KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Media Outlets Examine Differences In COVID-19 Strategies Between Trump, Biden, Issues For Development Community To Watch Before U.S. Presidential Election

The Atlantic: America Is About to Choose How Bad the Pandemic Will Get
“…As November nears, the coronavirus is surging again, with cases rising to record-breaking heights for the third time. To control the pandemic, changes are necessary, but Trump has proved that he does not learn from his mistakes—perhaps the most costly of his failings. If he is reelected, he will continue on the same path, and so will the coronavirus. More Americans will be sickened, disabled, and killed. Donald Trump is unchanging; the election offers an opportunity for the country to change instead…” (Yong, 10/28).

Devex: 5 things for the development community to watch in the U.S. election
“…From policy and reform to funding and COVID-19 response, the outcome of these elections will change the operating environment for U.S. global development efforts in important ways. Here are five issues at stake for U.S. global development in this presidential election — and the days, weeks, or even months after that…” (Saldinger/Igoe, 10/29).

Washington Post: In closing days, Trump and Biden push opposing pandemic strategies
“President Trump pushed ahead Wednesday with a strategy for the closing days of the campaign that minimizes the threat from the coronavirus pandemic, misstates his record in confronting it, and mocks Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s caution in campaigning amid a disease that has killed more than 225,000 Americans. Biden, during remarks in Delaware, blasted Trump for what he characterized as recklessness in handling the pandemic as Trump held crowded rallies in Arizona. With five days to go before Election Day on Nov. 3, the two candidates have crystallized opposing messages on a pandemic that has affected most aspects of American life, including voting…” (Gearan et al., 10/28).

The Atlantic examines why more than 80 percent of Republicans think Trump is doing a great job with the pandemic.

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White House Clarifies Press Release Claiming Trump Ended COVID-19 Pandemic; Administration Agrees To Purchase At Least $375M Of Lilly's Experimental Antibody Drug

The Hill: White House seeks to clarify press release claiming Trump ended the COVID-19 pandemic
“A press release claiming that President Trump ended the coronavirus pandemic was ‘poorly worded’ and Trump does not believe the pandemic is over, a White House spokesperson said Wednesday. ‘The intent was to say that it is our goal to end the virus,’ White House strategic communications director Alyssa Farah said during a Fox News interview. ‘Cases are still rising and we need the American public to remain vigilant. This is the top priority of the president, defeating this virus and rebuilding our economy,’ Farah said…” (Weixel, 10/28).

The Hill: Trump administration agrees to purchase $375 million of Lilly coronavirus antibody drug
“The Trump administration will pay Eli Lilly $375 million to supply 300,000 doses of its experimental antibody drug to treat COVID-19, the Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday. … The initial agreement is for delivery over the course of two months following authorization, with the option to purchase up to 650,000 additional doses through the end of June 2021 for up to an additional $812.5 million. … The announcement of the agreement comes a day after Eli Lilly said the drug had no clinical benefit for helping hospitalized patients. The company said it is confident the drug is helpful to those earlier in the course of a COVID-19 infection…” (Weixel, 10/28).

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Gilead Defends Remdesivir's Efficacy In Treating COVID-19 Patients, Announces 3rd Quarter Earnings Up 17%; Science Magazine Examines U.S. Approval Of Drug, E.U. Deal To Purchase Therapeutic

CNBC: Gilead’s revenue rises 17% driven by sales of coronavirus treatment remdesivir
“Gilead Sciences reported stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings on Wednesday as sales of its coronavirus treatment remdesivir touted by President Donald Trump drove revenue up by 17% from last year…” (Higgins-Dunn/Lovelace, 10/28).

Financial Times: Gilead insists remdesivir improves Covid-19 survival rates
“Gilead criticized a World Health Organization study that raised doubts about its Covid-19 treatment, insisting that the overnight blockbuster drug does improve survival rates for a large group of hospitalized patients…” (Kuchler, 10/28).

Science: The ‘very, very bad look’ of remdesivir, the first FDA-approved COVID-19 drug
“…On 8 October, the company inked an agreement to supply the European Union with its drug remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19 — a deal potentially worth more than $1 billion. Two weeks later, on 22 October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved remdesivir for use against the pandemic coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in the United States — the first drug to receive that status. The E.U. and U.S. decisions pave the way for Gilead’s drug into two major markets, both with soaring COVID-19 cases. But both decisions baffled scientists who have closely watched the clinical trials of remdesivir unfold over the past 6 months — and who have many questions about remdesivir’s worth. … Science has learned that both FDA’s decision and the E.U. deal came about under unusual circumstances that gave the company important advantages…” (Cohen/Kupferschmidt, 10/27).

