, PAHO warns of other threats (Charles et al., 5/1).

Reuters: Brazil’s Bolsonaro headlines anti-democratic rally amid alarm over handling of coronavirus (Marcelino/Slattery, 5/3).


Reuters: UPDATE 1 — Three new coronavirus cases in Yemen bring total confirmed to 10 (5/2).


Bloomberg: Trudeau Gives $125 Million to Eli Lilly Partner for Covid Work (Duarte, 5/3).

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UNICEF Warns Of Childhood Vaccination Distribution Bottlenecks; E.U. Warns Against Suspending Immunizations; Antivaccination Protests Grow In U.S.

U.N. News: Vaccine bottlenecks from COVID lockdown put children’s lives at stake: UNICEF
“Help is needed urgently to distribute vaccines worldwide amid dramatic shortages because of COVID-19 restrictions, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Friday. It has warned that youngsters’ lives ‘are at stake’ owing to the dramatic decline in commercial flights and limited availability of charters…” (5/1).

New York Times: Antivaccination Activists Are Growing Force at Virus Protests (Bogel-Burroughs, 5/2).

Reuters: E.U. warns against suspension of children vaccination amid coronavirus crisis (Guarascio, 5/4).

VOA: COVID Pandemic Blocking Shipments of Vaccines for Millions of Children (Schlein, 4/2).

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U.N., Humanitarian Organizations Working To Address Food Security As Pandemic Response Enters Next Phase

Devex: ‘Big push’ on food security as COVID-19 response enters second phase
“…[D]evelopment and humanitarian organizations are pivoting to incorporate secondary impacts such as nutrition into funding planning and emergency activities. A recent analysis by the World Food Programme found that 130 million additional people — on top of the 135 million already experiencing acute malnutrition — will face hunger in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. The level of need means that organizations are working quickly to determine how to ensure food security and nutrition are included in the response as service delivery, economies, and food systems are disrupted worldwide…” (Welsh,5/4).

Washington Post: The risk of rich countries neglecting poorer ones during the pandemic
“…The United Nations has launched an emergency $2 billion humanitarian response plan for the world’s poorest countries, but donor funds are trickling in too slowly. WFP made its own $350 million appeal, but it has only received a fraction of that from donors. The agency is the logistics backbone of the world’s humanitarian system. Beyond providing food assistance to those in need, WFP will be at the heart of future pandemic relief efforts, flying medical supplies, as well as medical and humanitarian workers, into crisis hot spots…” (Tharoor, 5/4).

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News Outlets Examine Gates Foundation's Response To COVID-19 Pandemic

POLITICO: The Gates aren’t pinning their coronavirus hopes on the U.S.
“…The Gates Foundation is working closely with the European Commission on a pledging conference on Monday intended to generate €7.5 billion in financing for tests, medicines, and vaccines against the virus. In an interview with POLITICO, Melinda Gates said the foundation views Europe as key to bringing international players to the table and preventing the wealthiest countries from putting their own needs first…” (Deutsch/Herszenhorn, 5/1).

Washington Post: The billionaire who cried pandemic
“…As the virus has spread, killing more than 239,000 people globally, [Bill] Gates has used his fame and wealth to push for science-based approaches to end the pandemic. Having studied infectious diseases for the past 20 years as part of his philanthropic work, Gates has warned about the potential for a pathogen-spread pandemic since 2015, in a TED Talk, lectures, and medical journal articles. Since February, the foundation he runs with [Melinda Gates] has given away $250 million to expand testing for the coronavirus and find a cure for covid-19, the disease it causes. But the coronavirus is unlike any global health challenge Gates has faced…” (Greene, 5/2).

Additional coverage of Gates Foundation funding trends and its COVID-19 response is available from Devex (Pro).

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More News In Global Health

CBS News: How the fight against polio was won (Kessel, 5/3).

Devex: Where are the health workers? New data efforts aim to answer big coronavirus questions (Lieberman, 5/4).

