KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. Increases Pandemic Appeal To $6.7B For Developing Countries; Only $1B Of Original $2B Appeal Raised So Far

AP: U.N. appeals for $6.7 billion to fight virus in poor countries
“The United Nations announced Thursday it is increasing its appeal to fight the coronavirus pandemic in fragile and vulnerable countries from $2 billion to $6.7 billion. … Since the original appeal on March 25, the United Nations said $1 billion has been raised to support efforts across 37 fragile countries to tackle COVID-19. The updated appeal launched Thursday includes nine additional vulnerable countries: Benin, Djibouti, Liberia, Mozambique, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Zimbabwe…” (Lederer, 5/7).

U.N. News: Average of 80,000 COVID-19 new cases a day in April: U.N. health agency
“Since the start of the month, an average of 80,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported each day to the World Health Organization (WHO), the agency’s chief told journalists listening in to his virtual press conference on Wednesday. … Although numbers are declining in Western Europe, WHO said more cases are being reported every day from Eastern Europe, Africa, South-East Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Americas. However, even within regions and within countries, there are divergent trends, the agency added…” (5/6).

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China, U.S. Disagreements Delay Vote On U.N. Security Council Resolution Calling For Global Ceasefire Amid COVID-19

The Telegraph: Calls for global ceasefire delayed by China and the U.S.
“China and the United States are delaying an international effort to end fighting in conflict zones around the world for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic as they jockey for dominance in a post-pandemic world. United Nations Secretary General António Gutteres called for a global ceasefire or ‘humanitarian pause’ to allow the world to concentrate on fighting the coronavirus pandemic in March. But a United Nations security council resolution drafted by France and Tunisia has been stuck in suspended animation due to what diplomatic sources described as a tussle between Washington and Beijing over dominance in the post-pandemic world…” (Oliphant, 5/6).

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WHO, Experts Warn Of Second Wave Of Novel Coronavirus Infections If Lockdowns Lifted Too Quickly Without Adequate Precautions

AP: ‘If this thing boomerangs’: Second wave of infections feared
“As Europe and the U.S. loosen their lockdowns against the coronavirus, health experts are expressing growing dread over what they say is an all-but-certain second wave of deaths and infections that could force governments to clamp back down…” (Tucker/Johnson, 5/6).

Reuters: WHO warns against rushed end to coronavirus lockdowns
“…[WHO] Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said countries needed to ensure they had adequate measures to control the spread of the COVID-19 respiratory disease like tracking systems and quarantine provision…” (Revill/Farge, 5/6).

Additional coverage of experts’ and WHO’s warnings is available from CIDRAP News and VOA (2).

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WHO Considers Mission To China To Hunt For Novel Coronavirus Origins; Pompeo Defends Theory Of Lab Origin; China Denounces Allegation As 'Lie'

Bloomberg: Search for Virus Origin Heats Up With WHO Seeking China Mission
“The World Health Organization is considering a new mission to seek the source of the coronavirus in China, amid growing controversy over the origin of a pandemic that has killed more than a quarter of a million people…” (Gretler/Kresge, 5/6).

The Hill: China won’t allow access to investigate source of coronavirus until ‘final victory’ against virus
“China’s ambassador to the United Nations said Wednesday that the country’s government would not allow the international community to investigate the source of the novel coronavirus until after a ‘final victory’ against the disease…” (Wise, 5/6).

POLITICO: ‘We’re all trying to figure out the right answer’: Pompeo defends mixed messages on Wuhan lab
“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted Wednesday that seemingly conflicting assessments from senior Trump administration officials regarding the origins of the novel coronavirus were in fact ‘entirely consistent’ — repeatedly clashing with reporters over the unsubstantiated theory that the disease developed out of a research laboratory in Wuhan, China…” (Forgey, 5/6).

Reuters: China says it backs WHO in tracing COVID-19, denounces U.S. ‘lies’
“China said on Thursday it supports the World Health Organization (WHO) in trying to pinpoint the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and accused U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of telling one lie after another in his attacks on Beijing…” (Tian, 5/7).

Additional coverage of debate over the novel coronavirus’s origins is available from Bloomberg, The Hill, Newsweek, NPR, and POLITICO.

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E.U. To Propose Resolution At WHA Outlining WHO Performance Review Process; U.S., China Involved In Drafting Proposal

The Guardian: E.U. to propose process for how WHO can learn from Covid-19 outbreak
“The European Union is to put forward proposals for a mechanism to learn from the coronavirus pandemic at the next meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) but will stop short of calls from the U.S. and Australia for a full international inquiry…” (Wintour, 5/7).

