KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Media Outlets Examine Trump Administration's COVID-19 Response, Plans From Biden, Democrats To Address Pandemic

New York Times: Biden’s Covid Response Plan Draws From F.D.R.’s New Deal
“Joseph R. Biden Jr. is preparing for the biggest challenge he would face if elected president — ending the coronavirus pandemic — by reaching back nearly a century to draw on the ideas of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose big-government policies lifted the country out of the Great Depression and changed the shape of America…” (Goodnough/Stolberg, 10/14).

New York Times: Trump Overstates WHO Position on Lockdowns
“This week, President Trump exaggerated a position taken by the World Health Organization, saying that the agency had vindicated his derision of lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic…” (Wu, 10/15).

Washington Post: Democrats decry Trump’s coronavirus response and lay out plan for international cooperation
“A group of 100 House Democrats on Wednesday criticized the Trump administration’s unilateral approach to the coronavirus pandemic and offered a plan for working with other countries to control the crisis and ensure that vaccines can be shared widely and quickly…” (Hudson, 10/14).

Additional coverage of the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response is available from Science.

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European Nations Face Resurgence In COVID-19 Cases, Some Implement Strict Mitigation Measures

AP: Europe reels as it sets virus records, slaps on new rules
“Fears rose Thursday that Europe is running out of chances to control its fall coronavirus outbreak, as infections hit record daily highs in Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Poland. France slapped a 9 p.m. curfew on many of its biggest cities and Londoners faced new travel restrictions as governments imposed increasingly tough measures…” (Moulson, 10/15).

AP: U.N. calls Europe’s virus restrictions ‘absolutely necessary’
“The head of the World Health Organization’s Europe office said the exponential surge of coronavirus cases across the continent has warranted the restrictive measures being taken across the continent, calling them ‘absolutely necessary’ to stop the pandemic. In a press briefing on Thursday, Dr. Hans Kluge warned that even more drastic steps might be needed in such ‘unprecedented times’…” (Cheng, 10/15).

New York Times: Europe, Which Thought It Had the Virus Tamed, Faces a Resurgence
“From France to Russia, from Britain to the Czech Republic, European leaders are confronting a surge in coronavirus cases that is rapidly filling hospital beds, driving up death tolls, and raising the grim prospect of further lockdowns in countries already traumatized by the pandemic…” (Landler, 10/14).

NPR: European Coronavirus Infections Now Exceed U.S. Cases
“Sharp increases in COVID-19 cases in many countries in Europe have left governments trying to limit the spread of infection while avoiding further damage to their economies…” (Nicholson, 10/15).

AP: London faces new restrictions as city sees higher virus risk (Kirka/Pylas, 10/15).

AP: Some European officials use virus as a cover to target Roma (Cheng/Barzakova, 10/15).

AP: French police search homes of top officials in virus probe (Hinnant, 10/15).

AP: Germany agrees to tighten virus rules as infections rise (Moulson, 10/14).

AP: As virus surges anew, Milan hospitals under pressure again (Barry, 10/14).

NPR: Paris Under Curfew: Europe Reacts As Countries See Highest-Ever Coronavirus Numbers (Chappell, 10/14).

Washington Post: Macron announces Paris curfew as coronavirus infections rise in France (McAuley, 10/14).

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New Humanitarian Examines Warnings Of COVID-19-Related Famine In Africa; WHO Warns Of Extra Child Deaths This Year Due To Pandemic-Related Malnutrition

New Humanitarian: Are warnings of a COVID-19 famine in Africa overblown?
“Alarm bells have been ringing for months that COVID-19 could push fragile African countries ‘closer to the abyss’ of famine as jobs are lost, local markets close, and poverty deepens. … But as an increasing number of African countries ease their punishing lockdowns, ending restrictions on internal travel, relaxing curfews, and reopening schools, do these dire warnings still hold true? … [P]rojections in April that a famine of ‘biblical proportions’ is on its way thanks to COVID-19 may be overblown, according to aid workers and anecdotal evidence gathered by TNH reporting…” (Anyadike, 10/14).

