KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

More Than 46M COVID-19 Cases, 1.2M Deaths Worldwide, WHO Reports, Highlighting Growing Risk Among Young People, Importance Of Flu Surveillance

Al Jazeera: ‘Critical moment’ as Europe, N. Africa see COVID-19 surge: WHO
“Governments face another ‘critical moment for action’ as coronavirus cases surge in parts of Europe and North Africa, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), said in his latest briefing on the pandemic…” (11/3).

CNN: WHO reports 46 million global Covid-19 cases, with a growing proportion among young people
“As of November 1, there have been 46 million coronavirus cases and 1.2 million deaths globally, according to the World Health Organization’s weekly Covid-19 update. … The WHO also notes increasing reports of long-term effects of coronavirus, including among younger people. While the trend in cases is shifting among age groups, older people remain the most vulnerable to illness and death from Covid-19…” (Mascarenhas, 11/3).

Xinhua: WHO highlights influenza risk for young children, pregnant women during COVID-19
“Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) highlighted on Monday the influenza risk for young children and pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic, calling for strong surveillance and testing. Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said at a WHO press briefing on Monday that it’s still unknown how the coming influenza season in the Northern Hemisphere is to unfold…” (11/2).

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U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Urges Security Council To Make Greater Effort On Global Ceasefire To Focus On Defeating COVID-19, 'Our Common Enemy'

U.N. News: Deputy U.N. chief pushes Security Council on global ceasefire, to fight ‘common enemy’
“The U.N. Deputy Secretary-General on Tuesday urged the Security Council to do more to encourage combatants across the world to put down their guns and focus instead on fighting ‘our common enemy’ — the coronavirus. ‘I count on your commitment to this appeal,’ Amina Mohammed told the meeting via videoconference, on factors driving civil strife worldwide. ‘And I count on your renewed political and financial investments in prevention and solutions, to stave off security and conflict risks, at a time when the world needs peace and calm more than ever before’…” (11/3).

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Global Coronavirus Response Hindered By Politics, Helen Clark Says In Bloomberg Interview

Bloomberg: WHO, Nations’ Covid Response Hampered by Politics, Reviewer Says
“The World Health Organization needs greater freedom from politics when it recommends measures to fight global health crises, according to one of the leaders of an independent panel evaluating the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Concerns about reactions to recommendations like potentially trade-disrupting border closures may undermine the global health agency’s ability to fight new health threats, said Helen Clark, both a former prime minister of New Zealand and administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, in an interview…” (Gale, 11/3).

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Nature Outlines Trump Administration's Interference In Government Scientists' Response To COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Executive Order That Could Facilitate Their Firing

Nature: Four ways Trump has meddled in pandemic science — and why it matters
“As the United States votes today on who will be its next president, Donald Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic looms large. One issue that resonates with the research community is the extent to which the current president and his administration have meddled with science and scientific advice during the pandemic — often with disastrous results. Last month, a coronavirus-crisis sub-committee within the U.S. House of Representatives released a report documenting 47 instances in which government scientists had been sidelined or their recommendations altered. And the report notes that the frequency of meddling has been increasing in the lead-up to the U.S. election…” (Viglione, 11/3).

Nature: Trump’s latest order spreads fear among government scientists
“An executive order issued by U.S. President Donald Trump has sown confusion and fear among government scientists in the country. Announced by the White House on 21 October, the order creates a job category for government workers — such as scientists — that makes it easier to fire people shifted into these positions. Researchers fear that this is yet another attack in a four-year war on science waged by the Trump administration. … According to the order, workers to be tapped for the new category are those in ‘confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating’ roles. This could include scientists who help to craft policies on issues such as environmental regulation. It is not yet clear which workers would be placed in this category, but agency leaders have been given 90 days to create a preliminary list of positions that might be affected — due just one day before Trump would be inaugurated, if he was re-elected during the current U.S. presidential race. If Trump loses to former vice president Joe Biden, Biden could quickly overturn the order…” (Subbaraman, 11/2).

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New COVID-19 Cases Surge In U.S., As Birx Warns Nation Entering 'Deadly Phase,' Experts Call For National Control Strategy

CBS News: U.S. fights coronavirus surge amid record number of new cases
“The U.S. leads the world by far in both infections and deaths, and many states are now seeing record numbers of new cases. Americans went to the polls on Election Day in the shadow of the pandemic — a reminder of what’s at stake. … Meanwhile, Dr. Deborah Birx, a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is warning the U.S. could see over 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day sometime this week…” (Battiste, 11/3).

MedPage Today: COVID-19: A National Problem Needing a National Strategy
“Lack of a cohesive national strategy is hampering U.S. efforts to control the pandemic, mainly because standardized guidance and adequate testing are both lacking, said experts from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). A national strategy ‘would make a world of difference,’ said Amesh Adalja, MD, IDSA fellow, and a physician at the University of Pittsburgh…” (Walker, 11/3).

Additional coverage of Birx’s comments is available from CNN, Forbes, and VOA News.