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Public Must Reset Expectations On Timing Of COVID-19 Vaccine Availability, Experts Say; China, Russia Seek To Market Vaccines Globally

STAT: It may be time to reset expectations on when we’ll get a Covid-19 vaccine
“The ambitious drive to produce Covid-19 vaccine at warp speed seems to be running up against reality. We all probably need to reset our expectations about how quickly we’re going to be able to be vaccinated. Pauses in clinical trials to investigate potential safety issues, a slower-than-expected rate of infections among participants in at least one of the trials, and signals that an expert panel advising the Food and Drug Administration may not be comfortable recommending use of vaccines on very limited safety and efficacy data appear to be adding up to a slippage in the estimates of when vaccine will be ready to be deployed…” (Branswell, 10/29).

AP: U.K. vaccine chief warns of over-optimism, early imperfection (Kirka, 10/28).

CNBC: WHO says Covid vaccine trials are ‘encouraging’ but it’ll take time to ensure it’s safe for everyone (Meredith, 10/28).

Fox News: First generation of coronavirus vaccines ‘likely to be imperfect,’ U.K. official warns (Hein, 10/28).

Kaiser Health News: Scientists warn Americans are expecting too much from a COVID-19 vaccine (Szabo/Aleccia, 10/28).

Los Angeles Times: Seeking to expand their influence, China and Russia market coronavirus vaccines around the world (Baumgaertner/McDonnell, 10/28).

Reuters: Activists urge ‘Big Pharma’ to be transparent on COVID-19 vaccine costs (Nebehay, 10/29).

Washington Post: As the world awaits a coronavirus vaccine, some in China get early doses (Dou, 10/29).

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European Nations Face New Lockdowns As Coronavirus Cases Rise; Scientists Warn Of New Variant Originating In Spain

Washington Post: Gloom settles over Europe as days darken and coronavirus surges
“The clocks were dialed back an hour across Europe this week, and the long nights come early. The hospitals are filling up as the cafes are shutting down. Governments are threatening to cancel Christmas gatherings. As new coronavirus infections surge again in Europe, breaking daily records, the mood is growing dark on the continent — and it’s not even November. Summer’s reprieve feels like a long time ago, and the continent is entering a serious funk…” (Booth et al., 10/28).

AP: Short of medics as virus surges, central Europe sounds alarm (Janicek/Gera, 10/29).

AP: Merkel warns Germans of a ‘difficult winter’ as virus surges (10/29).

AP: France braces for monthlong lockdown as virus deaths mount (10/29).

CBS News: Russia orders national mask mandate as coronavirus cases spike (Lewis, 10/27).

Financial Times: Scientists warn of new coronavirus variant spreading across Europe (Cookson, 10/29).

Financial Times: Minister rejects calls for lockdown in England as Covid infections soar (Neville/Cameron-Chileshe, 10/28).

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COVID-19 Pandemic Significantly Strengthens Britons' View Of Global Health Security, Malaria No More U.K. Poll Shows

The Telegraph: Covid-19 strengthens Britons’ desire to fight global diseases, poll finds
“Awareness among Britons on the importance of preventing global disease and the desire to fight it has grown significantly in the last year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, new analysis from Malaria No More U.K. has found. As the pandemic continues to spread across the globe, more than half of Britons said their view on the significance of fighting global disease has grown in the last year, while almost all (98 percent) said this was because of Covid-19. The British public also overwhelmingly view disease prevention, both at home and abroad, as an issue of national security, with 88 percent of people agreeing that it is important to the U.K.’s security. This sentiment grows with age, with 90 percent of over fifties agreeing compared with 66 percent of 18-24 year olds…” (Hayes, 10/29).

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Devex Examines Healthy Brains Global Initiative, New Group's Efforts To Raise $10B

Devex: The Healthy Brains Global Initiative, the next Global Fund?
“Brad Herbert hopes to raise $10 billion for a new global initiative set to launch in 2021 at Davos. But with the coronavirus creating a global economic crisis, he is aware raising funds is going to be a huge challenge. … A number of NGO leaders are already facing fundraising challenges, with some anticipating reduced aid levels in the coming year. But Herbert, who sits as the interim CEO at the Healthy Brains Global Initiative — a global financing mechanism that aims to fuel research on neurological and mental health disorders — finds that it’s important to get started. COVID-19 has created conditions that impact the mental health of populations globally. If action is not taken to curb this, he said the world economy could lose trillions to mental disorders in the next decade, more than the projected $6 trillion by 2030…” (Ravelo, 10/29).