Reuters: Thousands more underfed children may die due to COVID
“An extra 10,000 children per month may die this year from malnutrition due to the COVID-19 crisis, the head of the World Health Organization warned on Wednesday. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a U.N Food and Agriculture (FAO) conference that due to the pandemic he expected a 14% rise in cases of severe child malnutrition this year — or 6.7 million more people — mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia…” (Angel, 10/14).

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New Study Shows Some Countries With Robust COVID-19 Responses Avoided Large Numbers Of Additional Deaths

AP: Study: Health systems, govt responses linked to virus tolls
“Scientists say a comparison of 21 developed countries during the start of the coronavirus pandemic shows that those with early lockdowns and well-prepared national health systems avoided large numbers of additional deaths due to the outbreak. In a study published Wednesday by the journal Nature Medicine, researchers used the number of weekly deaths in 19 European countries, New Zealand and Australia over the past decade to estimate how many people would have died from mid-February to May 2020 had the pandemic not happened. … The study found there were about 206,000 excess deaths across the 21 countries during the period, a figure that conforms to independent estimates. In Spain, the number of deaths was 38% higher than would have been expected without the pandemic, while in England and Wales it was 37% higher…” (Jordans, 10/14).

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Media Outlets Cover Range Of Issues Related To Coronavirus Vaccine Development, Distribution Plans

AP: Extra safety scrutiny planned as virus vaccine worries grow (Neergaard et al., 10/14).

AP: Russia approves 2nd virus vaccine after early trials (Litvinova, 10/14).

BBC: Coronavirus: YouTube bans misleading Covid-19 vaccine videos (Criddle, 10/14).

CNBC: Healthy young people might not be able to get the coronavirus vaccine until 2022, WHO says (Feurer, 10/14).

The Guardian: Nobel laureates call on U.K. to back infecting volunteers with Covid for vaccine trials (Grover, 10/14).

The Hill: Pfizer gets approval to enroll children older than 12 in coronavirus vaccine trial (Castronuovo, 10/14).

New York Times: 3 Covid-19 Trials Have Been Paused for Safety. That’s a Good Thing (Zimmer, 10/14).

NPR: Putin Announces Approval Of A Second Unproven Coronavirus Vaccine (Neuman, 10/14).

Science: Early approval of a COVID-19 vaccine could stymie the hunt for better ones (Cohen, 10/14).

Wall Street Journal: China Drugmaker Gives Unproven Covid-19 Vaccine to Students Going Abroad (Deng, 10/14).

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3B People Lack Handwashing Facilities; Experts Urge More Investment In WASH Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Mark Global Handwashing Day

Devex: Experts call for more investment and action on Global Handwashing Day
“Global Handwashing Day has long been a calendar fixture, but experts say this year may mark the first time it has been given due attention, which should be used to build on the momentum created by COVID-19. Leaders and the development community should seize on the high-level political interest in the preventive role of water, sanitation, and hygiene to help reach Sustainable Development Goal 3, which includes hand hygiene, said Juste Hermann Nansi, Burkina Faso country director at the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. … Taking place each year on Oct. 15, Global Handwashing Day is used to encourage people to improve their hand-washing habits. Poor sanitation and hygiene can lead to diarrheal diseases, respiratory infections, and cholera, as well as neglected tropical diseases such as trachoma, schistosomiasis, and leprosy…” (Root, 10/15).

U.N. News: Three billion people globally lack handwashing facilities at home: UNICEF
“According to new estimates from UNICEF, 40 percent of the world’s population — or 3 billion people — do not have a handwashing facility with water and soap at home. The number is much higher in least developed countries, where nearly three-quarters go without…” (10/15).

