KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report
In The News
- Global Economic Growth To Shrink 4.4% For 2020, IMF Predicts
AP: IMF envisions a sharp 4.4% drop in global growth for 2020
“The International Monetary Fund foresees a steep fall in international growth this year as the global economy struggles to recover from the pandemic-induced recession, its worst collapse in nearly a century. The IMF estimated Tuesday that the global economy will shrink 4.4% for 2020. That would be the worst annual plunge since the Great Depression of the 1930s…” (Crutsinger, 10/13).
U.N. News: IMF: ‘Less severe’ but ‘still deep’ recession predicted
“In the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic and its continuing impact, the global economy could see a ‘somewhat less severe, though still deep’ recession through 2020, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected in its latest global economic outlook. The revision is driven by better-than-anticipated second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) in large advanced economies, the IMF reported on Monday, noting also stronger than expected growth in China and signs of a more rapid recovery in the third quarter…” (10/13).
- World Bank Approves $12B In Financing To Help Developing Countries Procure, Distribute Coronavirus Vaccines, Tests, Treatments; Mexico Signs With 3 Companies To Purchase Potential Vaccines
AP: World Bank approves $12B to finance virus vaccines, care
“The World Bank has approved $12 billion in financing to help developing countries buy and distribute coronavirus vaccines, tests, and treatments, aiming to support the vaccination of up to 1 billion people. The $12 billion ‘envelope’ is part of a wider World Bank Group package of up to $160 billion to help developing countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank said in a statement late Tuesday. The World Bank said its COVID-19 emergency response programs are already reaching 111 countries…” (10/14).
Wall Street Journal: Mexico Signs Agreements to Buy Potential Covid-19 Vaccines
“Mexico signed agreements with three companies on Tuesday that are developing vaccines against Covid-19, and it expects to secure doses for more than 100 million people through 2021. Mexico will buy eventual vaccines for 39 million people from AstraZeneca PLC of the U.K., as many as 17 million from Pfizer Inc. and 35 million from China’s CanSino Biologics Inc. It’s also participating in the international vaccine alliance Covax, through which it expects to obtain doses for about 26 million people…” (Harrup, 10/13).
- 'Global Solidarity' Needed To Address Challenge Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Impacts On Health, Food Systems, Employment, U.N. Agencies Urge
U.N. News: ‘Time for global solidarity’ to overcome COVID’s health, social and economic challenges
“The COVID-19 pandemic has not only led to a ‘dramatic loss’ of human life but also constitutes an ‘unprecedented challenge’ to public health, food systems, and employment, a group of leading U.N. agencies said on Tuesday. In a joint statement, the International Labour Organization (ILO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and World Health Organization (WHO) highlighted that tens of millions are at risk of falling into extreme poverty…” (10/13).
- As COVID-19 Cases Rise In U.S., Some Experts Worry About Politicization Of Mitigation Strategies
AP: AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s distortions on WHO and lockdowns
“President Donald Trump is claiming the World Health Organization shifted its stance on lockdown measures to control COVID-19 and has now acknowledged he was right to say such restrictions are harmful. That’s a distortion…” (Keaten/Yen, 10/13).
Financial Times: Trump Covid adviser Scott Atlas pushes herd immunity
“…Scientists are concerned that Dr. Atlas’s renewed backing of a herd immunity strategy that protects the most vulnerable while allowing the virus to run its course among the rest of the population could undermine efforts to control an incipient ‘winter wave’…” (Stacey, 10/14).
NPR: Americans Are Dying In The Pandemic At Rates Far Higher Than In Other Countries
“During this pandemic, people in the United States are currently dying at rates unparalleled elsewhere in the world. A new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that over the last 5 months per capita deaths in the U.S., both from COVID-19 and other causes have been far greater than in 18 other high-income countries…” (Beaubien, 10/13).
POLITICO: FDA pushes back on Trump administration attempt to rebrand ’emergency authorization’
“The FDA is resisting Trump administration pressure to rebrand the emergency authorization of a Covid-19 vaccine as a ‘pre-licensure,’ over worries that it would appear the agency is politicizing its scientific determinations, according to four senior administration officials with knowledge of the debate…” (Cancryn, 10/13).
