KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. Agency Heads Call For 'Open Science' In COVID-19 Response, Beyond; WHO Announces Record 2.8M New Cases Over Past Week

U.N. News: U.N. agency chiefs appeal for ‘open science’ beyond COVID-19, citing dangers of secrecy and denial
“The heads of three U.N. agencies joined forces on Tuesday to appeal for a global push towards ‘open science,’ citing the value of cooperation in the response to COVID-19 and the dangers of treating evidence-based knowledge as an exclusive asset, or simple matter of opinion. Audrey Azoulay, the director general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Michelle Bachelet, U.N. human rights chief (OHCHR), said it was time to ensure the benefits of science could be shared by all…” (10/27).

VOA News: WHO Reports Record 3 Million New COVID-19 Cases Over Recent Seven-Day Period
“The World Health Organization says a record 2.8 million new COVID-19 cases have been reported globally over the past seven days ending Tuesday, including 40,000 new deaths. The U.N. health agency says Europe accounts for the greatest proportion of reported new cases for the second consecutive week with more than 1.3 million, an increase of 33% compared to the previous week. The region accounted for nearly half of the new COVID-19 cases during the seven-day period…” (10/28).

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At World Health Summit, Global South Representatives Assess COVID-19-Related Setbacks, Welcome Advice, Technical Expertise But Not Orders From Richer Nations

Devex: At the World Health Summit, global south representatives had a message for donors
“Representatives from the global south used this year’s World Health Summit to send a message to their counterparts in richer countries: They have a vision for how to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, and while they welcome advice and technical expertise, they are not interested in being told what to do. The summit, one of the first major global health gatherings since the pandemic began, offered an opportunity for a stock-taking of just how severely the crisis has undermined global health goals. Officials detailed the setbacks they have sustained…” (Green, 10/28).

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White House Science Office Credits Trump With 'Ending' COVID-19 Pandemic Despite Rise In U.S. Infections

The Hill: White House science office says Trump ended COVID-19 pandemic as U.S. hits record cases
“The White House science office listed ‘ending the COVID-19 pandemic’ as the top accomplishment of President Trump’s first term, even as the U.S. has set records for new daily infections and numerous hospitals across the country are stretched to their breaking points. According to a press release intending to highlight the administration’s science accomplishments, the Trump administration said it ‘has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease’…” (Weixel, 10/27).

POLITICO: White House science office takes credit for ‘ending’ pandemic as infections mount
“…It’s the latest inaccurate claim from the administration on the severity of the pandemic, which Trump has downplayed throughout his reelection campaign, and as Vice President Mike Pence’s office is dealing with an outbreak. Trump, who insists the country is ’rounding the turn’ on the coronavirus, continues to hold packed campaign rallies and attacks the news media for focusing on surging infections. Despite the White House’s optimistic rhetoric, health officials warn that things could get worse as winter approaches and people are forced to spend more time indoors…” (Ehley, 10/27).

Additional coverage of the White House claim is available from Forbes and USA TODAY.

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In 3-Part Documentary, Washington Post Examines U.S. Response To COVID-19 Pandemic, American History Of Disease Outbreak Preparedness

Washington Post: America’s pandemic
“In a three-part documentary, the Washington Post explores a failed response to the coronavirus pandemic that’s left 225,000 Americans dead, despite decades of preparation in Washington…” (Shefte/Ribas, 10/27).

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Sanofi, GSK To Provide Potential COVID-19 Vaccine To COVAX; Vaccine Nationalism Poses Challenges; Russia Applies For WHO Emergency Use Of Its Sputnik V Vaccine

AP: Sanofi, GSK to provide COVID-19 vaccine to global alliance
“Drugmakers Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline have agreed to provide 200 million doses of their potential COVID-19 vaccine to the COVAX Facility, a collaboration designed to give countries around the world equal access to coronavirus vaccines…” (10/28).

Bloomberg: Sanofi, Glaxo to Supply 200 Million Covid Vaccine Doses to Covax
“…The drugmakers signed the supply arrangement with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, according to a statement. Gavi is among the groups working with the World Health Organization to ensure access to immunization for people around the world…” (Lauerman/Loh, 10/28).