Devex: This nonprofit needs your cough sounds to detect COVID-19 (Ravelo, 5/4).

The Guardian: Coronavirus ‘reinfections’ were false positives, says WHO technical lead — video (5/3).

U.N. News: Journalists provide ‘antidote’ to COVID-19 misinformation, U.N. chief says ahead of World Press Freedom Day (5/1).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Role Of Media, Challenge Of Food Security

CNN: What Asian nations know about squashing Covid-19
Jeffrey Sachs, professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University (5/3).

Devex: Opinion: Free media can be a life-saver in a pandemic; let’s save it from extinction
James Deane, head of policy at BBC Media Action, and Nishant Lalwani, managing director at Luminate (5/1).

Devex: Opinion: COVID-19 highlights need to boost resilience of Africa’s rural poor
Arun Baral, chief executive officer of HarvestPlus; Aparna Das, technical program manager of the Global Maize Program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center; and Bill Rustrick, chief executive officer of the Clinton Development Initiative (5/4).

Foreign Policy: Why Herd Immunity Won’t Save India From COVID-19
Devi Sridhar, professor and chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, and Genevie Fernandes, postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Edinburgh (5/2).

The Guardian: The Guardian view on Trump and Covid-19: Americans suffer. Will he?
Editorial Board (5/1).

The Hill: Fixing the global food system after coronavirus
Ruben Echeverría, chair of the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture Intensification (5/3).

The Hill: Pandemic prevention demands more from our federal government
Peter Jenkins, senior counsel at the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (5/2).

National Interest: Foreign Aid is Critical to Stopping the Coronavirus
Michael H. Fuchs, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP); Alexandra Schmitt, policy analyst for human rights, democracy, and development on the National Security and International Policy team at CAP; and Haneul Lee, research assistant for Asia Policy with the National Security and International Policy team at CAP (5/3).

New York Times: In the Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine, We Must Go Big. Really, Really Big.
Susan Athey, economics of technology professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and colleagues (5/4).

New York Times: What the Proponents of ‘Natural’ Herd Immunity Don’t Say
Carl T. Bergstrom, professor of biology at the University of Washington, and Natalie Dean, assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida (5/1).

New York Times: Coronavirus and the Sweden Myth
Ian Bremmer, president; Cliff Kupchan, chair; and Scott Rosenstein, special adviser on global health, all at Eurasia Group (5/4).

New York Times: She Predicted the Coronavirus. What Does She Foresee Next?
Frank Bruni, writer at the New York Times and author (5/2).

POLITICO: The World Order Is Dead. Here’s How to Build a New One for a Post-Coronavirus Era.
Edward Fishman, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and adjunct fellow at the Center for a New American Security (5/3).

Washington Post: This is South Africa’s third major pandemic in 100 years. It has learned its lessons.
Palesa Morudu, writer and director at Clarity Global Strategic Communications (5/1).

Washington Post: The pandemic is a hard enough story for journalists to cover. Leaders like Trump make it harder.
Jason Rezaian, writer for Global Opinions at the Washington Post (5/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blogs, Podcasts Address Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

Center for Global Development: Accountability for COVID-19 Aid: Better Visibility Matters for the Quality of the Response
Janeen Madan Keller, assistant director for global health and senior policy analyst; Julia Kaufman, program coordinator; and Amanda Glassman, executive vice president of CGD, CEO of CGD Europe, and senior fellow, all with CGD (5/1).

Center for Strategic & International Studies Global Health Policy Center: “Take as Directed” Podcast
CSIS released new podcasts focused on the coronavirus pandemic, including one with Scott Dowell, deputy director for surveillance and epidemiology and coronavirus response leader at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; another with Rep. Ami Bera, MD (D-Calif.), who discusses his work on the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security and his impressions of COVID-19; and an episode focused on immunization and universal health coverage featuring Angela Shen, retired captain from the U.S. Public Health Service, and Lora Shimp, technical director for immunizations at John Snow Inc. (April 2020).

