KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO DG Urges Countries To 'Get Ahead And Stay Ahead' Of COVID-19, Warns Against Politicization Of Pandemic

U.N. News: Catch-up, ‘get ahead and stay ahead’ of coronavirus, urges U.N. health agency chief
“Global COVID-19 cases spiked to their highest level yet during last week, with many northern hemisphere countries seeing ‘a concerning rise in cases and hospitalizations,’ the U.N. health agency chief said on Monday, urging countries to ‘get ahead and stay ahead’ of the virus. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization (WHO), informed journalists that ‘intensive care units are filling up to capacity in some places, particularly in Europe and North America’…” (10/26).

VOA News: WHO Director-General Warns Against Politicization of COVID-19 Pandemic
“The World Health Organization Monday once again warned nations against ‘the politicization’ of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it has led to confusion and disrespect for science, and made the pandemic worse. … ‘Science continues to tell us the truth about this virus. How to contain it, suppress it and stop it from returning, and how to save lives among those it reaches,’ said the WHO chief. Tedros said countries that have followed the science have suppressed the virus and minimized deaths. But, he said, ‘where there has been political division at the national level; where there has been blatant disrespect for science and health professionals, confusion has spread, and cases and deaths have mounted.’ The director general said, ‘what will save lives is science, solutions, and solidarity'” (10/26).

Additional coverage of the WHO’s most recent COVID-19 assessment, as well as regional pandemic news from Europe and Latin America, is available from CIDRAP News, CNBC, Reuters, STAT, and U.N. News.

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Assistant Health Secretary Says U.S. Can Control COVID-19 As Trump Falsely Tells Supporters Pandemic Is Ending; U.S. Cases Reach Record Levels, Outbreak Among VP Pence's Staff

AP: U.S. health official says pandemic clearly can be controlled
“A day after White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said ‘we’re not going to control the pandemic,’ a top Trump administration health official said Monday that Americans have already proven they can do that through basic safeguards shown to work. ‘I think we can control the pandemic,’ Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir said on a call with reporters…” (Alonso-Zaldivar, 10/26).

POLITICO: As coronavirus cases surge, Trump has another message
“With one week left in the election, President Donald Trump is perfecting his closing argument about the pandemic gripping much of the nation: Don’t worry about it. In rally after rally, tweet after tweet, Trump is encouraging his supporters and everyone else to stop talking about the coronavirus. His key message: It’s not that big of a deal, vaccines are on the way and if people get sick, most of them will survive it just as Trump and his family did. … Trump’s closing argument on Covid-19 comes as Joe Biden and his surrogates pound the president over his early handling of the pandemic, his inconsistent public health messaging, his inaccurate claims about the threat and his pledges of a vaccine arriving far sooner than health officials expect. It’s also coming just as the U.S. hits new daily records of coronavirus cases ahead of the Nov. 3 election…” (Cook, 10/27).

Washington Post: President Trump falsely declares coronavirus is ‘ending’ as virus rates spike and financial markets dip
“…Over the past week, the nation has suffered a 20 percent increase in new diagnosed cases, a 13 percent rise in hospitalizations, and an 11 percent rise in daily deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, with the seven-day average of new cases reaching its highest level ever. The increase has been driven by spread in rural communities and northern states, including Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and parts of Michigan, all of which could play a decisive role in the presidential contest…” (Scherer/Dawsey, 10/26).

Additional coverage of the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing outbreaks among White House staff is available from The Hill, NBC, POLITICO, TIME, and Washington Post (2).

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PRI Examines Potential Impacts Of U.S. Presidential Election Outcome On Global Women's Health

PRI: How the U.S. presidential election could impact women’s health worldwide
“…The U.S. is the largest funder of global health and family planning programs worldwide. Democratic contender Joe Biden is at complete odds with Trump on [the Mexico City policy] and other policies, and so the outcome of the upcoming election could carry big implications for women around the world. … Biden’s campaign has said that if elected, he would use his executive action on his first day in office to withdraw the Mexico City policy…” (Gordon, 10/26).

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News Outlets Report On Various Aspects Of Research Into Novel Coronavirus Vaccines, Therapies

Bloomberg: Covid-Vaccine Developer in India Plans to Boost Capacity by 70% (Kay, 10/26).

CNBC: AstraZeneca says its coronavirus vaccine triggers immune response among adults (Meredith, 10/26).

CNN: CNN interviews chief of institute developing Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine (Pleitgen, 10/26).