POLITICO: The next vaccine challenge: Nationalism
“As scientists edge closer to a vaccine for Covid-19, a more vexing exercise may be ahead: overcoming the mounting forces of nationalism to get all those doses around the world…” (Savage, 10/28).

Reuters: Russia applies for WHO emergency use tag for its COVID-19 vaccine
“The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has submitted applications to the World Health Organization for an Emergency Use Listing and prequalification of its coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund said on Tuesday…” (Chander, 10/27).

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Pfizer CEO Urges Patience In COVID-19 Vaccine Development, Announces Trial Goals Taking Longer To Reach

Financial Times: Pfizer urges patience in ‘last mile’ of Covid-19 vaccine process
“Pfizer’s chief executive has urged patience in the ‘last mile’ of Covid-19 vaccine development, after the timeline for an early look at whether a late-stage trial shows its vaccine works was poised to slip into November. Albert Bourla said on Tuesday that he was still ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the vaccine, which could be the first submitted for U.S. emergency approval. … But the trial — which has enrolled over 42,000 participants, with 36,000 having received their second dose — has not yet hit the threshold at which it is allowed to do an initial analysis on whether the vaccine works…” (Kuchler, 10/27).

POLITICO: Historic vaccine race meets harsh reality
“Pfizer’s admission Tuesday that it still doesn’t know whether its coronavirus vaccine works is a dose of reality for the historic global vaccine race. The company’s failure to meet its self-imposed goal — having proof of efficacy in October — is the latest reminder that vaccine development is a long, complicated process that doesn’t stick to political deadlines. Despite the government and drug companies pumping billions of dollars into the vaccine race, getting shots into trials faster than ever before, and enrolling tens of thousands of volunteers in studies, a Covid-19 vaccine could still be months away…” (Owermohle, 10/27).

Additional coverage of Pfizer’s announcement is available from New York Times, Reuters, and STAT.

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NIH Closes Clinical Trial Assessing Eli Lilly Antibody Treatment For Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients Due To Lack Of Clinical Benefit

The Hill: NIH halts study of Eli Lilly antibody drug for treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients
“Federal researchers have ended a study into the effectiveness of Eli Lilly’s antibody treatment for hospitalized COVID-19 patients due to a lack of effectiveness. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is funding the study, announced late Monday that an independent monitoring board found little clinical benefit in the treatment and recommended that it be stopped. The study had been paused earlier this month due to a potential safety issue, but the NIAID said the monitoring board’s decision was driven by lack of clinical benefit…” (Weixel, 10/27).

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Several Studies Present Evidence For Declining Coronavirus Antibodies; 'Autoanitbodies' Similar To Autoimmune Diseases; Cognitive Decline, Other Long-Term Impacts Following Infection

New York Times: Some Covid Survivors Have Antibodies That Attack the Body, not Virus
“Some survivors of Covid-19 carry worrying signs that their immune system has turned on the body, reminiscent of potentially debilitating diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, a new study has found…” (Mandavilli, 10/27).

POLITICO: Study finds sharp fall in immunity after coronavirus infection
“British scientists have found that the number of people testing positive for antibodies has fallen by 26 percent over three months, raising questions about long-term protection from the virus. Latest data from the REACT2 study, published Tuesday, showed that in a random sample of more than 365,000 adults in the U.K. from June to September, the presence of antibodies fell for all age groups. It fell from 6 percent to 4.4 percent over that time…” (Collis, 10/27).

Reuters: COVID’s cognitive costs? Some patients’ brains may age 10 years
“People recovering from COVID-19 may suffer significant brain function impacts, with the worst cases of the infection linked to mental decline equivalent to the brain aging by 10 years, researchers warned on Tuesday…” (Kelland, 10/27).

Wall Street Journal: Severe Covid-19 Cases Leave Lasting Effects, Including on Mental State
“…John Swartzberg, an infectious disease specialist and clinical professor emeritus at the School of Public Health of the University of California, Berkeley, said long-term effects from severe cases have to be monitored in many parts of the body, including the central nervous system…” (Bhattacharya, 10/28).