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More Action Needed To Sustain TB Progress, COVID-19 Disruptions Impacting Disease Efforts, WHO Report Says

Reuters: Pandemic Puts Global Progress Against Tuberculosis at Risk: WHO
“The COVID-19 pandemic is derailing global efforts to tackle tuberculosis (TB), the world’s deadliest infectious disease, with cases likely to rise without urgent action and investment, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. The WHO’s annual TB report found that tuberculosis killed some 1.4 million people in 2019, little changed from the 1.5 million deaths it caused in 2018. It warned that many countries are not on track to meet targets for successfully diagnosing and treating cases to try to stop the disease’s spread. Disruptions in services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to major setbacks to TB programs, the report found. In many countries, human, financial and other resources have been reallocated from TB to the COVID-19 response…” (Kelland, 10/14).

Additional coverage of the WHO’s TB report is available from CIDRAP News, U.N. News, and Xinhua.

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U.S. FDA Approves First Ebola Treatment

AP: U.S. regulators approve 1st treatment for Ebola virus
“U.S. regulators Wednesday approved the first drug for the treatment of Ebola. The Food and Drug Administration OK’d the drug developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals for treating adults and children with the Zaire Ebola virus strain, the most deadly of six known types. It typically kills 60% to 90% of patients. The drug was one of four tested during an outbreak in Congo that killed nearly 2,300 people before it ended in June. Survival was significantly better in study participants given Regeneron’s Inmazeb or a second experimental drug. The study was ended ahead of schedule last year so all patients could get access to those drugs…” (Johnson, 10/15).

Additional coverage of the Ebola treatment’s approval is available from The Hill and STAT.

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

AP: ‘It was so abrupt’: COVID-19 upends burial rites in Cameroon (Fonyuy, 10/14).

AP: Iran virus death toll hits record high, 3rd time in a week (Vahdat et al., 10/14).

CNBC: Bill Gates slams U.S. on Covid: Most governments listen to their scientists, not attack them (Belvedere, 10/14).

CNBC: WHO warns Canada is facing a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus cases (Higgins-Dunn, 10/14).

Devex: Surging violence in Burkina Faso threatens women’s access to health care (Mednick, 10/14).

Devex: Q&A: Kevin Rudd on creating ‘financial cocktails’ for WASH (Root, 10/14).

Devex: ‘Intense’ G20 negotiations fall short on debt support expectations (Saldinger, 10/15).

Devex: Put democracy at heart of U.K. overseas work, public body urges (Worley, 10/15).

Foreign Policy: Isolated in Rural Nigeria — and Waiting for America to Vote (Lawal/Jones, 10/14).

The Hill: Russia records more than 14K new coronavirus cases, setting single-day record (Bowden, 10/14).

New Humanitarian: Drought Diaries: The COVID-19 edition (Anyadike, 10/14).

New York Times: For Indian Women Working as Cooks and Nannies, No #MeToo Moment (Schmall/Kumar, 10/14).

New York Times: Coronavirus Vaccine Makers Are Not Mass-Slaughtering Sharks (Wu, 10/13).

Science: ‘A fraud on the nation:’ Critics blast Indian government’s promotion of traditional medicine for COVID-19 (Pulla, 10/15).

Washington Post: Nearly 700 coronavirus-positive women gave birth at a single hospital. Here’s what it learned (Shelar/Slater, 10/15).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Address Topics Related To COVID-19, Including Importance Of Science, Scientific Process; Role Of Development Aid In Recovery Efforts

The Lancet: Scientific consensus on the COVID-19 pandemic: we need to act now
Nisreen A. Alwan, associate professor in public health for medicine at the University of Southampton, and colleagues (10/15).

Project Syndicate: The Recovery Needs Development Aid
Kevin Rudd, member of the International Monetary Fund’s External Advisory Group, chair of the U.N.’s Global Partnership on Sanitation and Water for All, and president of the Asia Society Policy Institute (10/14).