Center for Strategic & International Studies: WHO and President Trump on the Ledge
J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president and director, and Anna Carroll, associate fellow, both with the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS (4/28).

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “The Optimist”: “We’re preparing for 2021 today”: An update on the Therapeutics Accelerator
Trevor Mundel, president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s global health division (May 2020).

Harvard Business Review: A Plan to Safely Reopen the U.S. Despite Inadequate Testing
Ranu S. Dhillon, instructor at Harvard Medical School and a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues (5/1).

Think Global Health: Coronavirus, War, and Yemen in Between: A Recipe for Disaster
Walid A. Al-Soneidar, PhD candidate in epidemiology at the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health at McGill University, and Nezar N. Al-Hebshi, associate research professor and co-director of the Oral Microbiome Research Lab at Temple University’s Kornberg School of Dentistry (5/1).

Think Global Health: One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Rumi Chunara, assistant professor of Computer Science and Biostatistics at New York University, and colleagues (4/28).

Think Global Health: Expertise, Coronavirus, and the New Normal
Charles Ebikeme, writer and researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (4/28).

Wellcome: 5 matters of urgency for the Coronavirus Global Response Summit
Alex Harris, head of global policy with the policy and advocacy team at Wellcome (5/4).

World Economic Forum: Ethiopia’s Prime Minister calls on developed countries to help Africa through COVID-19
Abiy Ahmed, prime minister of Ethiopia (5/3).

World Economic Forum: Here’s how a new European Investment Bank partnership will tackle COVID-19: WHO briefing
Linda Lacina, digital editor with the World Economic Forum (5/1).

World Economic Forum: Why vaccination is bigger than any one disease
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (5/1).

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May 2020 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The May 2020 WHO Bulletin features editorials focused on COVID-19 and news pieces on related topics, including vaccine production and pandemic preparedness, as well as research and other articles on a variety of issues (May 2020).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Continues Efforts To Respond To Global COVID-19 Pandemic, Develop Vaccines, Therapeutic Interventions

U.S. Department of State: Update: The United States is Continuing to Lead the Response to COVID-19
This fact sheet provides an update on U.S. efforts to respond to COVID-19 globally, noting, “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the U.S. Government has committed more than $775 million in emergency health, humanitarian, economic, and development assistance specifically aimed at helping governments, international organizations, and NGOs fight the pandemic. This funding, provided by Congress, will save lives by improving public health education, protecting health care facilities, and increasing laboratory, disease-surveillance, and rapid-response capacity in more than 120 countries” (5/1).

U.S. Department of State: The U.S. is Leading the Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Developing a Vaccine
This media note discusses U.S. efforts to develop vaccines and therapeutic interventions for the novel coronavirus (5/4).

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USAID Acting Administrator Recognizes World Press Freedom Day Amid COVID-19

USAID: Statement on World Press Freedom Day from USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa
In a statement, USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa recognizes World Press Freedom Day and notes, “The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) joins the world in celebrating World Press Freedom Day. Free and independent journalism is vital to open and democratic societies. … Amid this [COVID-19] crisis, we will redouble our efforts worldwide to support free and independent reporting…” (5/2).

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From KFF

Recording Of KFF, GHC Virtual Town Hall On COVID-19 Available; Other KFF Resources Examine Global, Domestic Issues Related To COVID-19

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of May 4, 2020 (5/4).

KFF: KFF and Global Health Council Present a Virtual Town Hall on COVID-19 Response in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
KFF, in partnership with the Global Health Council (GHC), presented a discussion on Tuesday, April 28, about the challenges and opportunities of resource mobilization in response to COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Speakers shared updates on how COVID-19 is impacting global health programs and reviewed recent data of COVID-19 funding trends. This was the third discussion in the GHC conversation series on COVID-19. A recording of the webinar is available here.

Additional KFF COVID-19 resources, including 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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