KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

World Health Summit Begins As WHO DG Warns Northern Hemisphere Nations On 'Dangerous Track' In Pandemic

Al Jazeera: WHO: Countries on ‘dangerous track’ in COVID-19 pandemic
“The northern hemisphere is facing a crucial moment in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said, with too many countries witnessing an exponential increase in coronavirus cases. The stark warning on Friday came as the number of coronavirus cases more than doubled in 10 days across Europe, with several southern European countries reporting their highest daily case numbers this week. … ‘We are at a critical juncture in the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere,’ WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference. ‘The next few months are going to be very tough and some countries are on a dangerous track’…” (10/23).

Devex: World Health Summit kicks off amid pandemic
“…The 2020 edition of the gathering — which began virtually on Sunday after plans for a hybrid online and in-person event were scrapped last minute — aims to build an international consensus on a way through the COVID-19 pandemic, while taking stock of the damage the coronavirus has done to global health initiatives, and underscoring the importance of restoring these efforts. … This year’s summit is built around several themes, including the connection between climate change and health, but the overriding goal is achieving, or restoring, the consensus around global health priorities that has been strained by the pandemic…” (10/26).

U.N. News: Science, unity and solidarity, key to defeating COVID: U.N. chief
“Better preparation, listening to the science, and acting together in solidarity are some of the main ways that countries across the world can overcome the on-going COVID-19 crisis, the U.N. chief told the World Health Summit on Sunday. … Protecting the vulnerable is key, and staying away from events that simply spread the virus. Governments need to work with communities everywhere to share reliable information and build trust…” (10/25).

Additional coverage of U.N. leaders’ comments on the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to mitigate its impacts is available from CIDRAP News, The Telegraph, U.N. News (2), and Washington Post.

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Fewer Than 4% Of Wuhan Residents Have Coronavirus Antibodies; European Nations Reimpose Lockdowns; WHO Provides $2M To Iraq For COVID-19; U.S. Breaks Single Day Case Count Record


CNBC: Africa could be about to see its first post-Covid default after Zambia skips interest payment (Smith, 10/26).


AP: India’s festive season spawns fears of renewed virus surge (Saaliq, 10/25).

UPI: Fewer than 4% of people in Wuhan have COVID-19 antibodies, study finds (Dunleavy, 10/23).


Washington Post: Italy imposes harshest coronavirus restrictions since spring lockdown as second wave sweeps Europe (Mellen, 10/25).

Washington Post: Covid-19 surge in Belgium leads to shortage of doctors, teachers and police (Ariès/Birnbaum, 10/24).

Washington Post: In Russia, sick people often treat themselves. That’s not helping in the coronavirus fight (Dixon, 10/24).


AP: In hard-hit Peru, worry mounts over both COVID-19 and dengue (Abd, 10/23).


AP: Wary of angering public, Iran has few ways to contain virus (Debre, 10/26).

Xinhua News: WHO says to provide 2 mln USD for Iraq to cope with COVID-19 (10/24).


AP: U.N. assembly chief unhappy at N.Y. mayor spurning COVID meeting (Lederer, 10/23).

Newsweek: Biden Warned One Year Ago, Before COVID, U.S. ‘Not Prepared for a Pandemic’ (Fearnow, 10/25).

STAT: Universal mask use could save 130,000 U.S. lives by the end of February, new study estimates (Boodman, 10/23).

USA TODAY: U.S. tops one-day record with 83,757 COVID-19 cases, exceeding previous summer high (Rodriguez, 10/24).

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News Outlets Report On Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Treatment, Vaccine R&D

AP: Vaccine storage issues could leave 3B people without access (Hinnant/Mednick, 10/25).

AP: Brazil approves import of Chinese shot that Bolsonaro nixed (Sciaudone, 10/23).

Bloomberg: Venezuela’s Maduro Presents ‘Molecule’ That Inhibits Covid-19 (Zerpa, 10/25).

Bloomberg: Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca Trials to Resume, Rejoining Vaccine Race (Griffin et al., 10/24).

DW: Coronavirus: Germany warns against ‘vaccine nationalism’ (Connor, 10/25).

Financial Times: Oxford Covid vaccine trials offer hope for elderly (Neville et al., 10/26).

Financial Times: AstraZeneca and J&J get go-ahead to resume Covid-19 vaccine trials (Kuchler/Stacey, 10/23).

The Guardian: Rush for results could lead to inferior Covid vaccine, say scientists (McKie, 10/25).

New York Times: The Trump Administration Shut a Vaccine Safety Office Last Year. What’s the Plan Now? (Zimmer, 10/23).

Reuters: As it hits 1 million coronavirus cases, Colombia prepares for vaccine (Cobb, 10/24).

Reuters: WHO says it will have advice on Remdesivir in 3-4 weeks (10/23).

Reuters: WHO: Nations mulling Gilead’s COVID drug should consider trial flop, too (Nebehay/Miller, 10/23).

