KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

More Than 1.2M Confirmed COVID-19 Fatalities Worldwide; Tedros Calls For Increased Investments In, Strengthening Of Health Systems To Control Pandemic

NPR: A Look At The State Of The Pandemic
“Coronavirus cases are surging in many countries, including the United States and in Europe, and governments are imposing new lockdowns. NPR takes a look at the state of the pandemic around the world…” (Aizenman/Stein, 11/2).

U.N. News: ‘If we invest in health systems, we can bring this virus under control’ — WHO chief
“Health systems and global preparedness are not only an investment in the future but ‘the foundation of our response’ to today’s COVID-19 health crisis, the head of the U.N.’s health agency said on Monday. ‘Public health is more than medicine and science and it is bigger than any individual and there is hope that if we invest in health systems…we can bring this virus under control and go forward together to tackle other challenges of our times,’ U.N. World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists in a regular press briefing…” (11/2).

VOA News: World Surpasses 1.2 Million COVID-19 Confirmed Fatalities
“The global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has surpassed 1.2 million people, according to data collected by the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. The fatalities are among the 46.5 million total cases compiled in the nearly year-long pandemic, and comes as the European continent reaches its own grim threshold of more than 10 million confirmed coronavirus cases…” (11/2).

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Rich Countries Pre-Purchasing Coronavirus Vaccines, Potentially Leaving Poorer Nations Without, Duke Analysis Shows; Media Outlets Report On Other Vaccine, Therapeutic News

Washington Post: As rich countries hoard potential coronavirus vaccine doses, rest of world could go without
“Rich countries have already snapped up billions of doses of potential coronavirus vaccines, potentially leaving poor countries without enough supply for years to come, a new study shows. An analysis from researchers at Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Center, found that high- and middle-income countries have already purchased 3.8 billion doses, with options for 5 billion more. As a result, relatively wealthy nations will likely be able to vaccinate their entire populations, with billions of others relegated to the back of the line. People in low-income countries could be waiting until 2024…” (Rauhala, 11/2).

AP: South African firm and Johnson & Johnson strike vaccine deal (Magome, 11/2).

Bloomberg: China’s Race for First Covid-19 Vaccine Raises Safety Questions (O’Brien, 11/2).

Financial Times: Race to discover pandemic vaccine faces hurdles (Jack, 11/2).

The Guardian: Covid-19: How do you make a vaccine? — podcast (Finlay/Waters, 11/3).

STAT: Gilead faces pressure to relinquish valuable FDA voucher awarded with remdesivir approval (Silverman, 11/2).

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COVID-19 Pandemic To Define U.S. Elections As Voters Head To Polls

The Hill: On The Trail: A campaign defined by a pandemic
“After eight months of downplaying the threat of a pandemic that has killed nearly a quarter-million of his constituents, President Trump faces voters Tuesday in an election that has become all about a virus that is running unchecked throughout the nation. Voters will head to the polls in what is expected to yield the highest turnout in more than a century, with the coronavirus top of mind…” (Wilson, 11/2).

Washington Post: Unlike previous lethal viruses, this one will define a major election
“For at least the fourth time in a century, voters will go to the polls amid a lethal viral outbreak, but unlike previous elections held in the shadow of flu, polio, and HIV, the novel coronavirus — and the destruction it has unleashed — will almost certainly define the 2020 contest. … How those factors affect turnout and results won’t be known until evening, and perhaps not for days or weeks to come. But it is already clear that Tuesday will mark a singular modern-day confluence of a U.S. public health crisis and the election of a president…” (Bernstein/Achenbach, 11/2).

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Birx Issues Warning COVID-19 Pandemic Entering New, 'Deadly Phase' In Memo To White House; Trump Cannot Directly Fire Fauci

New York Times: Birx Issues Blunt Coronavirus Warning Starkly at Odds With Trump
“Dr. Deborah L. Birx, who has carefully straddled the line between science and politics as she helps lead the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, delivered a stark private warning on Monday, telling White House officials that the pandemic is entering a new and ‘deadly phase’ that demands a more aggressive approach. The warning, contained in a private memo to White House officials as the nation’s daily coronavirus caseload has broken records and approached 100,000, amounted to a direct contradiction of President Trump’s repeated — and inaccurate — assertions that the pandemic is ’rounding the corner’…” (Stolberg/Haberman, 11/3).