POLITICO: Bill Gates: ‘U.S. still has time to do a far, far better job’ on coronavirus
“Bill Gates called out the federal government on Tuesday for inadequacies in coronavirus testing and sending out what he called ‘bad messages’ on best practices, such as wearing masks…” (Hooper, 10/13).
PRI: Fauci shuns Trump’s politicization of COVID-19 science to focus on ‘public health message’
“America’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says right now the globe isn’t doing as well as he’d hoped in fighting the pandemic. Like many other experts and laypeople alike, he worries about the politicization of public health…” (Hackel, 10/13).
STAT: Fauci: Trump’s rapid recovery from Covid-19, while welcome, ‘amplifies’ public misunderstanding of disease
“…President Trump’s rapid recovery from the disease, while welcome by all, makes the challenge even more difficult, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases acknowledged. Trump’s quick bounce-back from his infection will likely underscore the mistaken belief some people have that the disease does not present significant health risks, Fauci said in an interview with STAT…” (Branswell, 10/13).
Washington Post: Coronavirus cases are rising in U.S., sparking worries the next big wave has begun
“…For almost a month, new U.S. cases have been trending upward. Since Saturday, more than 20 states have hit a new high in their seven-day average of case counts, and more than half of those states set records again on Tuesday, according to data tracked by The Washington Post…” (Wan/Dupree, 10/13).
Washington Post: Proposal to hasten herd immunity to the coronavirus grabs White House attention but appalls top scientists
“Maverick scientists who call for allowing the coronavirus to spread freely at ‘natural’ rates among healthy young people while keeping most aspects of the economy up and running have found an audience inside the White House and at least one state capitol…” (Achenbach, 10/13).
- Eli Lilly Pauses Clinical Trial Of COVID-19 Antibody Treatment Over 'Potential Safety Concern'
New York Times: Eli Lilly’s Antibody Trial Is Paused Over Potential Safety Concern
“A government-sponsored clinical trial that is testing an antibody treatment for Covid-19 developed by the drugmaker Eli Lilly has been paused because of a ‘potential safety concern,’ according to emails that government officials sent on Tuesday to researchers at testing sites. The company confirmed the pause…” (Wu/Thomas, 10/13).
Additional coverage of the trial’s pause is available from The Hill, POLITICO, STAT, and Wall Street Journal.
- Facebook Bans Anti-Vaccination Ads, Does Not Address Pages, Groups With Vaccine Misinformation
STAT: Facebook rolls out a new vaccine misinformation policy — but leaves out pages where falsehoods thrive
“Facebook rolled out a new policy on Tuesday aimed at cracking down on vaccine falsehoods, a ballooning problem for the social network as a growing number of users with neutral views about vaccines appear to turn into vocal opponents. The new policy prohibits formal advertisements that discourage people from getting vaccinated, reversing a years long trend in which such ads were widely permitted. The site also said it will amplify factual messages from international public health authorities including the World Health Organization, as well as direct users in the U.S. to locations where they can get a flu shot. … But the policies released this week and updates issued over the summer do not address Facebook’s most virulent sources of health-related falsehoods: pages and groups…” (Brodwin, 10/13).
Additional coverage of Facebook’s new policy is available from CNBC.
- WHO Releases New Global TB Report, Estimates Impact Of COVID-19 Disruptions On TB Efforts
Devex: 1.8M people could die from tuberculosis in 2020: WHO
“Last month, global deaths from the coronavirus pandemic reached over 1 million. Disruptions caused by the pandemic could also lead to more deaths from other diseases, such as tuberculosis. An estimated 1.8 million people could die from tuberculosis in 2020 — numbers last seen in 2012, according to the World Health Organization’s latest global TB report. The numbers were based on WHO’s modeling in which it estimated an additional 200,000 to 400,000 TB deaths in 2020 if the number of people with TB detected and treated falls by 25% to 50% over a three-month period. An estimated 1.4 million people died from TB-related illnesses in 2019…” (Ravelo, 10/14).
A statement on the new report is available from WHO.
- Devex Examines Trump Administration's Bolstering Of Faith-Based Organizations In Global HIV/AIDS Efforts
Devex: What happened with PEPFAR’s faith-based initiative?
“On World AIDS Day in 2018, Vice President Mike Pence announced a new U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief initiative that would provide an additional $100 million to faith-based organizations. It was a flashy announcement that raised concerns over where the funding would come from and whether it would be politics or evidence that determined the initiative’s direction. Nearly two years later, all of the funding has been quietly distributed — but concerns linger about a PEPFAR push for more faith-based funding at the potential expense of other communities…” (Saldinger, 10/14).
