KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Virtual G-20 Meeting Not Expected To Result In Unified Approach To COVID-19

AP: Online G-20 summit lacks glam, and maybe results, amid virus
“This weekend’s summit of leaders from the Group of 20 stands out more for what it is not than for what it is. Held online this year because of the coronavirus, the gathering of leaders of the world’s preeminent rich and developing nations will not be an opportunity for kings, presidents, and prime ministers to conduct the intimate diplomacy of closed-door meetings or pose for memorable photo-ops. Without red carpet arrivals, it will not be an occasion for its Saudi hosts to dazzle the world’s media. And it is not expected to yield a globally unified response to the worst pandemic in decades. While billions of dollars have been pledged for medicines and vaccines, G-20 countries have mostly focused on securing their own supplies…” (Batrawy, 11/19).

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With At Least 2 Efficacious Vaccines, End Of Pandemic Becomes More Reality But Challenges Remain, Experts Warn

The Atlantic: The End of the Pandemic Is Now in Sight
“…Even as science began to unravel many of the virus’s mysteries — how it spreads, how it tricks its way into cells, how it kills — a fundamental unknown about vaccines hung over the pandemic and our collective human fate: Vaccines can stop many, but not all, viruses. Could they stop this one? The answer, we now know, is yes. A resounding yes. Pfizer and Moderna have separately released preliminary data that suggest their vaccines are both more than 90 percent effective, far more than many scientists expected. … The tasks that lie ahead — manufacturing vaccines at scale, distributing them via a cold or even ultracold chain, and persuading wary Americans to take them — are not trivial, but they are all within the realm of human knowledge. The most tenuous moment is over: The scientific uncertainty at the heart of COVID-19 vaccines is resolved. Vaccines work. And for that, we can breathe a collective sigh of relief…” (Zhang, 11/18).

Reuters: Analysis: Can first COVID-19 vaccines bring herd immunity? Experts have doubts
“Governments and officials are voicing hopes that COVID-19 vaccines could bring ‘herd immunity,’ with some calculating that immunizing just two-thirds of a population could halt the pandemic disease and help protect whole communities or nations. But the concept comes with caveats and big demands of what vaccines might be capable of preventing. Some experts say such expectations are misplaced…” (Kelland et al., 11/18).

Additional coverage of coronavirus vaccine research and distribution is available from BBC News, CNN (2), Homeland Preparedness News, NPR, Reuters, SciDev.Net, and STAT.

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More Than 2M COVID-19 Cases Recorded In African Nations As Officials Warn Of Inevitable 2nd Wave

AP: African continent hits 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases
“Africa has surpassed 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases as the continent’s top public health official warned Thursday that ‘we are inevitably edging toward a second wave’ of infections. The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the 54-nation continent had crossed the milestone. Africa has seen more than 48,000 deaths from COVID-19. Its infections and deaths make up less than 4% of the global total…” (Anna, 11/19).

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Militarization Of Latin America's COVID-19 Response Threatens Future Of Democracy, Some Analysts Warn

IPS: On the Back of the Pandemic, the Militarization of Latin America is Gathering Momentum, Analysts Warn
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, armed forces in Latin America have been taking on essential tasks: manufacturing protective equipment, delivering food, and treating civilians in hospitals. In at least a dozen countries, soldiers have been deployed to enforce containment measures, often using brute force, on populations made up of largely poor informal workers. … Observers of the situation in Latin America fear that permanent militarization will become the new normal, and that, in the absence of adequate civilian institutions, many governments will use their armed forces to provide basic services and to clamp down on their critics at the same time. Democracy in Latin America, they warn, may be reduced to no more than a façade once the pandemic is over…” (Guerrero, 11/17).

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As U.S. COVID-19 Deaths Pass 250K, 2 In 3 Americans Say Coronavirus Relief Should Be Top Biden Administration Priority; Scientists Should Lead Public Health Communication, Biden Adviser Says

The Hill: 2 in 3 say coronavirus relief should be top priority for Biden in first 100 days: poll
“Two-thirds of registered voters say a coronavirus relief package should be the top priority for President-elect Joe Biden in his first 100 days in office in a new Politico-Morning Consult poll released Wednesday. … Sixty-nine percent of voters overall also say that controlling the coronavirus pandemic should be a top priority, and 67 percent say the same of cobbling together a vaccine distribution plan. Registered voters were allowed to choose more than one issue they hope would be prioritized…” (Axelrod, 11/18).