Washington Post: Trump says he might fire Fauci. Technically, he can’t.
“…Technically, the president of the United States cannot directly fire Fauci, let’s say by a tweet, mainly because he is not a political appointee. As a career federal employee and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, Fauci is protected by federal civil service regulations that shield him from being fired or demoted for political reasons. Fauci could be removed, but it would imply a complicated process layered with civil service protections that require the government agency to provide evidence that there is a just cause for dismissal, including failure to follow orders or misconduct…” (Villegas, 11/2).

Additional coverage of Birx’s memo to the White House is available from Axios and Washington Post.

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E.U. Health Ministers Endorse Document On WHO Reform, Urge More Transparency During Disease Outbreaks

Reuters: E.U. urges quick WHO reform, asks for more transparency in pandemics
“The World Health Organization (WHO) should be quickly overhauled, get more powers to handle pandemics and expose its member states’ shortfalls in health emergencies, European Union officials said on Friday. The comments were made at a video conference of E.U. health ministers that endorsed an E.U. document on the reform of the U.N. agency which for the first time outlines a series of sweeping changes needed to boost WHO’s powers and resources, as exclusively reported by Reuters in September…” (Guarascio/Copley, 10/30).

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Many European Nations Implement Lockdowns For 2nd Time But Lack Long-Term Plans To Address COVID-19 Pandemic

Science: Europe is locking down a second time. But what is its long-term plan?
“…With COVID-19 cases mounting and threatening to overwhelm health care capacity, much of Europe has taken similar [lockdown] measures to curb human contacts. Two months ago, as numbers began to creep up after a blissful summer lull, countries still held out hope that more limited, targeted measures could prevent a second wave. Now, that wave is here, with the force of a tsunami. Europe has surpassed the United States in cases per capita; last week, it accounted for half of the more than 3 million cases reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). … Most countries are reacting without a long-term plan, simply trying to avoid the worst. Officials differ about the best way to bring the numbers down again, and how low a level they should strive for. And no one knows what comes next…” (Kupferschmidt, 11/2).

Coverage of Britain’s and Italy’s efforts to mitigate new cases is available from NPR and Reuters.

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Pregnant Women Face Increased Risk Of Severe Illness Due To COVID-19, Preterm Birth, CDC Studies Show

New York Times: Pregnant Women Face Increased Risks From Covid-19
“U.S. health officials on Monday added pregnancy to the list of conditions that put people with Covid-19 at increased risk of developing severe illness, including a heightened risk of death. While most pregnant women infected with the coronavirus have not become severely ill, the new caution is based on a large study that looked at tens of thousands of pregnant women who had Covid-19 symptoms. The study found they were significantly more likely to require intensive care, to be connected to a specialized heart-lung bypass machine, and to require mechanical ventilation than nonpregnant women of the same age who had Covid symptoms. Most importantly, the pregnant women faced a 70 percent increased risk of death, when compared to nonpregnant women who were symptomatic…” (Rabin, 11/2).

TIME: There May Be a Link Between COVID-19 and Preterm Birth, CDC Says
“Contracting COVID-19 during pregnancy may put expectant mothers at a higher risk of delivering early, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC’s new report is based on data from almost 4,500 people who were diagnosed with COVID-19 during pregnancy and provided public health departments with information about their pregnancy outcomes. Roughly 3,900 mothers gave information about their baby’s gestational age. Within that group, nearly 13% of babies (about 500) were born preterm — slightly but significantly higher than the 2019 national rate of about 10%…” (Ducharme, 11/2).

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Women Polio Vaccinators In Pakistan Face Violence, Threats; Save The Children Warns Of Uptick In Polio Cases In S. Sudan; Taliban Prevents Polio Vaccinations Of 40K Children

The Guardian: The women who risk their lives to deliver Pakistan’s polio vaccines
“…The polio workers, men and women, go house-to-house administering polio drops to children. But for the female workers, to do their job is to put their lives at risk on a daily basis. The threats and fatalities are a direct result of a rampant anti-vaccination campaign led by hardline religious leaders and politicians in this highly conservative area. They have pushed the narrative that the polio vaccination drive is a western conspiracy being forced on Pakistan, and is violating Islam by allowing women to work as polio vaccinators…” (Ellis-Petersen/Baloch, 11/3).