Reuters: Mexico will not follow FDA in approving Gilead’s COVID-19 drug (Angulo/Solomon, 10/23).

STAT: FDA shows signs of cold feet over emergency authorization of Covid-19 vaccines (Branswell, 10/23).

STAT: Why the approval of remdesivir to treat Covid-19 obscures bigger scientific failures (Herper/Feuerstein, 10/23).

Wall Street Journal: To Find a Coronavirus Vaccine, GlaxoSmithKline Is Bonding With Its Biggest Competitors (Walker, 10/24).

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8 Countries Account For 66% Of World's TB Cases, WHO Report Shows

Washington Post: Tuberculosis is a major worldwide threat and the pandemic could make it worse, WHO says
“…In a new report, WHO provides a global update on the state of TB and the fight against the disease, which is both preventable and curable. The report paints a dire picture of a disease that remains a public health crisis. Just eight countries — India, Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and South Africa — account for two-thirds of the world’s TB cases. And because many carriers of the disease are not yet ill, it can go untreated until it’s too late…” (Blakemore, 10/24).

Thomson Reuters Foundation examines the threat of TB among African miners, as COVID-19 pandemic interrupts treatment access.

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

Borgen Magazine: Exploring the Protecting Human Rights During Pandemic Act (Kamis, 10/26).

Borgen Magazine: Boost: Tackling the HIV Epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa (Dan, 10/23).

Devex: Exclusive: Inside the battle over a U.N. report on water privatization (Root, 10/26).

Devex: Q&A: U.N. Women deputy director on the cost of not prioritizing women during COVID-19 (Lieberman, 10/26).

Devex: Watch: Steve Davis on rethinking global health (Kumar, 10/26).

Devex: Q&A: How to tackle HIV stigma within health care settings (10/26).

Devex: Safeguarding mental health in disaster response (Donback, 10/23).

IPS: Q&A: Why are Stillbirths still Societal Taboo? (Sadeque, 10/26).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Can the United Nations protect human rights in the age of COVID-19? (Johnson, 10/23).

VOA News: A Pakistani Woman Sets Out to Eradicate Polio (Dar, 10/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Piece Discusses Role Of Scientific Journal Editors Amid Politicization Of Pandemic

STAT: Science journal editors shouldn’t contribute to politicizing science
Genevieve Kanter, assistant professor of medicine and medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

“When the editors of some of the world’s leading science journals agree on something, it is generally safe to assume that they are correct. So when prominent journals like Science, Nature, and the New England Journal of Medicine recently published editorials excoriating President Trump’s deadly bungling of the pandemic response and suppression of scientific activity, the editors accurately spotlighted the troubling deficiencies of the current administration. But in advocating against or endorsing a presidential candidate, these editors made a grave error. In taking this extraordinary step, they made themselves vulnerable to charges of bias, overstepped their roles as science editors, and succumbed to the politicization of science that they and many other scientists find so alarming. … But the editors could have expressed these values without putting out political yard signs. … In other words, they could have honored the scientific integrity and discernment of their readers and the public. With the scientific challenges of Covid-19, these editors are correct that this election is a crucial opportunity to reclaim public health and science leadership in this country. This provides all the more reason to cleave tightly to core scientific principles that will outlast politics” (10/23).

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Opinion Pieces Address COVID-19 Vaccine Trust, Women's Role In Pandemic Recovery

The Hill: Trust and transparency are necessary to make COVID-19 vaccine successful
Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), chair of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy

“The world is desperately awaiting a COVID-19 vaccine, but not just any vaccine will do. We must ensure that any vaccine that emerges, particularly through an accelerated process, is proven safe and effective in a transparent and science-driven process. Without such assurance, much of the public may not buy into it. … In the past seven months, we have learned that COVID-19 does not yield an inch to political tactics or media campaigns. It does not follow consumer sentiment polls or approval ratings. The impending election, the stock market, and the yearning for a return to normalcy must not distort the decision on whether to approve a vaccine. Only science and rigorous testing can bring an end to this pandemic — and then only if the public can trust in the result” (10/23).

News24: OPINION | Women are they key to a post-Covid recovery
Roberta Clarke, regional director for Eastern Africa and Southern Africa at U.N. Women, and Chimimba David Phiri, sub-regional coordinator for eastern Africa at FAO and representative to the African Union and UNECA

“The social and economic toll of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is having devastating effects on rural economies across Africa. It is affecting rural women’s productive, reproductive, and income-generating capacities because it tends to reduce their economic opportunities and access to nutritious foods, while at the same time increasing their workloads and escalating gender-based violence. Covid-19 lays bare structural and societal inequalities; and without significant investments and commitment to gender equality and social justice, we expect these to deepen, undermining efforts to achieve the SDGs (sustainable development goals). … On the occasion of the International Rural Women’s Day on 15 October, U.N. Women and FAO reiterate their commitment to working with governments, rural women’s organizations, and the private sector to ensure that women are supported in their roles in sustaining local economies, securing rural households and communities, and improving rural wellbeing” (10/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Report Address Issues Related To COVID-19, Including Global Response, Support For Africa's Health Systems, Vaccine Race

International Rescue Committee: IRC COVID-19 response report — Fall 2020 (10/23).

