KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

World Leaders, Finance Experts Meet To Discuss More Economic Action On COVID-19; U.N. Leaders Discuss Country-Led Efforts To Change Pandemic's Trajectory, Impacts On Human Rights

Devex: Proposals and pressure mount for more action on COVID-19 financing
“Dozens of heads of state, top United Nations officials, and the heads of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund gathered virtually last week in the largest convening of its kind about the economic response to COVID-19. They discussed a number of proposals from an ongoing U.N. process and pushed the Group of 20 and other multilateral bodies to take further action. … While policy recommendations that emerged from the process range from new mechanisms for trade and investment to doubling down on digitization of economies, much of the discussion last week, and in the weeks and months ahead is likely to focus on debt relief and providing additional liquidity…” (Saldinger, 10/5).

Devex: COVID-19 is not an ‘excuse’ for human rights violations, U.N. human rights chief says
“From attacks on journalists to violence against human rights defenders, the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening ongoing human rights violations, according to Michelle Bachelet, United Nations high commissioner for human rights and former president of Chile. … COVID-19 should not be used as an ‘excuse for human rights violations,’ Bachelet said in the interview…” (Lieberman, 10/2).

U.N. News: Countries face ‘critical moment’ in COVID response: U.N. health agency chief
“With strong leadership and comprehensive strategies it’s never too late for countries to change the trendlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite passing the tragic milestone of one million deaths this week amid regional surges in infections, said the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday…” (10/2).

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U.S. Should Join COVAX, Contribute Any Successful Coronavirus Vaccine To Low-Income Nations, NASEM Report Says; White House Officials Raise Objections To FDA Guidance For Vaccine Distribution

STAT: Expert panel recommends U.S. join international vaccine pool, contribute vaccine to low-income nations
“The United States should join an international Covid-19 vaccine pool and should contribute 10% of the country’s vaccine for redistribution to low-income countries, a panel of experts convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommended Friday. The group’s final report, the Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine, suggested the country would both increase its chances of access to effective Covid-19 vaccines and regain a position of global health leadership if it were to join the COVAX Facility, a vaccine purchasing pool being set up by the WHO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Coalition for Emergency Preparedness Innovations, known as CEPI for short…” (Branswell, 10/2).

Wall Street Journal: White House Takes Issue With FDA’s Plans for Authorizing a Covid-19 Vaccine
“Senior White House officials have raised objections to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s proposed standards for deciding whether a Covid-19 vaccine should be given widely and don’t appear likely to sign off on the agency’s guidelines, people familiar with the matter said. In talks with the FDA in recent days, White House officials expressed a number of concerns about the draft guidelines, including a proposal that would require researchers to monitor study subjects for side effects for two months after getting a shot, the people said…” (Burton, 10/2).

Additional coverage of the NASEM report, FDA guidance, and the White House’s Operation Warp Speed is available from Financial Times, POLITICO, VOA News, and Wall Street Journal.

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News Outlets Examine COVID-19 Cases Among Trump Administration Officials, Top Politicians In Other Nations

Foreign Policy: When the Coronavirus Reaches the Top
“…Trump is now one of many world leaders and other top officials to be infected with COVID-19 since the World Health Organization declared the virus a pandemic more than six months ago. From Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the cases have varied in health and political effects — but each infection has intensified questions about the leader’s handling of the pandemic. For Trump’s campaign, much depends on the days ahead and the severity of his symptoms. Below is a list of the top leaders who tested positive for COVID-19 — and what came next…” (Saraiva et al., 10/2).

Washington Post: Months before coronavirus hit Trump’s circle, Iran battled a similar outbreak
“As the coronavirus ripples through President Trump’s inner circle and beyond, a key lesson of the pandemic is again on full display: Power and privilege are not reliable protections from the virus. … Earlier in the pandemic, that was also true for members of Iran’s parliament — more than 10 percent of whom had contracted the virus by early March…” (Berger, 10/3).

Washington Post: China had mocked Trump for not taking the pandemic seriously. Now it’s very personal.
“President Trump has spent much of this year blaming China for the coronavirus, while Beijing has mocked him for not taking the pandemic seriously enough. Now, Trump’s own diagnosis has turned the battle acutely personal while deepening the uncertainty in U.S.-China relations…” (Dou/Yang, 10/3).

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U.S. Vice President Pence, Trump Official Pressured CDC To Change Guidance On Border Control, School Openings Amid Pandemic

AP: Pence ordered borders closed after CDC experts refused
“Vice President Mike Pence in March directed the nation’s top disease control agency to use its emergency powers to effectively seal the U.S. borders, overruling the agency’s scientists who said there was no evidence the action would slow the coronavirus, according to two former health officials. The action has so far caused nearly 150,000 children and adults to be expelled from the country…” (Dearen/Burke, 10/3).