- New WSJ Ranking Examines Private Sector's Efforts In Social Responsibility, To Improve Health, Poverty Around World
Wall Street Journal: Pharmaceutical, Biotech and Banking Companies Lead the Way in Social Responsibility
“It might seem counterintuitive that Merck KGaA, a German science and technology company with a market value of about $67 billion, would pay attention to a neglected tropical disease called schistosomiasis that mostly affects poor and rural communities. Similarly, providing financial services to underserved parts of the population might not be the most obvious growth strategy for Bank of Montreal, a Canadian banking and financial-services company with about $740 billion in assets under management as of July 31. Both companies found that serving local communities — and burnishing their reputations as socially responsible businesses — pays off. These efforts helped land Merck and BMO among the top 100 companies in The Wall Street Journal’s new ranking of the world’s most sustainably managed companies…” (Ochoa, 10/13).
- More COVID-19 & Global Health News
AP: Coronavirus lockdown 2.0 deepens divisions in Israel (Federman, 10/14).
BBC News: Covid-19: Protests as Argentina’s cases pass 900,000 (10/13).
Borgen Magazine: Child Labor and COVID-19: A Dangerous Increase (Gardner, 10/13).
The Guardian: ‘Not just a dog bite’: why India is struggling to keep rabies at bay (Dhillon, 10/14).
PRI: Amid pandemic, Venezuelans hit the road again in search of work (Rueda, 10/13).
Reuters: Norway to provide COVID-19 vaccine free of charge to Norwegians (10/13).
U.N. News: FROM THE FIELD: Cultivating a response to disasters in Malawi (10/13).
Editorials and Opinions
- Opinion Pieces Examine Value Of Western Democracies In International Development, Amid COVID-19
Christian Science Monitor: The COVID-19 challenge: Good government
Ned Temko, correspondent and columnist for Christian Science Monitor
“It’s been a formidable, worldwide stress test. And the COVID-19 pandemic is placing particular strain on a model of government long seen as uniquely able to combine individual freedom and economic advancement: Western liberal democracy…” (10/13).
Global Health NOW: When Our Valuation of Democracy Wavers
Dalton Price, D.Phil. candidate in anthropology at the University of Oxford
“…[D]evelopment bureaucrats often coordinate economic activity inside nations and operate with little attention to on-the-ground realities. But there is an important need to make this practice strange and question the foundations of the contemporary international development industry. … The only rational explanation is that our valuation of democracy wavers depending on where it is applied. We claim to value democracy so much, but our actions indicate we only care about our own. Unfortunately, international development has always been an industry of wildly unequal stakeholders. We can no longer continue these practices under the guise of humanitarian action, and as a community, we must unabatedly denounce them every time they appear” (10/6).
- Yemen Needs Urgent International Assistance Amid Conflict, Environmental Concerns, COVID-19, Aid Worker Says
Devex: Opinion: Yemen needs a rescue package — before it’s too late
Ali Alhajori, rapid response coordinator for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Hajjah and Hodeidah, Yemen
“This is a tale of three crises. The first is the man-made war and the second is the floods. The third is COVID-19. For most people in Yemen, the coronavirus is not their main worry. It is catastrophic, yes, but we already live in a catastrophe. … I want to tell the international community, especially those countries on the United Nations Security Council: We need this war to be over. The longer it goes on, the worse our situation becomes. The E.U. Humanitarian Air Bridge for flying in medicines and other urgent goods is a positive step, but what we really need is an agreement to remove the restrictions on our borders, ports, and airports, so enough food and fuel can enter and jobs have a chance to recover. There must be a plan to pay doctors and other public employees their salaries so that Yemen can fight COVID-19. And aid organizations need enough funding to continue our work. … People need this assistance. But we can’t do it alone” (10/12).