STAT: Biden adviser says scientists, not political appointees, should lead public communications on Covid-19
“A member of President-elect Joe Biden’s Covid-19 task force is advocating for federal scientists — rather than high-ranking political appointees — to take on the daily work of informing the public about the pandemic beginning in January. Celine Gounder, a task force member and veteran infectious diseases specialist, specifically highlighted two veteran Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists who appeared at public briefings early in the pandemic but largely disappeared from public view in the spring. One, Nancy Messonnier, infamously enraged President Trump when she forecast that Covid-19 would cause ‘severe’ disruptions to American life…” (Facher, 11/19).

Washington Post: America’s 250,000 covid deaths: People die, but little changes
“…From the start of the pandemic, public health officials and many political leaders hoped that covid’s frightening lethality — the death toll will hit 250,000 this week — might unite the country in common cause against the virus’s spread. But the nation’s deep divisions — political and cultural — as well as the virus’s concentrated impact on crowded urban areas in the early months, set the country on a different path. Now, more than eight months into a pandemic that shows no sign of abating, it has become clear that although close experiences with covid-19 do change some people’s attitudes, many Americans stick to their original notions, no matter what sorrows they’ve seen, no matter where they live…” (Fisher et al., 11/18).

Additional coverage of the pandemic’s toll in the U.S. and the incoming Biden-Harris administration is available from HuffPost and POLITICO (2).

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Pledges By World's Top Polluting Nations, New Biden Administration Bring Hope To Paris Accord, U.N. Climate Chief Says

AP: U.N. climate chief: pledges by big polluters boost Paris hopes
“The U.N.’s climate chief says deadlines set by some of the world’s top polluters to end greenhouse gas emissions, along with president-elect Joe Biden’s pledge to take the United States back into the Paris accord, have boosted hopes of meeting the pact’s ambitious goals. … [Patricia Espinosa, head of the United Nations climate office,] said countries’ willingness to commit to tougher emissions limits shows that curbing global warming remains a political priority — and that the target set in Paris is a possibility…” (Jordans, 11/19).

NPR reports on a Lancet article by Harvard doctors and researchers discussing how surgeries are contributing to climate change.

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Climate Change Exacerbating WASH Challenges, Experts Say On World Toilet Day

Devex: World Toilet Day: Experts say climate change is intensifying sanitation crisis
“On World Toilet Day, WASH experts say climate change is intensifying the sanitation crisis and are calling for more support. Currently 4.2 billion people lack access to safely managed sanitation. Without it, human feces can contaminate groundwater, rivers, and lakes, polluting what is often the only supply of water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. This jeopardizes people’s health by exposing them to waterborne diseases, such as cholera, diarrhea, and dysentery…” (Root, 11/19).

Devex conducted interviews with two experts on WASH issues, including Dominic O’Neill, executive director of the newly launched Sanitation and Hygiene Fund, and Léo Heller, U.N. special rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation and researcher with the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Brazil.

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U.N.'s $100M In Emergency Funding For Preventing Famine May Fall Short In Meeting Global Needs

Devex: U.N.’s $100M famine response is not enough to match rising needs, experts say
“The United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund released $100 million in emergency funding on Wednesday to avert the rising risk of famine in [several] countries. But the new money, while helpful, will likely be a ‘drop in the bucket’ of what is needed, according to Sarah Fuhrman, a humanitarian policy specialist at CARE International. International funding for humanitarian response, including food insecurity, remain at record low levels, despite the rise in humanitarian needs. … A ‘toxic combination’ of the pandemic and other climatic and economic conditions has made the possibility of famine in areas of these countries likely within two to six months, according to the World Food Programme…” (Lieberman, 11/19).

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New Reports, Release Highlight Antimicrobial Resistance Challenges At Start Of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week

CIDRAP News: Wellcome calls for more focused antimicrobial resistance agenda
“…[W]hile there’s been a lot of talk about AMR in the ensuing years [since the United Nations (U.N.) high-level meeting on AMR in 2016], there hasn’t been as much action. And even before the COVID-19 pandemic became the biggest public health threat the world has seen since the 1918 influenza pandemic, there was a risk that the AMR agenda was losing the momentum it’s gathered since the U.N. high-level meeting. Those are just a few of the conclusions from a new report on the global AMR response by the Wellcome Trust, which spent the past year speaking with 150 experts from the public health, policy, and scientific communities to craft a strategy for addressing drug resistance in a post-COVID world…” (Dall, 11/18).