ODI: 12 leaders’ perspectives on supporting Africa’s health systems through Covid-19
Donald Kabureka, African Union Covid-19 special envoy and chair of the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and colleagues (10/23).

Science Speaks: The 51st Union Conference on Lung Health: Race to secure COVID-19 vaccine doses leaves most countries behind
Rabita Aziz, senior specialist in global health policy for the Infectious Diseases Society of America (10/24).

World Economic Forum: How to scale up the COVID-19 response around the world
Shinjini Kundu, resident physician and medical researcher at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and global shaper with Pittsburgh Hub (10/23).

World Health Organization: Freetown tackles a dual challenge to protect its citizens from COVID-19 amidst food insecurity (10/23).

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USAID Announces $20M In Support For CEPI For Emerging Diseases Vaccine Development

CEPI: USA joins CEPI to support the development of epidemic vaccines
“The U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, [on Friday] announced US$20 million in financial support of CEPI to advance the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases. … The funding — which will be provided by USAID over a five-year period from 2020 and subject to Congressional approval on an annual basis — will be used to support CEPI’s vital vaccine development programs against its current priority diseases: Lassa fever, Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Nipah, Chikungunya, Rift Valley Fever, and Ebola…” (10/23).

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U.N. SG Delivers Video Message For World Health Summit

U.N.: Secretary-General’s video message for the World Health Summit
This transcript provides U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres’s remarks from a video message delivered on October 25 for the World Health Summit (10/25).

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U.N. Agencies, Rotary Release Statements Marking World Polio Day

PAHO: For World Polio Day, PAHO encourages countries to maintain polio vaccination to prevent outbreaks (10/23).

Rotary: Major achievement focus of Rotary’s World Polio Day event (Hyland, 10/24).

WHO: How polio personnel are pivoting against COVID-19 (10/23).

WHO South-East Asia: Polio networks bolster pandemic response in WHO South-East Asia Region (10/23).

WHO Ethiopia: WHO, UNICEF and ROTARY reaffirm their commitment to sustain Africa’s polio-free status by ensuring Ethiopia stays polio-free (10/23).

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Investing In, Involving Civil Society Important For Better Health Outcomes, Experts Say

BMJ Opinion: Investing in civil society for better democracy and better health
Roopa Dhatt, co-founder and executive director of Women in Global Health, and colleagues discuss the role of civil society in health, writing, “The covid-19 pandemic and recent examples of racial injustice around the world make the voices of individuals, families, and communities most affected or at risk for poor outcomes all the more valuable. Investing in strong, independent civil society is the smart thing to do and the right thing to do for better democracy and better health…” (10/23).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC Highlights Efforts To Eradicate Polio, Recognizes World Polio Day

CDC: World Polio Day 2020
“World Polio Day (October 24) provides an opportunity to highlight global efforts toward a polio-free world and honor the tireless contributions of those on the frontlines in the fight to eradicate polio from every corner of the globe. Through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), CDC works with partners to eradicate polio and end the suffering from this devastating disease. Stopping polio in all forms will require us to be resilient, adapt, and innovate to deliver a polio-free world…” (10/24).

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U.S. Announces Additional Humanitarian Aid For Sudan Amid COVID-19, Floods

USAID: United States Announces $81 Million In Humanitarian Assistance To Help The People Of Sudan
“…[T]he United States announced $81 million in humanitarian assistance for the people of Sudan as they confront ongoing severe challenges related to a deteriorating economy, the global pandemic, and the worst floods in more than a century. This new funding brings U.S. humanitarian assistance to the people of Sudan to over $436 million for Fiscal Year 2020, including more than $33 million to support the Sudanese response to COVID-19…” (10/24).

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From KFF

KFF Provides Analysis Of U.S. Global Funding For COVID-19, Other Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of Pandemic

KFF: U.S. Global Funding for COVID-19 by Country and Region
This analysis examines the status of U.S. global COVID-19 country, regional, and worldwide funding to assess how much has been committed to date and where it has been directed (Moss et al., 10/23).

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of October 26, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (10/26).

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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KFF Updates U.S. Global Health Legislation Tracker

KFF: U.S. Global Health Legislation Tracker
KFF updated its U.S. Global Health Legislation Tracker, which provides a listing of global health-related legislation being considered by the 116th Congress. Currently, there are almost 100 pieces of legislation related to global health. They address topics ranging from global health security to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and reproductive health. Sometimes a bill may address broader topics, but this tracker focuses on the global health aspects of the legislation (10/22).

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