Reuters: E.U. wants WHO review of lessons learnt from coronavirus crisis: draft
“…European diplomats said the United States and China have taken part in negotiations on the E.U. resolution, but gave no details of their input. A Chinese spokesman confirmed Beijing had been involved, but U.S. officials declined comment. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has defended the U.N. agency against fierce criticism by U.S. President Donald Trump but has promised a review of its performance after the pandemic eases, including by its independent oversight body…” (Nebehay, 5/6).

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U.S. Makes Diplomatic Push To Urge WHO To Allow Taiwan's Participation In World Health Assembly

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Makes Diplomatic Push for Taiwan to Attend WHO Summit
“A fight over whether Taiwan can participate in a World Health Organization conference on the coronavirus pandemic later this month is escalating a bitter tug of war between the U.S. and China over leadership within the U.N. system. U.S. diplomats have been asking European allies, and other democratic states, to jointly prod the WHO to publicly encourage China to allow Taiwan to join the conference as an observer. … The push stands little chance of success, and instead serves as a test of America’s leverage in its broader political struggle with China, waged in the midst of a pandemic, for influence within U.N. agencies. Several Western nations, including France, support the idea, but their support isn’t enough to overcome objections from China, which has blocked Taiwan from sending observers to the yearly summit since 2017…” (Hinshaw/Alpert, 5/7).

Additional coverage of discussions about Taiwan’s participation in the WHO’s World Health Assembly is available from Axios, VOA, and Washington Post.

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Congress Intensifies Debate Over U.S. Funding Freeze To WHO; U.S. Behind On Dues Prior To Trump's Suspension

Bloomberg Law: Dispute Over U.S. Funding Halt to WHO Intensifies in Congress
“A dispute over U.S. funding for the World Health Organization is intensifying in Congress as Republicans and Democrats stake out positions on an agency at the center of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Five Republican senators introduced a bill Wednesday that seeks an accounting of how U.S. aid money is spent on the WHO and other multilateral groups. Meanwhile, Democrats in the House are considering issuing a subpoena to the State Department for records related to President Donald Trump’s decision to withhold funding from the organization. … Separately, the State Department missed a Monday deadline to voluntarily provide a House committee with records related to Trump’s decision to withhold funding from the WHO because of its response to the coronavirus crisis…” (Flatley, 5/6).

NPR: U.S. Was Behind On Payments To WHO Before Trump’s Cutoff
“…No country owes the World Health Organization more in annual dues than the United States. The $118 million that Washington is supposed to pay the group this year amounts to nearly a quarter of the annual fees the WHO assesses to all 194 of its member states. On top of this year’s overdue payment, according to the WHO, the U.S. also still owes $81 million from last year…” (Welna, 5/7).

Fox News: WHO accused of ignoring its own post-SARS guidelines in early days of coronavirus (Singman, 5/6).

The Hill: Key lawmakers eye off-budget account for pandemic spending (Elis, 5/6).

NPR: As Pandemic Sweeps Globe, U.S. Foreign Policy Remains Unchanged (Kelemen, 5/6).

POLITICO: The doctor making Trump queasy (Marks/Wheaton, 5/7).

POLITICO: Republicans praise Trump’s pandemic response with Senate majority at risk (Everett/Breshahan, 5/6).

Reuters: Republicans want review of aid to WHO, Democrat may subpoena Pompeo (Zengerle, 5/6).

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Trump Reverses Course, Saying Coronavirus Task Force Will Remain, Refocus; Administration Shelves CDC Guidance For Reopening Country

AP: In reversal, Trump says virus task force to stay but evolve
“President Donald Trump reversed course on plans to wind down his COVID-19 task force, attempting to balance his enthusiasm for ‘reopening’ the country with rising infection rates in parts of the nation. The indecision on the fate of the expert panel was emblematic of an administration — and a country — struggling with competing priorities of averting more death and more economic suffering…” (Miller et al., 5/7).

AP: AP Exclusive: U.S. shelves detailed guide to reopening country
“A set of detailed documents created by the nation’s top disease investigators meant to give step-by-step advice to local leaders deciding when and how to reopen public places such as mass transit, day care centers, and restaurants during the still-raging pandemic has been shelved by the Trump administration. … It was supposed to be published last Friday, but agency scientists were told the guidance “would never see the light of day,” according to a CDC official. The official was not authorized to talk to reporters and spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity…” (Dearan et al., 5/7).