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Polish President Says Women Should Be Able To Terminate Some Pregnancies As Protests Over Court Ruling Continue

AP: Polish president takes step back on abortion amid protests
“Polish President Andrzej Duda partially broke ranks with the country’s conservative leadership Thursday and said he thinks women should have the right to abortion when they are carrying fetuses with fatal birth defects. … The president said he still favors outlawing abortion in cases of fetuses with non-lethal congenital defects…” (10/29).

Additional coverage of the protests over Poland’s abortion laws is available from Globe and Mail and New York Times.

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U.S. Conservative, Christian Groups Spent $280M Since 2007 Campaigning Against LGBT+ Rights, Abortion Globally, Report Shows

Thomson Reuters Foundation: U.S. Christian groups spent $280m fighting LGBT+ rights, abortion overseas
“Right-wing U.S. groups have put more than $280 million into campaigns against LGBT+ rights and abortion worldwide since 2007, almost $90 million of which focused on Europe, according to a report on Tuesday. Many of the 28 groups — most of which are Christian — have close links with U.S. President Donald Trump, who is campaigning for re-election on Nov. 3, investigative website openDemocracy found, amid the rising popularity of the far-right in Europe. … Africa was the second most popular destination for anti-LGBT+ efforts…” (Savage, 10/27).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

AP: Taiwan marks 200 days without domestic COVID-19 infection (10/29).

AP: India’s coronavirus cases cross 8 million, behind U.S. (Sharma et al., 10/29).

Borgen Magazine: Updates on The Global Child Thrive Act (Broderick, 10/28).

Chronicle of Philanthropy: Rockefeller Foundation Shifts Priorities, Pledges $1 Billion for Covid-19 Recovery (Prest, 10/28).

Devex: Participatory gender data collection gains ground — but not without ‘hard fight’ (Lieberman, 10/29).

Devex: When modern medicine flounders, should traditional healers fill the void? (Cousins, 10/29).

Devex: The ethical use of geospatial data for sanitation (Root, 10/29).

The Economist: The pandemic may be leading to fewer babies in rich countries (10/28).

Financial Times: The next pandemic: where is it coming from and how do we stop it? (Hook, 10/29).

New Humanitarian: Inside the childhood hunger ’emergency’ in Syria’s Idlib (Al Hosse/Edwards, 10/28).

Science: ‘Another piece of populist propaganda’: Critics slam the Brazilian government’s new COVID-19 drug (Escobar, 10/28).

The Telegraph: Criticism of PCR test sees Costa Rica scrap requirement for visitors to prove they’re Covid-free (Moss, 10/28).

The Telegraph: Scientists develop a potential antibiotic from Komodo dragon blood (Newey/Kelly-Linden, 10/28).

U.N. News: Millions affected as devastating typhoon strikes Viet Nam (10/29).

USA TODAY: ‘There’s no way to sugarcoat it’: COVID-19 cases are surging; one American dies every 107 seconds (Bacon, 10/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Funding For GPEI Essential For Eradicating Polio, Supporting Health Systems Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, U.S. Senator Writes

Devex: Opinion: COVID-19 should not derail polio eradication efforts
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chair of the Senate Committee on commerce, science, and transportation

“…The global war on polio is led by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which for years has received funding and technical guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Agency for International Development. This support has contributed to a drop in polio cases by 99% over the past 30 years — from 350,000 reported cases in 1988 to 176 in 2019. … Most notably this year, the polio program has yielded enormous benefits in the global fight against COVID-19. … Shifting GPEI resources was critical in helping many countries respond to the pandemic, but it has come at a cost to polio eradication efforts. … As a result of consistent U.S. investments over the last 30 years, we are closer than ever before to eradicating polio from the face of the earth. … Now is not the time to drop the ball. This year, as in past years, I led the effort with Senator Reed, D-R.I., to secure $237 million in U.S. funding to strengthen polio eradication efforts. Based on the previous year’s appropriations, I am optimistic about a positive outcome in fiscal year 2021. A strong, well-funded GPEI is essential to winning the fight against polio and maintaining strong health systems that benefit people around the world” (10/29).