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USAID To Provide $20M Over 5 Years To CEPI; Funds Subject To Congressional Approval

Homeland Preparedness News: USAID offers $20M in aid to CEPI for infectious diseases vaccine development
“The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) gained a $20 million investment from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) last week to support the development of vaccines targeting emerging infectious diseases. These funds will be provided over a five year period, subject to Congressional approval each year, to support CEPI’s development programs for several specific diseases, including Lassa fever, Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, Nipah, Chikungunya, Rift Valley Fever, and Ebola…” (Galford, 10/27).

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USAID Suspends All Workplace Diversity, Inclusion Training To Comply With Trump Administration Executive Order

NPR: Why Diversity Training Has Been Suspended At USAID
“The Trump administration issued an executive order and memorandum in September, prohibiting any discussion in the federal workforce of concepts such as systemic racism, white privilege, and unconscious bias during workplace diversity training. … As a result, the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID — one of the largest official foreign aid agencies in the world — suspended all diversity and inclusion training on Sept. 30, one week after the order was issued…” (Lu, 10/27).

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U.N. Officials, Advocates Examine Lessons From Haiti Cholera Epidemic Caused By Peacekeepers

PRI: 10 years on, U.N. officials reflect on Haiti cholera epidemic caused by peacekeeping mission
“…Beatrice Lindstrom, a human rights attorney who was in Haiti in 2010 to help earthquake survivors, told The World’s host Marco Werman that ‘cholera hit when Haiti was already in a state of immense crisis.’ On the 10th anniversary of the first case of cholera in Haiti, Lindstrom brought together U.N. officials and Haiti advocates to examine what lessons the U.N. should draw from the cholera epidemic…” (Snyder, 10/27).

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U.N. Human Rights Experts Denounce Poland Court Ruling Banning Abortion In Cases Of Fetal Impairment, Urge Government To Protect Rights Of Protestors

AP: Poles join nationwide strike in revolt over abortion ruling
“People across Poland are vowing to stay off their jobs on Wednesday as part of a nationwide strike to protest a top court ruling that bans abortions in cases of congenitally damaged fetuses. The nationwide strike comes amid a deepening standoff between angry crowds who have been taking to the streets over the ruling and Poland’s deeply conservative government, which has vowed not to back down…” (Gera, 10/28).

U.N. News: Poland ‘slammed the door shut’ on legal and safe abortions: Human rights experts
“A group of U.N. independent human rights experts have denounced a court ruling in Poland that bans abortions on the ground of fatal or severe fetal impairment, effectively ‘slamming the door shut’ on safe and legal pregnancy terminations. In a statement on Tuesday, the rights experts also called on the Polish authorities to safeguard the rights of men and women protesting against the ruling. Across the country, thousands have taken to the streets in protest of last Thursday’s ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court…” (10/28).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

AP: Asia Today: India’s confirmed virus cases near 8 million (10/28).

AP: France braces for possible lockdown as virus deaths mount (10/28).

AP: Merkel seeks limited lockdown as German virus cases surge (Jordans/Grieshaber, 10/28).

AP: Australia’s second-largest city ends 111-day virus lockdown (Ratnayake/McGuirk, 10/28).

AP: Venezuelans brave COVID wing to bathe, feed sick loved ones (Smith, 10/27).

BBC News: Facebook, Google and Microsoft ‘avoiding $3bn in tax in poorer nations’ (10/26).

Borgen Magazine: Every Mother Counts: Assisting Expectant Mothers Amid COVID-19 (Ingram, 10/28).

Devex: ‘A lost decade’: Latin America must embrace sustainable development for recovery, U.N. report says (Welsh, 10/28).

Devex: Ties between U.N., faith-based groups poised to grow during pandemic (Lieberman, 10/28).

The Guardian: ‘We are drinking sewage water’: Zimbabwe shortages threaten thousands (Chingono, 10/28).

NPR: New Study Points To Invisible Killer Of Infants (Doucleff, 10/27).

PRI: COVID-19 hits Brazilian families dealing with Zika especially hard (Fox, 10/27).

SciDev.Net: ‘Worms and Ladders’ game cuts infection rates in kids (Kokutse, 10/27).