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U.S. Formally Exits Paris Agreement To Address Climate Change

Reuters: U.S. formally exits global climate pact amid election uncertainty
“The United States formally exited the Paris Agreement on Wednesday, fulfilling a years-long promise by President Donald Trump to withdraw the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter from the global pact to fight climate change. But the outcome of the tight U.S. election contest will determine for how long. Trump’s Democratic rival, Joe Biden, has promised to rejoin the agreement if elected. … Most scientists believe the world must cut emissions sharply and quickly in order to avoid the most catastrophic effects of global warming…” (Volcovici/Green, 11/4).

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Kenyan Charities Urge Government To Withdraw From U.S.-Led Geneva Consensus Declaration, Saying Pact Aims To Limit Abortion Access, Women's Rights

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Kenyan charities urge government to quit U.S.-led anti-abortion pact
“An alliance of Kenyan charities urged the government on Tuesday to withdraw from a U.S.-led international accord that critics say aims to limit abortion access for millions of women and girls around the world. Thirty-three nations, including Kenya, signed the Geneva Consensus Declaration (GCD) — which was co-sponsored by the United States, Brazil, Uganda, Egypt, Hungary, and Indonesia — on Oct. 22. … The pact is not legally binding, but charities working to promote women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Kenya said it was a deliberate attempt to weaken international efforts to safeguard women’s rights…” (Bhalla, 11/3).

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News Outlets Report On Latest Developments In COVID-19 Vaccine, Diagnostic Research

Bloomberg: Delays Hit Oxford Vaccine Production for U.K. Government Supply (Morales/Patton, 11/4).

Bloomberg: England Puts Doctors on Alert for Covid Vaccine Before Christmas (Ashton, 11/4).

Financial Times: U.K. spends £1bn on Boris Johnson’s rapid coronavirus testing ‘moonshot’ (Gross/Bott, 11/3).

The Guardian: Rich states’ Covid deals ‘may deprive poor of vaccine for years’ (Safi, 11/3).

Reuters: Oxford COVID-19 vaccine results due next month, raising hopes of 2021 rollout (Smout/Faulconbridge, 11/4).

Science: Will a small, long-shot U.S. company end up producing the best coronavirus vaccine? (Wadman, 11/3).

South China Morning Post: Coronavirus: international funding boost for Chinese vaccine maker Clover (McCarthy, 11/3).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

Borgen Magazine: Senator Bob Casey’s Poverty Reduction Efforts (McWilliams, 11/3).

Borgen Magazine: South America’s Indigenous Populations Combat COVID-19 (Engels, 11/3).

Devex: COVID-19 is just part of the story for NGOs in the Pacific (Cornish, 11/4).

Devex: Q&A: Why resilience is key to improved delivery of aid (Root, 11/3).

The Guardian: ‘Don’t stop the music’: songs bring hope to a Nigerian psychiatric unit (Falodun, 11/4).

The Guardian: Jordan suffers Covid surge after early success against virus (Safi/Al-Tahat, 11/4).

IPS: Forced Child Marriage & Conversion: Public Discussion & Legal Reforms Called for in Pakistan (Ebrahim, 11/4).

IPS: Solving the Challenge of Food Security Key to Peacebuilding in the Sahel (Adams, 11/3).

Reuters: Exclusive: International donors likely to pledge less for Afghanistan — sources (Jain et al., 11/3).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Address Various Aspects Of COVID-19, Including Avoiding Second Wave In Developing Countries, U.S.; Vaccine Access; Value Of Understanding Origins Of COVID-19

Bloomberg: Developing Nations Can’t Ease Up on Covid-19 Now
Mihir Sharma, Bloomberg Opinion columnist (11/2).

CNN: Dr. Deborah Birx’s stern warning is a wakeup call
Jill Filipovic, journalist and author (11/3).

Devex: Opinion: What the U.S. election could mean for global COVID-19 vaccine access
Amanda Glassman, executive vice president and senior fellow at the Center for Global Development (11/4).

IPS: Africa Must not Assume a ‘Business as Usual’ Approach to COVID-19 Recovery
Peter Kamalingin B.L., Pan Africa director for Oxfam International (11/3).

PNAS: Opinion: To stop the next pandemic, we need to unravel the origins of COVID-19
David A. Relman, Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan professor in medicine and professor of microbiology & immunology and senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University (11/3).

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2-Part Opinion Piece Discusses Opportunity For U.N. To Take New Direction

IPS: U.N. at 75: Slow Death or a New Direction — Part 2
Mark Malloch‐Brown, co-chair of the U.N. Foundation and the International Crisis Group and member of the advisory committees to the heads of the IMF and UNICEF

“…The world needs to believe the U.N. matters. That it is relevant. The U.N. still enjoys high levels of support in Pew and other surveys. Yet that support seems heavily aspirational — around what it ought to do; not what it does. … For its 75th … the U.N. undertook a survey of a million respondents supplemented by independent polling by Pew and Edelman Intelligence as well the latter’s analysis of social and traditional media coverage in 70 countries. What comes through clearly is that across very different national economies and circumstances there is a demand for the better delivery of basic services, notably at the moment health; protection of the environment and containing climate change; honest accountable government that delivers and protects its citizens. This is already the U.N.’s agenda. … What I have laid out … is a call for the U.N. to seize the moment and take advantage of the opportunities it has at this moment of global crisis to recover relevance and to drive a new global consensus on tackling our collective weaknesses that Covid has so cruelly exposed. There is a majority out there for a better governed and prepared, more caring and inclusive world but that same majority has grown terminally impatient with existing institutions. The U.N. can be part of that failed past or attach itself to an emerging future. Let the Campaign begin.” Part one of this piece can be found here (11/4).