Xinhua: Global charity decries polio spike among children in South Sudan
“International charity, Save the Children, on Monday expressed concern about a spike in polio cases among children in South Sudan as new cases put lives at further risk. The charity said South Sudan has recorded nine new cases of polio just three months after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Africa free of the wild poliovirus…” (11/3).

Xinhua: 40,000 children deprived of polio vaccine in N. Afghanistan
“A total of 40,000 children have been deprived of anti-polio vaccination due to the restriction imposed by the Taliban group in the northern Badakhshan province, Provincial Public Health Director Noor Khawari said Monday…” (11/2).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

AP: Poland protests leader: Abortion court ruling must be waived (11/2).

AP: Does Weather Affect the Spread of the Coronavirus Outside? (11/3).

AP: Facing pandemic economic woes, Nepal reopens to adventurers (Gurubacharya, 11/3).

Devex: Venezuelans face mounting challenges as flow increases back to Colombia (Welsh, 11/3).

The Guardian: ‘Lives have been lost’: Pregnant women in Zimbabwe forced to pay bribes when giving birth (Chingono, 11/3).

New York Times: A Rapid Virus Test Falters in People Without Symptoms, Study Finds (Wu, 11/3).

Science: Antivaccine videos slip through YouTube’s advertising policies, new study finds (Ferreira, 11/2).

TIME: Frozen Food Packages in China Keep Testing Positive For Coronavirus. Here’s Why Health Experts Aren’t Worried (Gunia, 11/3).

U.N. News: Protect children and relief workers caught up in conflict, urges U.N. rights envoy (11/2).

U.N. News: Super typhoon Goni: Several towns cut off; response complicated by COVID-19 (11/3).

Washington Post: Canadian provinces work to keep schools open amid coronavirus second wave (Coletta, 11/3).

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Editorials and Opinions

Next U.S. President Has Opportunity To Show Leadership, Engage In International Cooperation To Achieve SDGs, Says Opinion Piece

Devex: Opinion: Urgent international priorities for the next U.S. president
Melissa Leach, director of the Institute of Development Studies, fellow of the British Academy, co-founder of the ESRC STEPS Centre, and member of the WHO Social Science Expert Group and British Academy COVID-19 steering group

“With the outcome of the presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden imminent, the results will be critical, not only to the population of the United States but for the world at large. A change of president has the potential to transform the leadership and international cooperation needed at a crucial juncture for international development — with only 10 years to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and with the shared global challenges of COVID-19, climate and environmental change, poverty, inequality, and injustice. … This is the time for the U.S. to show leadership in investing USAID not only in urgent aid relief but also in long-term development and the research and evidence needed to tackle the most pressing global challenges and help meet the SDG targets at home and abroad. … From issues of ensuring the fair distribution of treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 through WHO, to tax reform of dominant U.S. tech companies through the G20/OECD Inclusive Framework, to … climate and sustainable development challenges … there are plenty of opportunities for it to do so. And it has never been so urgently needed” (11/2).

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Opinion Piece Examines Trump Administration's Record On Reproductive Health Amid U.S. Signing Of Geneva Consensus Declaration

Ms. Magazine: Mike Pompeo is Wrong: There *Is* an International Right to Abortion
Merrite Johnson, program coordinator at the Global Justice Center

“Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed the Geneva Consensus Declaration, a U.S.-led document that fired yet another shot across the bow at reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy. … [T]he signing ceremony was touted as a watershed moment in the fight against an international movement to declare a right to abortion at the expense of traditional family values. … Thirty-two other countries signed onto the declaration, only two of which allow abortion upon request. Traditional U.S. allies like Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union bloc are noticeably absent and the declaration’s cosponsors — Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uganda — have especially dismal records on reproductive freedom and gender equality. So, let’s take a look at some of the authoritarian regimes with whom Pompeo has allied the U.S. in his crusade against safe abortion, international accountability, and science…” (11/2).

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Opinion Pieces Address Link Between COVID-19, Racism; Experimental Drug Access Policies; COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

The Guardian: How the link between racism and Covid is being ignored
Ciaran Thapar, journalist and author (11/2).

Scientific American: Beware Political Hype over the ‘Right to Try’ COVID Drugs
Jeremy Snyder, professor and bioethicist in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University (11/2).