POLITICO: Trump official pressured CDC to change report on Covid and kids
“In early September, as many school districts were still deciding whether to hold in-person classes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention altered the title of a scientific report on the coronavirus and removed words like ‘pediatric’ from its text, days after a Trump administration appointee requested similar changes, according to emails obtained by POLITICO. … The episode is the latest example of how Trump appointees’ interference has rippled across the health department — and how even when career experts can find common ground with political officials, they have been tainted by the unprecedented efforts to shape their findings…” (Diamond, 10/5).

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Media Outlets Discuss Development, Funding Of, Access To Potential Coronavirus Vaccines

CIDRAP News: WHO enlists more COVAX participants, clears 2nd rapid test (Schnirring, 10/2).

Financial Times: Less than half U.K. population to receive vaccine, says task force head (Gross/Cameron-Chileshe, 10/4).

Financial Times: China rolls out experimental Covid vaccine as it eyes global market (Shepherd, 10/3).

The Guardian: Military will help distribute Covid-19 vaccine, says Hancock (Topping/O’Carroll, 10/4).

IBT: Gavi Covax facility misses Covid-19 vaccine project funding targets, eyes cost-sharing (Diente, 10/5).

Reuters: GAVI providing $150 million to poorer countries to prepare for COVID-19 vaccines (Nebehay, 10/1).

The Telegraph: British Army to help distribute coronavirus vaccine, Matt Hancock announces (Diver, 10/4).

Wall Street Journal: Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Would Give Global Economy a Lift Next Year (Hannon, 10/4).

WIRED: Rich countries are total vaccine hogs. Covid-19 must change that (Kobie, 10/5).

Xinhua: Cuban scientists make progress in COVID-19 vaccine development (10/4).

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POLITICO Examines Countries' Proposals To Reform WHO

POLITICO: Countries plot changes to World Health Organization once pandemic recedes
“…While many world leaders disagree with Trump’s attempts to make the WHO a scapegoat for the early spread of the coronavirus in 2020, they acknowledge the multilateral organization needs changing. Now, Germany, France, and Chile are signaling they agree on many of the changes the U.S. is seeking at the WHO, even as the Americans head for the exit. POLITICO reviewed reform proposals from the U.S., France and Germany, and Chile, which concur on several points…” (Paun et al., 10/2).

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WHO Promises Investigation Into Allegations Of Sexual Abuse By Ebola Response Aid Workers In DRC

Reuters: WHO ‘outraged’ by sex abuse reports in Congo Ebola operation
“The World Health Organization (WHO) promised an investigation on Friday into ‘horrific’ allegations of sexual abuse by aid workers combating an Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo. ‘To be very clear, we are outraged to read these reports,’ WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news briefing in Geneva, promising punishment for perpetrators…” (Farge, 10/2).

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Discoverers Of Hepatitis C Virus Awarded Nobel Prize In Medicine

New York Times: Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded to Scientists Who Discovered Hepatitis C Virus
“The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to Dr. Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M. Rice on Monday for the discovery of hepatitis C virus, a breakthrough the Nobel Assembly said had ‘made possible blood tests and new medicines that have saved millions of lives.’ The Nobel Assembly announced the prize at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. ‘For the first time in history, the disease can now be cured, raising hopes of eradicating hepatitis C virus from the world population,’ the committee said in a statement…” (Wu/Victor, 10/5).

Additional coverage of the award is available from Science, STAT, and Washington Post.

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

AP: Uganda reports blood shortages amid coronavirus pandemic (Muhumuza/Onen, 10/5).

Bloomberg: J&J CEO Gorsky Says Covid Shows Need for Global Health Security (Griffin, 10/2).

BMJ: Covid-19: 120 million rapid tests pledged to low and middle income countries (Mahase, 10/2).

Financial Times: With 1m dead, are we any better at treating Covid-19? (Kuchler, 10/2).

The Hill: Pope: Pandemic shows ‘trickle-down’ economic policies don’t work (Coleman, 10/4).

New York Times: Data shows fewer Afghan women than men get Covid-19. That’s bad news (Gupta/Faizi, 10/3).

Reuters: India seeks up to 500 million coronavirus vaccine doses by July (Verma, 10/4).

The Telegraph: Timothy Ray Brown, the ‘Berlin patient’ who was the first person to be cured of HIV — obituary (10/2).

U.N. News: Sudan alert: Flooding and surging inflation threaten humanitarian assistance (10/2).