- Opinion Piece Discusses Evolution Of Improvements To Child Health Over Past Century
New York Times: In Terms of Child Mortality, It’s a Good Time for Public Health
Perri Klass, pediatrician and author
“…[B]elieve it or not, even in 2020, parents in the United States and in many other countries, and not just the very richest, are among the luckiest parents in history. We can, for the most part, hope and even expect to see our children live to grow up, and we live in a society shaped and colored by that expectation. And for all of the anxieties and terrors of this present moment, as parents, we are actually on the lucky side of a divide that separates us from the parents who came before. … Collectively, as human beings, we changed the game. It took science, medicine, and public health, it took sanitation and engineering and safety legislation, and it took many different kinds of education and parent advocacy. And it took vaccines and antibiotics, those 20th century game-changers. … We have to rededicate ourselves to the struggle against the plagues — medical and social — that continue to strike down children, including infections, malignancies, accidents, and violence. But we have come, already, to a place that would look to the parents of a century ago like a place of privilege and safety, and, yes, good luck. And perhaps if we credit the science and medicine and public health and advocacy and education that brought us — and our children — to this place, we can believe in our collective ability to take on the complexities of this new pandemic and to take ourselves and our children to a new safety” (10/12).
- To Avoid Premature Maternal, Child Deaths In Latin America, Caribbean, RMNCH Services Must Be Strengthened, Expert Writes
The Lancet: Maternal and child mortality worsens in Latin America and the Caribbean
Arachu Castro, Samuel Z. Stone endowed chair of public health in Latin America and director of the Collaborative Group for Health Equity in Latin America (CHELA) at the Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine
“The response to the COVID-19 pandemic in most Latin American and Caribbean countries has led to the suspension or limitation of reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health (RMNCH) services that need restoration as soon as possible to avoid premature deaths. The UNDP-UNICEF commissioned report, Challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the health of women, children, and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean, finds that the ongoing reduction in coverage is reversing achievements made in the past two decades on maternal and child mortality. … These data more than justify the need to strengthen RMNCH services instead of suspending or limiting them, by: (1) increasing public spending on health and social policies to control the pandemic and to favor social and economic reactivation and reconstruction; (2) restoring and rebuilding essential health services; and (3) strengthening the primary health care strategy” (10/13).
From the Global Health Policy Community
- IMF Must Not Backtrack On COVID-19 Response, Boston University Professor Says
Brooking Institution’s “Future Development”: Why the IMF needs to build on its COVID-19 record, not backtrack
Kevin P. Gallagher, professor of global development policy at Boston University and member of the U.N. Committee on Development Policy, discusses the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) response to the COVID-19 pandemic, writing, “[T]he research shows the IMF is falling far short in encouraging countries to mount a green recovery. And now, new rhetoric from IMF officials suggests a return to austerity may be around the corner. … As the coronavirus continues to sweep through emerging market and developing countries, governments need more fiscal space, not less. That fiscal space could come in the form of new IMF resources and debt relief, and member countries must be encouraged to use that fiscal space to mount stimulus packages that promote a healthy, green, and inclusive recovery” (10/13).
- COVID-19 Causing Global Disruptions In Routine HIV Testing Services, Data Show
UNAIDS: COVID-19 impacting HIV testing in most countries
“Monthly data routinely reported to UNAIDS on disruptions to HIV testing and treatment services have found significant decreases in HIV testing services in nearly all countries with available data. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNAIDS, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Children’s Fund have collected data from countries through an online platform to identify national, regional, and global disruptions of routine HIV services caused by COVID-19…” (10/13).
- Global Partnership For Education Helping Backstop Impacts Of COVID-19 Pandemic On Education, Blog Post Notes
ONE Blog: $5 billion for the Global Partnership for Education will help secure our future
Natasha Somji, policy manager for education at the ONE Campaign, discusses the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on education, and how the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), “the world’s only education partnership and fund dedicated exclusively to ensuring quality education in lower-income countries,” is helping to fill the education financing gap (10/13).
- The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health Releases 2-Part Series On Malaria In Early Life
The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health: Malaria in early life
“Malaria infections are harmful to both the pregnant mother and the developing fetus. Malaria is associated with a 3-4 times increased risk of miscarriage and a substantially increased risk of stillbirth, and it disproportionately affects children younger than 5 years. Falciparum malaria is responsible for more than 200,000 child deaths per year in Africa and vivax malaria causes excess mortality in children in Asia and Oceania. In a duet of papers, we review the deleterious effects of malaria in pregnancy on the developing fetus (paper 1) and the current strategies for prevention and treatment of malaria in children (paper 2)…” (10/13).
- KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic
KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of October 14, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (10/14).
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.