U.N. News: Yemeni children suffer record rates of acute malnutrition, putting ‘entire generation’ at risk (10/27).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Address Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Impact On Poverty, Building Trust In Government, U.S. Response

Devex: Opinion: The long shadow of COVID-19 on extreme poverty
Shameran Abed, senior director of microfinance and ultra-poor graduation programs at BRAC (10/27).

Foreign Affairs: Fighting a Pandemic Requires Trust
Thomas J. Bollyky, director of the global health program at the Council on Foreign Relations, and colleagues (10/23).

IPS: Good data is the key to a sustainable post-COVID Pacific
Stuart Minchin, director general of the Pacific Community (10/28).

IPS: Global Data Community’s Response to COVID-19
Francesca Perucci, chief of the development data and outreach branch at the United Nations (10/28).

New York Times: How America Helped Defeat the Coronavirus*
Sanya Dosani, reporter and producer with the New York Times, and colleagues (10/28).

Project Syndicate: Nutrition Leadership During a Pandemic
John Agyekum Kufuor, former president of Ghana and co-founder of the African Leaders for Nutrition initiative (10/27).

Scientific American: How Indigenous Communities in Canada Organized an Exemplary COVID Public Health Response
Lisa Richardson, physician and vice chair of culture and inclusion in the University of Toronto’s Department of Medicine and strategic lead in Indigenous health for the faculty of medicine, and Allison Crawford, psychiatrist leading virtual mental health at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health and associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Toronto (10/30).

Washington Post: Here are the Trump administration’s four most profound failures in the pandemic
Michael Gerson, columnist for the Washington Post (10/27).

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U.N. Must Compensate Haitian Cholera Victims To Uphold Human Dignity, Rights, U.N. Special Rapporteur Writes In Opinion Piece

Miami Herald: By not compensating Haiti’s cholera victims, the U.N. is denying their human rights | Opinion
Olivier De Schutter, U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

“…In Haiti, cholera [originally introduced by U.N. peacekeepers in 2010] is now close to being eradicated, thanks to the concerted joint efforts by the government of Haiti and the U.N. Though this is a remarkable achievement, every Haitian is entitled to hold the government and the international community accountable for fulfilling their human right to health, a healthy environment, and an adequate standard of living, including housing, water, and sanitation. By conflating victims’ right to compensation with generic development projects aimed at the well-being of the general population, the U.N. has written off its accountability for the epidemic and relegated human rights to charitable endeavors. In response to a critical letter from U.N. independent experts, [U.N. Secretary-General António] Guterres expressed his confidence that with more investment in the U.N.’s efforts to stop the transmission of cholera, ‘We can seek to close this terrible chapter with dignity.’ But human dignity is at the heart of human rights. There will be no closure with dignity for the victims, unless their loss and suffering are properly acknowledged, those responsible for the epidemic are held accountable, and victims receive appropriate remedies in accordance with human-rights principles and norms. Closure without these elements would be tantamount to hushing the voices of the victims and upholding a double standard on human rights. This is a price that the U.N. cannot afford” (10/26).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Sabin Vaccine Institute Launches Immunization Advocates Program, Provides Resources On Vaccine Issues For Journalists, Health Workers

Sabin Vaccine Institute: Discover Immunization Advocates’ Resources To Help Address Vaccine, Immunization Misinformation
Samia Kemal, senior communications associate for the Sabin Institute, and Vince Blaser, director of Sabin’s Immunization Advocates, discuss the launch of two new “resource hubs” as part of its broader initiative to provide journalists, health workers, policymakers, and influencers worldwide with information to communicate and report accurately on immunization and related issues. These two new hubs provide resources and tools for journalists and health workers (10/27).

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Human Rights Watch, UNAIDS Address Various Issues Related To HIV Prevention, Treatment

Human Rights Watch: Foreigners Living with HIV in Jordan Face an Impossible Choice
Rasha Younes, researcher with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch (10/26).

UNAIDS: COVID-19’s impact on HIV vertical transmission services reversed (10/27).

UNAIDS: Key populations have suboptimal knowledge of their HIV status (10/26).

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From the U.S. Government

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 28, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (10/28).

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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