STAT: Public officials: Heed the will of the people in the ‘middle hour’ of the coronavirus crisis
Dirk Kempthorne, former Republican governor of Idaho, and Deval Patrick, former Democratic governor of Massachusetts, both co-chairs of the COVID Collaborative (11/2).

STAT: Spike in prescribing dexamethasone to Covid-19 patients may do more harm than good
Kao-Ping Chua, primary care pediatrician and assistant professor in the department of pediatrics of the University of Michigan Medical School and the Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and colleagues (11/2).

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Haiti Must Sustain Efforts To Prevent, Treat Malaria, COVID-19, Protect Frontline Health Workers, Says Opinion Piece

Miami Herald: Haiti has cut malaria cases in half. Its successful efforts must continue | Opinion
Marie Greta Roy Clement, minister of health to the Ministry of Public Health and Population in Haiti

“…Alarming recent research shows that pausing malaria prevention efforts in developing nations such as Haiti during COVID-19 will have deadly consequences. The fights against COVID-19 and malaria are one and the same. … [S]uccesses in the fight against malaria [have] given Haiti unprecedented opportunity to apply lessons learned to battling COVID-19, thanks to our heroic community health workers on the front lines. They sacrifice to ensure that their communities are safe and understand the dangers of deadly, preventable diseases. It is crucial to [sustain] efforts to test, trace, and treat those with malaria and COVID-19 while protecting front-line health workers. Haiti’s health officials and partners, with the support of the Global Fund, have adapted outreach measures to protect from COVID-19 those delivering and receiving malaria interventions. We must leave no one behind; everyone’s safety depends on it” (11/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Event, Releases Address Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Potential Second Wave In Africa; Impact On Women; Vaccine Development; Epidemiology, Economics Amid Pandemic

African Arguments: Covid-19 in Africa: What if there Is a Second Wave?
Paul Richards, anthropologist, professor at Njala University in Sierra Leone, and author, and Daniel Cohen, former adviser on Ebola in Sierra Leone (11/2).

Council on Foreign Relations: A Global Look at Primary Care in the Era of COVID-19 (10/30).

ONE Campaign: Women have been rendered invisible during the crisis
Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, ONE’s France director (11/2).

Physicians for Human Rights: A Politics-free Path to a COVID-19 Vaccine
Christopher Beyrer, Desmond M. Tutu Professor of Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and PHR advisory council member, and colleagues (10/30).

Project Syndicate: Econ Films: Economics and Epidemiology during the Coronavirus Pandemic
Neil Ferguson, epidemiologist and professor of mathematical biology, Tim Besley, academic economist and School Professor of Economics and Political Science and Sir W. Arthur Lewis Professor of Development Economics at the London School of Economics, and colleagues (11/3).

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Early Health Technology Assessments May Help Bridge Gap Between COVID-19 Vaccine, R&D, CGD Blog Post Says

Center for Global Development: Bridging the Gap Between Need and Innovation: The Case of Vaccines
Rachel Archer, project associate at Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program (HITAP), and colleagues discuss the potential of early health technology assessments (HTA) to systematically assess the value of vaccine candidates in the pipeline and highlight how early HTA may help bridge the gap between country demand for a COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine research and development (11/2).

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November 2020 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The November 2020 WHO Bulletin features articles on primary health care, including an editorial written by WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on strengthening the resolve for primary health care; an editorial on emergency, critical, and operative care services for effective primary care; and research on hospital provision of essential primary care in 56 countries (November 2020).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Fact Sheet Highlights U.S. Efforts To Deliver Ventilators To 37 Countries, NATO Stockpile In Response To COVID-19

USAID: Saving Lives with Ventilators
This fact sheet discusses USAID’s efforts to deliver more than 8,000 ventilators across 37 countries and the NATO stockpile to respond to COVID-19 (11/2).

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Public Health Service Expert Recognizes One Health Day, Discusses Agency's 'One Health' Approach

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: One Health — A Comprehensive Approach To Preventing Disease, Saving Lives
Casey Barton Behravesh, director of CDC’s One Health Office in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases and captain in the U.S. Public Health Service, recognizes One Health Day and discusses the “One Health approach and how it is used by the CDC to identify and minimize the risk from zoonotic diseases, as well as to address other health threats affecting people, animals, plants, and their shared environment” (11/3).

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From KFF

KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of November 3, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (11/3).

A KFF-curated recap of pandemic-related news from last week is available here. 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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