Wall Street Journal: Trump Says Coronavirus Task Force to Shift Focus to Safety and Reopening Economy
“President Trump said the White House coronavirus task force would remain in place with a new focus on reopening the country and developing a vaccine, one day after administration officials said they were considering disbanding the group in the coming weeks. … On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Trump said he changed his mind about the task force after learning how much the public valued the group. ‘I thought we could wind it down sooner. But I had no idea how popular the task force is until actually yesterday when I started talking about winding down,’ he told reporters at the White House. He said he plans to add two or three members to the task force by next week but still intends to disband the group ‘at a certain point,’ though he didn’t offer a timeline…” (Restuccia/Armour, 5/6).

Additional coverage of Trump’s reversal on ending the task force is available from ABC News, The Hill, POLITICO (2), Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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USAID Issues Guidance Disallowing Grant Recipients From Using Donor Funds For PPE Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The Hill: USAID issues new restrictions for NGOs on buying PPE amid pandemic
“The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has notified some grant recipients that they can’t use donor dollars to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to protect against COVID-19, hurting key operations abroad. USAID has put a ‘pause’ on allowing NGOs to use U.S. funds to buy PPE, including a wide range of filtering respirator masks, like N95 masks, surgical masks, and surgical gloves, according to an email from a USAID officer to NGOs operating abroad that was obtained by The Hill. … The New Humanitarian was first to report on the new directive…” (Kelly, 5/6).

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COVID-19 Exposes Weaknesses In African Health Systems; Russia Sees Record Rise In Cases; Pandemic Reaches War-Torn Yemen

AFRICA

Devex: Interactive: An analysis of COVID-19 funding in West and Central Africa (Rovira/Alcega, 5/7).

New Humanitarian: COVID-19 brings abuse and other fears to displaced women in South Sudan (Mednick, 5/6).

Reuters: Exclusive: Virus exposes gaping holes in Africa’s health systems (Houreld et al., 5/7).

ASIA

Reuters: Coronavirus spreads among Indian police enforcing world’s largest lockdown (Jadhav et al., 5/6).

U.N. News: Amid COVID-19 pandemic, thousands stranded in Bay of Bengal ‘unable to come ashore’ (5/6).

WIRED: India’s Covid-19 Contact Tracing App Could Leak Patient Locations (Greenberg, 5/6).

EUROPE

Devex: 40% of U.K. NGOs say they will collapse within 6 months without new support (Worley, 5/7).

Reuters: Russia overtakes Germany, France after record rise in coronavirus cases (Osborn et al., 5/7).

The Telegraph: U.K. coronavirus death toll rises to 30,076 as ‘stay at home’ message to end this weekend (Bowman et al., 5/6).

Washington Post: European Union says pandemic recession will be worst in its history (Birnbaum/Ariès, 5/6).

Washington Post: Three Russian doctors have fallen from hospital windows in two weeks, amid reports of dire conditions (Khurshudyan/Abbakumova, 5/6).

LATIN AMERICA

U.N. News: Venezuelans ‘teetering on the brink of survival’ warn U.N. human rights experts (5/6).

Xinhua: U.N. working with Brazil, Ecuador to curb COVID-19 spread among indigenous peoples (5/7).

MIDDLE EAST

AP: Foreigners on the frontlines of pandemic in Arab Gulf states (Batrawy, 5/7).

Devex: Yemen and COVID-19: ‘A perfect storm’ for catastrophe, experts warn (Lieberman, 5/7).

France 24: Yemeni rebels record first death amid U.N. fears virus is spreading undetected (5/6).

NPR: The Risk Of Coronavirus In Afghanistan’s Prisons Is Complicating Peace Efforts (Hadid, 5/6).

Reuters: Yemen reports first three coronavirus cases, one death in Lahaj province (Ghobari et al., 5/6).

NORTH AMERICA

Reuters: Trump renews partisan pandemic commentary as Texas moves to further ease shutdown (Mason et al., 5/5).

Reuters: Exclusive: ‘We’re winning’ — Mexico’s coronavirus czar sees victory in sight (Oré, 5/5).

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COVID-19 Pandemic Disrupting Efforts To Prevent Other Infectious Diseases

AFP: Millions at risk from known diseases as focus shifts to COVID-19
“As COVID-19 deaths climb ever higher in Europe and the United States, millions of lives are at risk in developing nations where lockdowns and overwhelmed medical systems are disrupting vital testing, vaccination, and treatment for other killer diseases…” (5/7).