Financial Times: Mexico uses human trials as path to secure future Covid-19 vaccines (Webber/Pulice, 10/26).

Financial Times: U.S. experts urge caution on giving Covid vaccine to children (Kuchler, 10/27).

HealthDay News: What Will It Take for People to Embrace a COVID Vaccine? (Murez, 10/26).

Homeland Preparedness News: CEPI reaches manufacturing agreements for COVID-19 vaccines (Kovaleski, 10/23).

Scientific American: A Flu Shot Might Reduce Coronavirus Infections, Early Research Suggests (Moyer, 10/27).

POLITICO: Game-changing coronavirus medicine gears up for production (Martuscelli, 10/23).

Wall Street Journal: Covid-19 Vaccine Makers See Egypt as Crucial Launchpad (Malsin, 10/26).

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Malaria Parasite Persists In Infected Persons' Bloodstreams At Low Levels For Months During Dry Season, Study Shows

New York Times: A Malaria Mystery, Partly Solved: What Happens When the Rains End?
“…[H]ow does [malaria] persist during the long dry seasons, when almost no one falls ill and there are few mosquitoes to carry the tiny malaria parasite from one human host to another? That mystery has long bedeviled scientists. But a new study in Nature Medicine by researchers from Germany and Mali has provided at least a partial answer: The parasite enacts a genetic change that enables it to hide in an infected person’s bloodstream for months, undetected…” (McNeil, 10/26).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

Al Jazeera: Child malnutrition reaches new highs in parts of Yemen: U.N. (10/27).

AP: Poland’s PM defends abortion ruling, condemns protests (10/27).

Borgen Magazine: Humanitarian Organizations Addressing Hunger in Syria (Pangman, 10/26).

Devex: Liberia mental health services ‘overloaded’ after lockdown, MSF says (Smith, 10/27).

Devex: Can funders help bridge the gap between development and health research? (Green, 10/27).

Devex: Harnessing satellite data for pandemic response: Lessons from COVID-19 (Politzer, 10/26).

The Guardian: Sudan government denies Rift Valley fever outbreak despite reports of deaths (Salih, 10/27).

The Guardian: U.K. Covid policy for children in detention ‘cruel and inhumane,’ says U.N. expert (Grant, 10/27).

Reuters: Iran reports COVID-19 death every four minutes, extends curbs (Hafezi, 10/26).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Keeping girls in school seen worth billions to developing nations (Elks, 10/26).

Washington Post: Italy, resisting another coronavirus lockdown, shows peril of piecemeal restrictions (Harlan/Pitrelli, 10/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

Taiwan's Response To COVID-19, International Cooperation Show WHO Needs Its Membership, Health Minister Writes In Opinion Piece

Anadolu Agency: OPINION — Support Taiwan’s inclusion in post-COVID-19 global public health network
Chen Shih-chung, minister of health and welfare of the Republic of China (Taiwan)

“…Thanks to the united efforts of its entire people, Taiwan has responded to the threats posed by this pandemic through four principles: prudent action, rapid response, advance deployment, and openness and transparency. … The global outbreak of COVID-19 has reminded the world that infectious diseases know no borders and do not discriminate along political, ethnic, religious, or cultural lines. Nations should work together to address the threat of emerging diseases. For this reason, once Taiwan had stabilized its containment of coronavirus and ensured that people had sufficient access to medical resources, we began to share our experience and exchange information on containing COVID-19 with global public health professionals and scholars through COVID-19-related forums … The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that Taiwan is an integral part of the global public health network and that the Taiwan Model can help other countries combat the pandemic. To recover better, the WHO needs Taiwan. We urge the WHO and related parties to acknowledge Taiwan’s longstanding contributions to global public health, disease prevention, and the human right to health, and to firmly support Taiwan’s inclusion in the WHO…” (10/26).

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Editorial, Opinion Piece Discuss Trump Administration's Handling Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Call For Better U.S. Leadership

USA TODAY: Trump’s dangerous isolationism weakens USA and strengthens our adversaries: Retired generals
Retired Maj. Gen. Michael R. Lehnert, former commander of Marine Corps Installations West, and Retired Lt. Gen. Richard L. Kelly, former deputy commandant for the Marine Corps Installations and Logistics; both affiliated with National Security Leaders for Biden

“…Our friends and allies, and many Americans, are stunned by the lack of U.S. leadership and cooperation in even taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously much less developing and leading a national strategy. How could the richest nation, with the finest medical and scientific resources at hand, fail so miserably? And why would our national leadership, which served as a world leader for nearly a century, not want to be a world leader in a fight that has killed more than a million people, infected 43 million and shown no sign of retreat? … Americans have an opportunity to change the trajectory of the reckless and perilous path our nation has taken toward isolationism and, in the shorter term, defeat COVID-19. We have a moral obligation to return America to a leadership position in partnership with other nations to get us through the crisis at hand, restore international cooperation and respect, and above all to maintain peace and prosperity” (10/26).