VOA News: Cameroon: Millions of Girls at Risk for Cervical Cancer as Parents Reject HPV Vaccination (Kindzeka, 10/3).

Wall Street Journal: Turkey’s Covid-19 Figures Questioned After Asymptomatic Cases Omitted (Gauthier-Villars, 10/2).

Xinhua: With over 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, India has maximum recoveries, low mortality rate (Yadav, 10/3).

Xinhua: WHO concerns increasing high infections of COVID-19 in Iraq (10/3).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Address Topics Related To COVID-19, Including Role Of COVAX, Impact On Women, Herd Immunity, U.S. Response

The Conversation: What is COVAX and why does it matter for getting vaccines to developing nations?
Nicole Hassoun, professor of philosophy at Binghamton University, State University of New York (10/2).

IPS: A Feminist Perspective from Middle East & North Africa on the COVID-19 Pandemic
Farah Daibes, program manager of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung’s Political Feminism project in the MENA region (10/2).

New York Times: The Man Behind America’s Race for a Vaccine
Kara Swisher, contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, executive producer of the Code Conference, editor-at-large at New York Media, and co-founder of Recode and the Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital (10/5).

Project Syndicate: Herd Immunity Will Not Defeat COVID-19
William A. Haseltine, chair and president of ACCESS Health International (10/2).

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Editorial: Trump has poisoned U.S. global standing. He doesn’t care, but America should
Editorial Board (10/2).

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Humanitarian Program Design Must Use Feminist Approach To Support Women, Girls Caught In Conflict Zones, Opinion Piece Says

The Guardian: Disadvantage begins at birth for women caught up in conflict
David Miliband, chief executive officer of the International Rescue Committee

“…Women and girls caught up in conflict suffer many inequalities. Their gender makes them a target and gender norms make them more vulnerable. What’s more, they are too often overlooked by the actions of the international institutions that respond to humanitarian crisis. … Covid-19 exacerbates the problem. … If we are serious about creating a better world for all women and girls, we must do so consciously and act on what we have learned in the past 25 years. Women and girls need to be counted in gender-disaggregated statistics. There needs to be accountability for aid donors and implementing agencies for how they serve women and girls (the IRC’s gender action plan, for example, and our progress to meeting its goals are on our website). … The voices of women need to be heard from program design to peace negotiations. A feminist approach means taking structures of power seriously and seeking to remove imbalances of power in the design of humanitarian programs. Women and girls caught up in conflict deserve nothing less” (10/4).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Head Of ACCESS Health International Examines Political Pressure, Public Trust In U.S. Public Health Leadership Amid COVID-19

Think Global Health: Eroding Faith in Public Health Leaders
William A. Haseltine, chair and president of ACCESS Health International, examines political pressure and public trust in U.S. public health leadership amid COVID-19, writing, “The relentless focus on a quick fix is inflicting serious damage on public health institutions and undermining public confidence in health care leaders at a time when they are needed most. … The leaders of America’s most valued public health agencies have a responsibility to stand up in the face of political pressure and bear down against those who would force them to follow a scientifically unsound path” (10/1).

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Various Experts Discuss Ways To Strengthen Health Systems In Series Of Essays

World Economic Forum: How to build a better health system: 8 expert essays
In this piece, various experts discuss health system reform, including ways to ensure health systems are people-centered and sustainable, the importance of early detection and diagnosis, the role of the private sector, the use of integrated care, and other areas related to improving access to health (10/2).

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Blog Posts, Releases Address Issues Related To COVID-19, Including Vaccine Preparations; Impact On Maternal, Reproductive Care; Disruption In Mental Health Services

Medium: Vaccine experts speak out on COVID-19 vaccines and how to prepare
Laura Subramanian, senior specialist in monitoring and evaluation at Ariadne Labs, and colleagues (10/1).

ONE Campaign: Raising awareness on COVID-19’s impact on students and teachers
Laura Guthrie, ONE youth ambassador for Belgium (10/5).

ONE Campaign: How COVID-19 is threatening maternal and reproductive care
Arielle Witter, social and editorial coordinator at the ONE Campaign (10/2).

Think Global Health: Spare the Vote, Spoil the Virus?
Samantha Kiernan, research associate on global health, economics, and development at the Council on Foreign Relations, and colleagues (10/2).

WHO: WHO provides a guiding light for Burkina Faso’s COVID-19 pandemic response (10/2).

WHO: COVID-19 disrupting mental health services in most countries, WHO survey (10/5).

World Economic Forum: 3 factors helping the African continent beat early COVID-19 predictions
Aylin Elci, communications officer at the World Economic Forum (10/2).

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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 5, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (10/5).

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. KFF’s blog series “Coronavirus Policy Watch” is available here.

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