New Humanitarian: Yes, COVID-19. But what about other infectious diseases?
“…Everyone from global health policymakers in Geneva, to national health ministries, to field level health workers is being forced into difficult trade-offs: how do you maintain immunization and infectious disease treatments even as significant resources and existing infrastructures are re-geared towards addressing COVID-19? As they redraw priorities, decision-makers must also vie for limited sources of funding, all at a time when the world is facing difficult economic conditions without parallel…” (Patnaik, 5/6).

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Hypothesis Of More Contagious Novel Coronavirus Strain Draws Skepticism From Some Experts

Washington Post: Researchers hypothesize that a highly contagious strain of the coronavirus is spreading, but other experts remain skeptical
“A research paper from scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory, not yet peer-reviewed, reports that one strain of the novel coronavirus has emerged in Europe and become dominant around the planet, leading the researchers to believe the virus has mutated to become more contagious. The bold hypothesis, however, was immediately met with skepticism by many infectious disease experts, and there is no scientific consensus that any of the innumerable mutations in the virus so far have changed the general contagiousness or lethality of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus…” (Kaplan/Achenbach, 5/5).

Additional coverage of the research and experts’ reactions is available from The Atlantic, CNBC, Los Angeles Times, and New York Times.

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U.S. Announces $225M In Emergency Food Aid To Yemen, Urges Aid Operations Be Able To Operate 'Independently And Neutrally'

Al Jazeera: U.S. announces $225m in emergency food aid to Yemen
“The United States on Wednesday announced it would provide $225m in emergency aid to Yemen to support food programs, and called on the Houthis to do more to allow aid operations to operate ‘independently and neutrally.’ U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a news conference that the funding Washington is committing would go to the U.N. World Food Programme’s (WFP) emergency food operation in southern Yemen, as well as its reduced operation in northern Yemen…” (5/6).

Reuters: U.S. announces $225 million in emergency aid to Yemen
“…Yemen is already grappling with the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis caused by a war between the Saudi-led coalition seeking to restore the internationally recognized government, and the Houthi movement that drove the government from power in Sanaa in late 2014. Around 80% of Yemen’s population, or 24 million people, rely on aid, and 10 million are facing famine. Yemen has the world’s fourth highest internally displaced population and health care is scarce in rural areas. … Under such circumstances, a gap in aid funding is a major risk…” (Pamuk, 5/6).

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More News In Global Health

The Atlantic: Joe Biden’s Invisible Pandemic Expert (Dovere, 5/7).

Bloomberg: A Vet Detective Squad Is Preparing for the Next Pandemic (Gross, 5/6).

The Economist: Scientific research on the coronavirus is being released in a torrent (5/7).

New Humanitarian: Locusts complete triad of humanitarian threats facing Iran (Glinski, 5/6).

POLITICO: Tony Blair calls for stronger WHO and more global cooperation to fight coronavirus (Heath, 5/6).

Reuters: Will Gilead price its coronavirus drug for public good or company profit? (Beasley, 5/6).

Science: Unproven herbal remedy against COVID-19 could fuel drug-resistant malaria, scientists warn (Nordling, 5/6).

U.N. News: Coronavirus: Health system overload threatens pregnant women and newborns (5/6).

Washington Post: Children are falling ill with perplexing inflammatory syndrome thought to be linked to covid-19 (Cha/Janes, 5/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorials, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including U.S., Global Response

Bloomberg: Don’t Let Coronavirus Devastate Refugee Camps
Tracy Walsh, editor for Bloomberg Opinion (5/6).

CNN: The U.S. should be a leader in the global fight against Covid-19
Tom Daschle and Bill Frist, former U.S. Senate majority leaders and members of the National Advisory Council of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (5/6).

The Conversation: Kenya can’t afford to neglect people with underlying conditions during COVID-19
Edna N. Bosire, PhD candidate and associate researcher in the Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit (DPHRU) at the University of the Witwatersrand (5/6).

Forbes: We Failed To Act On Pandemic Preparedness After SARS — We Cannot Make That Same Mistake Again
Bill Frist, heart and lung transplant surgeon and former U. S. Senate majority leader (5/6).

Foreign Affairs: The Coming Post-COVID Anarchy
Kevin Rudd, president of the Asia Society Policy Institute (5/6).

Foreign Policy: Want to Avoid the Next Pandemic? Hire a Devil’s Advocate.
Elisabeth Braw, director of the Modern Deterrence project at the Royal United Services Institute (5/6).

Fox News: Rachel Bovard: U.S. to WHO after coronavirus — we won’t get fooled again
Rachel Bovard, senior director of policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute (5/6).