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Prioritizing, Investing In WASH Systems Vital For Economies

Devex: Opinion: Why water and sanitation systems are vital for our economies
Catarina de Albuquerque, CEO of Sanitation and Water for All

“…Since the early days of the industrial revolution, we have known the transformative economic and social benefits of access to WASH, and the horrific consequences of inaction. If finance ministers fail to help prioritize water and sanitation, the consequences could affect societies for generations. Financial decision-makers must create an enabling environment by investing in institutions and people and mobilize new sources of finance such as taxes, tariffs, transfers, or repayable finance. … In the end, well-resourced, well-run WASH systems are catalysts for progress in every sector from gender, food, and education, to health, industry, and the environment. By nature of their work, finance ministers must use evidence to make smart decisions that will help their countries to flourish. In the case of WASH, the evidence is clear: Continuing to neglect these services will only continue to stunt the growth of our economies, populations, and societies” (11/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

OECD Countries Must Meet 0.7% Aid Target, Renew Commitment To Aid To Achieve SDGs, Interim Oxfam Head Says

World Economic Forum: The world’s poorest people are owed $5.7 trillion, says Oxfam
Chema Vera, interim executive director at Oxfam International, discusses foreign aid and the importance of OECD countries contributing 0.7% of their GNI in international aid, writing, “Today, aid is needed more than ever, not least in the wake of a pandemic that is wreaking havoc on the poorest and an inequality crisis that is driving our world apart. … It is high-time for a 0.7% in solidarity with communities around the world. … We need a renewed commitment to aid that makes amends for historic injustices and helps us exit this painful crisis, in solidarity with others towards a fairer world” (11/3).

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WHO Southeast Asia Regional Office Releases Publication On Double Burden Of Malnutrition

WHO: The double burden of malnutrition: priority actions on ending childhood obesity
“Despite the rising prevalence of overweight and obesity in children, responses in addressing the problem … are inadequate in many countries in WHO South-East Asia Region where undernutrition is common. In these settings, prevention of childhood obesity is not a priority despite the clear links between undernutrition and overweight and obesity and an ever-increasing burden of noncommunicable disease. This publication provides regional and country data on the double burden of malnutrition, and particularly on childhood overweight and obesity, [and] highlights the need for an integrated approach to address overweight and obesity through integration into existing programs while supporting the improvement of food environments” (11/2).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC Around The World Newsletter Highlights One Health Day

CDC’s “Around the World”: One Health Day
The latest issue of CDC’s “Around the World” newsletter highlights One Health Day, which takes place annually on November 3, and includes a blog post on the One Health approach to preventing diseases, a fact sheet on One Health in the U.S. and around the world, and graphics and messaging from CDC’s One Health office to share on social media (11/3).

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USAID Fact Sheet Details Response To COVID-19 Pandemic In Libya

USAID: Libya COVID-19 Response
This fact sheet describes how USAID “partners with Libyan government institutions, civil society, and the private sector to support strengthening the foundations of a more unified Libyan state and advance stability and self-reliance in Libya. USAID also provides humanitarian assistance to address the immediate needs of conflict-affected Libyans. Since 2011, the United States has invested $850 million in to meet immediate humanitarian needs, and in Libya’s public health and overall development. This assistance has supported the capabilities of many of the national and local institutions and organizations that are now leading the COVID-19 response…” (11/3).

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USAID Recognizes Agency's 59th Anniversary

USAID: 59th Anniversary of USAID
In this statement published Tuesday, Acting Administrator John Barsa says, “Today, we celebrate the 59th anniversary of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Since the Agency’s inception, USAID has been proud to exhibit the best of American values abroad, by helping people around the world make progress on their Journey to Self-Reliance while creating a safer and more prosperous world for Americans at home. … As we look to the future of global development, we are excited to continue helping people everywhere achieve their full potential over the next 59 years and beyond…” (11/3).

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From KFF

KFF Updates Mexico City Policy Explainer

KFF: The Mexico City Policy: An Explainer
On January 23, 2017, President Donald Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy via presidential memorandum, renaming it “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance.” This explainer provides an overview of the policy, including its history, changes over time, and current application. The update includes the most recent action on the policy — a proposed rule to extend the policy to contracts that was published in September. If finalized, the rule would greatly extend the reach of the policy beyond grants and cooperative agreements to also include contracts (11/4).

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KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of November 4, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (11/4).

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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