Financial Times: FT Health: Future of Antibiotics
“This report examines the causes and effects of an increasing global resistance to antibiotics: from the pressures doctors are under to prescribe them even for viral infections, to what new treatments are currently in the pipeline, as well as what role can the consumer play in reducing antibiotic use in the food chain…” (Multiple authors, 11/18).

U.N. News: Silent Pandemic: Overuse renders antimicrobials less effective — U.N. agriculture agency
“People, plants, and animals around the world are dying from untreatable infections — even with the best medicines available — due to a rise in antimicrobial resistance, the U.N. food agriculture agency said on Wednesday, kicking off World Antimicrobial Awareness Week. Antimicrobial medicines, including antibiotics, have long been overused and misused, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which added that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is ‘spreading further and faster every day’…” (11/18).

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School-Aged Children Can Serve As Malaria Superspreaders, Research Shows

Devex: Children as superspreaders of malaria
“New research from Uganda found that asymptomatic, school-aged children can serve as superspreaders of malaria. These findings suggest that efforts to eliminate the disease from countries might be harder than previously thought. The findings, which were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene on Wednesday, indicated that certain children, aged 5 to 15, can serve as reservoirs to keep the parasite circulating locally in a community…” (Jerving, 11/19).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

Al Jazeera: Pacific’s Samoa records first case of coronavirus (11/19).

Devex: Exclusive: FCDO to become ‘reserved’ department, will not be hiring foreign nationals (Worley, 11/18).

New Humanitarian: In storm-hit Honduras, a climate crisis drives needs and fuels migration (Olson, 11/18).

New York Times: How Profit Collided With Public Health in Italy’s Wealthiest Region (Goodman/Pianigiani, 11/19).

PBS NewsHour: A year after virus appeared, Wuhan tells China’s pandemic story (Fok, 11/17).

POLITICO: UNICEF: Schools are not ‘main drivers’ of Covid among kids (Quilantan, 11/18).

SciDev.Net: Health costs and the ‘ugly’ gender gap (Amutabi, 11/18).

Science: More people are getting COVID-19 twice, suggesting immunity wanes quickly in some (de Vrieze, 11/18).

Scientific American: Mysteries of COVID Smell Loss Finally Yield Some Answers (Sutherland, 11/18).

Xinhua: Feature: Yemeni children suffers malnutrition for lack of humanitarian aid amid war, blockade (11/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss U.S. Engagement In Global Health Under Incoming Biden Administration, Restoring Public Trust In CDC

Financial Times: There is a way to keep America globally engaged
Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of the New America think-tank and FT contributing editor (11/18).

Mother Jones: Here’s How to Restore Trust in the CDC
Will Peischel, Ben Bagdikian editorial fellow in Mother Jones’ DC office (11/18).

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Editorial, Opinion Pieces Address Topics Related COVID-19, Including Vaccine Distribution Challenges; Lessons From HIV Response; Pandemic's Disruption To Polio, Measles Vaccination Campaigns

Devex: Opinion: How AI can push for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines
Jayasree Iyer, executive director, and Thomas Collin-Lefebvre, researcher to the executive director, both at the Access to Medicine Foundation (11/18).

Devex: Opinion: Why exciting results from vaccine research are just the beginning of efforts to end COVID-19
Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC (11/19).

Financial Times: To beat Covid-19 will take far more than a new vaccine
Paul Hudson, chief executive of Sanofi (11/19).

Foreign Affairs: Moral Virtue in the Time of Cholera
David Rosner, Ronald H. Lauterstein professor of sociomedical sciences, professor of history, and co-director of the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health at Columbia University (11/18).

The Hill: Latin America needs our assistance on coronavirus vaccine distribution
Ryan Berg, research fellow, and Allison Schwartz, communications assistant, both at American Enterprise Institute (11/18).

Washington Post: The pandemic is triggering another disaster: Untreated diseases
Editorial Board (11/18).

Washington Post: Even with a vaccine, this virus will take time to conquer
Michael S. Saag, associate dean for global health and director of the Center for AIDS Research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (11/18).