STAT: Covid-19 clinical trial pauses ‘show the system is working’
Adrian Hernandez, cardiologist and director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute (10/14).

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Investing In Mental Health Critical To Sustaining Economic Growth, COVID-19 Response, Opinion Piece Says

Devex: Opinion: The critical need for finance to unlock better mental health
James Sale, health financing and governance advocate and policy, advocacy, and financing manager at United for Global Mental Health, and colleagues

“…The enormous human cost of mental health ought to itself galvanize government investment. But the unique economic costs — and potential benefit of investment — combined with the need to address the impact of COVID-19 on society, only strengthen the case for financing mental health. … To end the COVID-19 pandemic quickly and build systems more resilient to future public health emergencies, mental health needs to be placed at the center of national and global COVID-19 response plans and be properly funded … Regardless of a pandemic, mental health and economic performance are interlinked. … The current low levels of mental health resources and the potentially enormous positive impacts make mental health ripe for catalytic investment. To ensure sustainability and allow for a cross-governmental approach, this funding should come from domestic financing and, where needed, international donors such as the World Bank. … Scale-up and integration of mental health across government systems is urgently needed to accelerate economic growth. In addressing COVID-19, investment in mental health — and health in general — will be critical to return economies to sustainable growth” (10/15).

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Africa's Youth Must Continue To Advance Progress Against Malaria, Says Opinion Piece

Global Health NOW: It’s Time for African Youth to Advance the Fight against Malaria
Winter Okoth, founder of the Pamoja Kenya Mentorship Alliance Organization and Nothing but Nets malaria champion

“Growing up in a rural area near Kisumu, Kenya, I never realized that malaria, one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases, was entirely preventable and treatable. It is a threat that my elders have never lived without — but my generation can end it. Malaria affects the young more than the old, with pregnant women and children at greatest risk. So, it’s now our turn to turn the tide against this deadly disease; we can no longer rely on our elders. They have taken us far, with continued investment saving 7 million lives and preventing more than 1 billion malaria cases over the past 20 years. But with progress fragile and reversible and COVID-19 threatening to disrupt essential malaria services, we must keep up the fight to ensure these gains are not lost. … I invite my peers to consider what skills they can offer — perhaps as a health care worker, or by educating your community about the importance of using a mosquito net. No matter your age or your experience, you have the power to make a difference — and we can be the generation to end malaria once and for all. I have a dream that one day the whole world will be free of malaria — one village, one country, one region at a time” (10/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Experts Discuss 4 Ways World Bank Can Support Global COVID-19 Efforts

Center for Global Development: Making the $12 Billion Go Further: Four Things the World Bank Can Do in Support of COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts
Following the announcement of the World Bank’s approval of $12 billion for the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments, Kalipso Chalkidou, director of global health policy and senior fellow at CGD, and colleagues discuss four actions the World Bank can take to support global COVID-19 vaccination efforts, writing, “The World Bank can be a force for good, forcing governance reforms whilst also boosting COVAX’s vaccine portfolio and enhancing its chances of success” (10/14).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Announces New Partnership To Expand Access To Sanitation Globally

USAID: Remarks for Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick at the Global Handwashing Day Virtual Event
During a Global Handwashing Day virtual event, USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick discussed USAID efforts to expand access to water, sanitation, and hygiene, including a new partnership between USAID and LIXIL to expand access to sanitation (10/14).

USAID: USAID and LIXIL Announce New Global Partnership to Expand Access to Sanitation
“…The partnership agreement builds on previous collaboration between LIXIL and USAID and will scale LIXIL’s SATO latrine and toilet products in up to 11 countries across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia to combat the global sanitation crisis. … Future collaboration also will aim to strengthen sanitation supply-chains and markets, and create business opportunities for women entrepreneurs as well as small and medium-sized enterprises in emerging economies…” (10/14).

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From KFF

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

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of October 15, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (10/15).

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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