The Guardian: Coronavirus is a crisis for the developing world, but here’s why it needn’t be a catastrophe
Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, winners of the 2019 Nobel prize in economics and authors (5/6).

The Hill: The coronavirus is a problem data models cannot comprehend
Clifford Rossi, executive-in-residence and professor of the practice at Maryland Smith (5/6).

The Hill: The pandemic exposes realities of failing to combat global censorship
Katrina Lantos Swett, president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice and human rights professor at Tufts University (5/6).

The Lancet: Has COVID-19 subverted global health?
Richard Cash, senior lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Vikram Patel, professor in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School (5/5).

New York Times: Coronavirus Task Force Gets Its ‘Mission Accomplished’ Moment
Editorial Board (5/6).

New York Times: The Virus Is Winning
Nicholas Kristof, columnist at the New York Times (5/6).

Project Syndicate: Building Food Security During the Pandemic
Tony Blair, chair of the Institute for Global Change and former U.K. prime minister, and Agnes Kalibata, United Nations secretary general’s special envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit (5/7).

Project Syndicate: An Abysmal Failure of Leadership
Joseph S. Nye, Jr., professor at Harvard University and author (5/7).

Washington Post: Trump wants to reopen, but won’t lead on tests. The results could be tragic
Editorial Board (5/6).

Washington Post: A better way for Congress to work during the pandemic
Editorial Board (5/6).

Washington Post: Trump isn’t the only populist leader losing the battle against the coronavirus
Max Boot, columnist at the Washington Post, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow for national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and global affairs analyst for CNN (5/6).

Washington Post: GOP to launch ‘China Task Force’ that Democrats bailed on
Josh Rogin, columnist for Global Opinions at the Washington Post (5/7).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blogs, Statements, Newsletter Address Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

Amnesty International: Sub-Saharan Africa: Government responses to COVID-19 should guarantee the protection of women and girls’ rights (5/7).

FT Health: We’re not all in this together
Andrew Jack, global education editor, and Darren Dodd, health newsletter writer, both with the Financial Times (5/6).

Global Observatory: Will Lessons from Cholera in Haiti Be Applied to COVID-19?
Adam R. Houston, PhD candidate in the faculty of Law and Member of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) at the University of Ottawa, and Beatrice Lindstrom, clinical instructor in the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School (5/6).

IMF: Fiscal Policies for the Recovery from COVID-19
Vito Gaspar, director of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department (5/6).

Médecins Sans Frontières: Managing people’s fear and misinformation amid COVID-19 in DRC (5/6).

Save the Children: Partnership in the Face of Pandemics
Ariane McCabe, director of Global Health and Public Affairs with GSK Vaccines, and Claire Leonie Ward, health advocacy adviser at Save the Children U.K. (5/7).

Science Speaks: Lockdowns due to COVID-19 projected to stall TB detection and treatment leading to increased incidence, deaths globally over next five years
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer at Science Speaks (5/6).

UNAIDS: United Nations in South Africa launches US$ 136 million COVID-19 flash appeal (5/7).

UNAIDS: UNAIDS urges countries to stay focused on HIV prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic (5/6).

UNICEF: Pregnant mothers and babies born during COVID-19 pandemic threatened by strained health systems and disruptions in services (5/7).

U.N. Dispatch: Routine Immunization is More Important than Ever
Mark Leon Goldberg, executive editor of U.N. Dispatch (5/6).

World Economic Forum: Colombia’s former president says COVID-19 shows the importance of listening to indigenous peoples on how we treat the planet
Juan Manuel Santos, Conservation International Arnhold Distinguished Fellow and former president of Colombia (5/7).

World Economic Forum: COVID-19 reveals gaps in health systems: WHO Briefing
Linda Lacina, digital editor at the World Economic Forum (5/6).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Acting Administrator Barsa Releases Statement On Retirement Of Admiral Timothy Ziemer

USAID: Statement from USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa on the Retirement of Admiral R. Timothy Ziemer
In a statement, USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa said of Admiral Tim Ziemer’s announced retirement, “The indefatigable Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer is leaving public life after having served his country and ten presidents over 52 years. … No words can truly express the gratitude I, and so many others have for Tim’s decades of public service and sacrifice. A true leader, more than his words, his repeated actions and demonstrations of grit, determination, and moral courage have provided shining examples for so many on what true leadership and service to country really means. All of us will miss Tim’s counsel and his seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of wisdom and sage advice…” (5/6).

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From KFF

KFF Resources Examine Global, Domestic Issues Related To COVID-19

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of May 7, 2020 (5/7).

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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