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Development Banks Must Show Transparency, Accountability For Pandemic Funding, Uphold Rights Of Journalists, Opinion Piece Urges

Devex: Opinion: No space for dissent — how development banks are supporting governments that silence journalists
Lorena Cotza, communications lead at the Coalition for Human Rights in Development

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, multilateral development banks have committed nearly $100 billion for hundreds of coronavirus-related projects. But are these funds really benefiting those in need? And what’s happening to those who are raising questions around transparency and accountability for these funds? … Journalists, bloggers, medical workers, human rights defenders, and all those raising concerns about inadequate responses to the crisis — including emergency support directly funded by development banks — are facing threats, arrests, attacks, and stigmatization. … While development banks’ rapid and large-scale financial response to the pandemic is justified, the need to act quickly has overshadowed the equally important needs for transparency, accountability, and respect for human rights. … Development banks often argue that they do not have a political mandate. But protecting journalists is not about partisan politics. It is about standing up for press freedom and the right to access information. It is about ensuring an enabling environment for civil society. It is about making sure that bank funds are well spent and that they reach the whole population and the most marginalized groups, rather than just a corrupt, powerful elite. … Development banks, now more than ever, should take a stand to protect those who are speaking truth to power and who have the courage to demand accountability” (10/28).

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Opinion Piece Says U.S. Should End Mexico City Policy To Help Improve Reproductive Health Outcomes, Rights For Women, Girls Worldwide

CNN: How Trump has sown global chaos for women and girls
Terry McGovern, chair of the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

“…Time and again, President Donald Trump and his administration have taken the political stance that it is they who should control the bodies of women and girls. … One of the very first acts of his administration in January 2017 was to reinstate and expand the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule (GGR) … President Trump expanded the policy’s impact by extending it to all types of U.S. global health assistance (such as for HIV and malaria) to ensure the policy is ‘enforced to the broadest extent possible’ and has even extended the ban to any group working with a group receiving U.S. global health assistance even if the partnering groups do not receive U.S. funding. … But as we hurl towards November 3, it is important to recognize that when it comes to reproductive rights, [the Trump administration’s] rhetoric does not match the evidence. … To stop this, we must end the GGR. Americans are not just voting for ourselves — we are voting for women around the world…” (10/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts Address COVID-19 Response, Vaccine Race, FDA's Use Of Independent Advisory Committees

Center for Global Development: We Must Stop Flying Blind: Building On Existing Systems In Low- and Middle-Income Countries To Improve The COVID-19 Response
Deepti Mishra, policy analyst (strategy) with the global health program at the Center for Global Development, and colleagues (10/28).

ONE: October update: The race for an equitable COVID-19 vaccine
Arielle Witter, social and editorial coordinator at ONE (10/28).

Science Speaks: COVID-19: When will FDA convene an independent advisory committee for monoclonal antibody EUAs?
Daniel Lucey, infectious diseases physician and adjunct professor of infectious diseases at Georgetown University Medical Center and senior scholar at the Georgetown University O’Neill Institute (10/28).

World Bank Blogs: Finding Exemplars of Restored Vaccine Confidence: A Pathway for COVID-19 Recovery
Heidi J. Larson, director of The Vaccine Confidence Project (10/28).

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WHO, Partners Launch Guidance On Developing Digital Health Interventions With, For Young People

WHO: Young people and digital health interventions: working together to design better
“WHO and partners launch new guidance on designing digital health interventions with and for young people. Digital tools are an increasingly popular approach to improving health worldwide — particularly among adolescents and young people, who are accessing the internet at earlier stages of life. Youth-centered digital health interventions is a new framework developed by WHO, HRP, UNESCO, UNICEF and UNFPA. It provides guidance on effective planning, development, and implementation of digital solutions with and for young people to address the many health challenges they may face as they grow into adulthood” (10/29).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Launches Over The Horizon Strategic Review To Examine World Altered By COVID-19

USAID: Preparing For A World Altered By COVID-19
“COVID-19 has had — and will continue to have — an extraordinary impact on the people, places, and partners to which USAID provides assistance. In light of this, the Agency must prepare for lasting changes to the development and humanitarian landscape in the medium to long-term. USAID must be proactive, understand what the current landscape and future scenarios in a world altered by COVID-19 look like, and adapt our ways of working accordingly to achieve our mission in a substantially changed global context. To prepare the Agency to meet the challenges and opportunities in a world altered by COVID-19, USAID launched the Over the Horizon Strategic Review…” (10/28).

USAID: Remarks By Acting Administrator John Barsa At The American Enterprise Institute
On Wednesday, USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa delivers remarks at an American Enterprise Institute event during which he launched the agency’s Over the Horizon Strategic Review (10/28).

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CDC, Partners Work To Mitigate Impacts Of COVID-19 On HIV Services In Tanzania

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: CDC Tanzania and partners: Ensure HIV services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
This post discusses the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic for routine HIV prevention, testing, and treatment services in Tanzania, as well as the efforts of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the government of Tanzania, non-governmental partners, and healthcare facilities to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on these services in the country (10/28).

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From KFF

KFF Provides 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 29, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (10/29).

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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