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Achieving SDGs Requires Addressing Health Inequalities Facing Men, Says Editorial

The Lancet Global Health: No man left behind
Editorial Board

“…International Men’s Day, celebrated on Nov. 19, encourages us to consider all we still need to do to improve men’s health and wellbeing. The event seems especially pertinent this year, given findings that about 1.5 times more men than women die from COVID-19, despite an apparently equal infection risk. And, beyond COVID-19, there is a lot left to do. … What can be done? First, reporting sex-disaggregated data is key in assessing the situation and tracking change. Analyzing the contributions of gender, race, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status to outcomes is also crucial. Second, we must translate these data to evidence-based, gender-responsive solutions that are specifically adapted to the lives and circumstances of susceptible men. One important step will be in normalizing use of primary health care. … Finally, we must actively undermine gender norms (such as concepts of male self-reliance) during childhood, before they take hold. Many health risks mostly affecting men are modifiable and relate to normalization or promotion of unhealthy behaviors as masculine, with profound long-term impacts on individuals and society. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development signatories pledged that ‘no one will be left behind.’ As progress on issues mostly affecting women speeds ahead, we must ensure that men are also on board” (12/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

MFAN Releases Foreign Aid Policy Recommendations For New Presidential Administration

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: MFAN Publishes Recommendations for a New Presidential Administration
In a statement delivered on behalf of MFAN, Co-Chairs Lester Munson, Larry Nowels, and Tessie San Martin discuss the release of MFAN’s foreign aid policy recommendations for the new presidential administration and note, “The recommendations cover early actions that the new administration should consider immediately, including the swift nomination of leadership for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Millennium Challenge Corporation, PEPFAR, and the U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC)” (11/18).

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Releases Address Development Issues Ahead Of G20 Leaders' Summit

Norwegian Refugee Council: Aid groups warn G20 leaders must act to prevent humanitarian catastrophe in wake of Covid-19 economic recession
“Ahead of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Saudi Arabia on 21 November, 11 aid organizations are calling for early action to prevent soaring rates of hunger and malnutrition resulting from the pandemic-related global economic recession…” (11/19).

ONE Campaign: The Common Framework on Debt Treatment: A game changer?
Fiona Robertson, international development consultant for the ONE Campaign, discusses the G20’s Common Framework for Debt Treatment, “which sets out the rule for future debt restructuring and forgiveness” and provides five ways the G20 can show leadership through the framework (11/18).

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UNICEF, WHO Release State Of The World's Sanitation Report

WHO: State of the World’s Sanitation
“…[T]he world is alarmingly off-track in delivering sanitation for all by 2030, according to the State of the World’s Sanitation report, released on this year’s World Toilet Day by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). Despite progress over the past two decades, toilets at home, workplaces, schools, and hospitals are still far out-of-reach for billions of people. Over half of the world’s population — 4.2 billion people — use sanitation services that leave human waste untreated, and among those, 2 billion people still lack even a basic toilet and 673 million people have no toilets at all…” (11/18).

WHO: Learning from history: Sanitation for prosperity
In this blog post, Kelly Ann Naylor and Bruce Gordon, heads of WASH for UNICEF and WHO, describe five key investment accelerators for sanitation and highlight findings and recommendations from the State of the World’s Sanitation report (11/19).

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Webinar Examines How Faith Leaders, Philanthropists Addressing COVID-19's Threat To Malaria Progress In Sub-Saharan Africa

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Faith Leaders & Philanthropists Address COVID-19’s Threat to Malaria
“Friends of the Global Fight and the J.C. Flowers Foundation held a webinar focused on how faith leaders and philanthropists are partnering with national- and community-level health authorities in sub-Saharan Africa to maintain progress towards malaria elimination and to mitigate COVID-19’s negative impact…” (11/18).

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WHO Announces New Certification Program To Recognize Countries For Efforts To Eliminate Trans-Fatty Acids From National Food Supplies

WHO: WHO announces certification program for trans fat elimination
“A new WHO Certification Program for Trans Fat Elimination aims to recognize countries that have eliminated industrially produced trans-fatty acids (TFA) from their national food supplies. This is the first-ever certification program that will recognize countries for their efforts to eliminate one of the main risk factors for noncommunicable diseases and protect their populations from premature death…” (11/17).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Congratulates DRC For Ending Most Recent Ebola Outbreak

USAID: USAID Welcomes The Official Declaration Of The End Of The Ebola Outbreak In The Northwestern Democratic Republic Of Congo
On Wednesday, “the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared an end to the epidemic of Ebola in Northwestern Équateur Province, which began on June 1, 2020. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) congratulates the Government of the DRC, its international and local partners, and the Congolese people for having stopped two outbreaks of the deadly disease in one year. National authorities declared that a previous outbreak of Ebola in the Eastern DRC — the second-largest in history — ended on June 25, 2020, after nearly two years. In total, the U.S. Government, through USAID, has provided nearly $366 million in life-saving humanitarian assistance to fight Ebola in the DRC and neighboring countries since 2018…” (11/18).

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From KFF

KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of November 19, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (11/19).

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.

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