Washington Post: Trump is right: He can’t contain the virus. But a better president could.
Editorial Board

“It did not have to be this way. The United States, endowed with wealth, brains, advanced biomedical researchers, and a robust biotech industry, did not have to end up as the nation with the highest death toll from the coronavirus. Yet last week the country was again shattering U.S. one-day records for new cases — and the White House was responding as it has from the start, in pathetic surrender. … Europe, too, is suffering a second wave of infections. But instead of sitting on their hands, leaders are responding with alacrity. … Until [a vaccine is available], virus hot spots need a rapid response, including temporary shutdowns where necessary to slow transmission. A nationwide mask mandate would help immensely. Shortages in personal protective equipment must be alleviated. Once the raging community spread is reduced, a massive drive to test, trace, and isolate the sick could begin to keep infections at a low level. All of this will require leadership — which is another way of saying it will require a different president” (10/26).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Article, Video Examine COVID-19's Impacts On Health, Economic Inequalities

BMJ: Covid-19: Tackling health inequalities is more urgent than ever, says new alliance
Abi Rimmer, reporter and deputy editor with BMJ (10/26).

BMJ Opinion: A safer world starts with strong primary healthcare
Orin Levine, director of global delivery programs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and colleagues (10/26).

Brookings Institution’s “Future Development”: The impact of COVID-19 on global extreme poverty
Homi Kharas, senior fellow with the Center for Sustainable Development at Brookings (10/21).

Project Syndicate: Econ Films: Can COVID Reduce Global Inequality?
Sir Angus Deaton, 2015 Nobel laureate in economics and professor emeritus of economics and international affairs at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, and colleagues (10/26).

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Blog Posts Address Issues Related To COVID-19, Including Parenting Impacts, Lockdown Evaluations, Health Workforce Supports

Brookings Institution’s “Up Front”: COVID-19 could erase parenting gains of the last 30 years
Rebecca Ryan, provost’s distinguished associate professor with the department of psychology at Georgetown University, and colleagues (10/26).

Center for Global Development: How Should We Evaluate Lockdowns? Disentangling Effectiveness, Context, and Politics
Alex Broadbent, department of philosophy permanent staff and executive dean at the University of Johannesburg, and colleagues (10/26).

Center for Global Development: COVID-19 and BLM: A New Era for Aid? Rethinking Humanitarianism Episode 1
Jeremy Konyndyk, senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, and Heba Aly, director of the New Humanitarian (10/20).

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: 5 Lessons from Top Global Experts on How to Support the Health Workforce
Carol Bales, advocacy and policy communications manager with IntraHealth International, and Elizabeth Walsh, director of communications and knowledge management with HRH2030 (10/26).

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U.N. Officials, BMJ Series Mark 25th Anniversary Of Beijing Platform For Action On Women

BMJ Opinion: Recommitting to women’s health 25 years after the Beijing Platform for Action on Women: what must governments do?
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of U.N. Women; and David Malone, rector of United Nations University and U.N. under-secretary general (10/27).

WHO: Beijing+25: where are we now, and where do we go next? (10/27).

WHO: World Health Summit: Lessons and emerging priorities 25 years after the Beijing Platform for Action for Women (10/27).

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CSIS Releases Latest Essays From 'Reset The Table' Series On Food Security

CSIS: ‘If It Isn’t Safe, It Isn’t Food’: Building Food Safety into Global Food Security Efforts
Caroline Smith DeWaal, deputy director of EatSafe, and Lawrence Haddad, executive director, both with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (10/21).

CSIS: Covid-19, Food Systems, and Wild Animals
Robert Paarlberg, associate with the Sustainability Science Program at the Harvard Kennedy School (10/21).

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From the U.S. Government

CRS Report Examines U.S. Withdrawal From WHO

Congressional Research Service: U.S. Withdrawal from the World Health Organization: Process and Implications
This CRS report examines the U.S. government’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization, including the process, implications, and issues at stake should rejoining be considered (Salaam-Blyther et al., 10/21).

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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 27, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (10/27).

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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