KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump Administration Officials Have Reviewed, Encouraged Alterations To CDC Communications, Weekly Reports Regarding COVID-19 Pandemic

POLITICO: Trump officials interfered with CDC reports on Covid-19
“The health department’s politically appointed communications aides have demanded the right to review and seek changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly scientific reports charting the progress of the coronavirus pandemic, in what officials characterized as an attempt to intimidate the reports’ authors and water down their communications to health professionals. In some cases, emails from communications aides to CDC Director Robert Redfield and other senior officials openly complained that the agency’s reports would undermine President Donald Trump’s optimistic messages about the outbreak, according to emails reviewed by POLITICO and three people familiar with the situation…” (Diamond, 9/11).

Additional coverage of Trump administration officials’ reviews of CDC communications and reactions from experts is available from The Hill (2), New York Times, and Washington Post.

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IPS Examines Speculation Trump May Threaten To Withdraw From, Defund U.N. During General Assembly Address

IPS: Will Trump Threaten to Pullout or De-fund the United Nations?
“…There is widespread speculation that when U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the General Assembly on September 22 — one of the few, or perhaps the only head of state, to do so ‘in person’ in a virtually virus-locked down world body — he may either threaten to pull out of the U.N. (very unlikely), warn of possible cuts in financial contributions (likely), or downsize the U.S. role in the world body (most likely)…” (Deen, 9/11).

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Few U.S. Allies Support Trump Administration's Reform Plan For WHO

Foreign Policy: Document of the Week: U.S. Plan for World Health Organization Has Few Followers
“The Trump administration still wants to tell the World Health Organization and its members how to run their affairs, even after it announced plans to withdraw from the agency in the midst of a pandemic, cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. funding. Earlier this month, senior U.S. officials distributed a plan to reform the United Nations health agency to WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and members of the G-7 industrial powers. We are posting a copy of the draft here as FP’s Document of the Week. … American diplomats are struggling to get even U.S. allies to sign on. Germany and France, for instance, have told the Americans they support some of the reforms, particularly those that would strengthen the World Health Organization. But they have decided to pursue their own initiative at the health agency…” (Lynch, 9/11).

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USAID Weighs Political Priorities, Branding For Humanitarian Aid Deliveries, Delaying Some Assistance During Pandemic Response

New York Times: At USAID, Juggling Political Priorities and Pandemic Response
“The coronavirus was spreading around the world, and officials at the United States Agency for International Development were anxious to rush humanitarian aid to nations in need. But first, they had to settle a debate over American branding and whether it should be displayed on assistance headed to conflict zones. … At the end of the debate this spring, relief workers were allowed to distribute aid without the branding in a handful of countries in the Middle East and North Africa. But the discussion, as described by a half-dozen current and former officials at the aid agency and relief workers who were briefed on it, delayed assistance for several weeks to some of the world’s most vulnerable communities as the pandemic began to peak. It was a cautionary example of the political intervention that has roiled an agency that prides itself as leading the humanitarian response to disasters, conflict, and other emergencies around the world…” (Jakes/Verma, 9/13).

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World Leaders Failed To Heed Warnings About Pandemic Potential, GPMB Annual Report Says; Trinity Challenge Partnership Aims To Prevent Future Pandemics

Financial Times: Trinity Challenge aims to protect the world against future pandemics
“A new partnership between universities, foundations, and leading technology and health companies aims to protect the world from future pandemics, by harnessing the power of data and analytics. The Trinity Challenge, to be launched on Monday, is led by Sally Davies, who was chief medical officer for England until last October and is now master of Trinity College Cambridge…” (Cookson, 9/13).

Reuters: Pandemic preparedness panel slams collective failure to heed warnings
“A collective failure by political leaders to heed warnings and prepare for an infectious disease pandemic has transformed ‘a world at risk’ to a ‘world in disorder,’ according to a report on international epidemic preparedness. ‘Financial and political investments in preparedness have been insufficient, and we are all paying the price,’ said the report by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB)…” (Kelland, 9/14).

Additional coverage of the Trinity Challenge and the GPMB report is available from The Guardian and The Telegraph.

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U.N. General Assembly Approves Resolution On Pandemic As WHO Reports Record One-Day Rise In Global Cases

AP: U.N. assembly approves pandemic resolution; U.S., Israel object
“The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a wide-ranging resolution on tackling the coronavirus pandemic Friday over objections from the United States and Israel, which protested a successful last-minute Cuban amendment that strongly urged countries to oppose any unilateral economic, financial, or trade sanctions. The 193-member world body adopted the resolution by a vote of 169-2, with Ukraine and Hungary abstaining…” (Lederer, 9/12).

Reuters: WHO reports record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases, up over 307,000
“The World Health Organization reported a record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the total rising by 307,930 in 24 hours. The biggest increases were from India, the United States, and Brazil, according to the agency’s website. Deaths rose by 5,537 to a total of 917,417…” (Shumaker, 9/13).

Additional coverage of the record rise in COVID-19 cases is available from VOA News and Xinhua.

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WHO DG Urges Nations To Join COVAX By Friday Deadline; U.K., China Testing Inhaled Vaccine Delivery; Vaccine Companies Must Scale Up Production, Serum Institute Executive Says

AP: U.K. tests if COVID-19 vaccines might work better inhaled (9/14).

CIDRAP News: Rising vaccine wariness in some nations doesn’t bode well for COVID vaccines (Van Beusekom, 9/11).

DW: Coronavirus vaccination: What are we actually waiting for? (Vergin, 9/11).

The Hill: China starts testing nasal spray coronavirus vaccine (Deese, 9/11).

Financial Times: Not enough Covid vaccine for all until 2024, says biggest producer (Findlay et al., 9/14).

New York Times: Vaccine Makers Keep Safety Details Quiet, Alarming Scientists (Thomas, 9/13).

NPR: A COVID-19 Vaccine May Be Only 50% Effective. Is That Good Enough? (Aubrey, 9/12).

NPR: Army Marshals Resources To Aid In Race For Coronavirus Vaccine (Bowman/Peñaloza, 9/14).

POLITICO: Trump officials rush to introduce new, untested vaccine tracking system (Tahir/Roubein, 9/13).

Reuters: Taiwan says plans to sign up for ‘COVAX’ vaccine allocation scheme (Blanchard, 9/12).

Reuters: WHO head urges rich nations to join vaccine scheme by Friday deadline (Miller, 9/14).

STAT: Pfizer and BioNTech announce plan to expand Covid-19 vaccine trial (Herper, 9/12).

STAT: The ethics of pausing a vaccine trial in the midst of a pandemic: a conversation with Ruth Faden (Skerrett, 9/11).

VOA News: The Price of Beijing’s Vaccine Diplomacy in Southeast Asia (Yang et al., 9/12).

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AstraZeneca Resumes COVID-19 Vaccine Trial In U.K.; Trials In U.S., Other Countries Remain On Hold

NPR: AstraZeneca Resumes Its COVID-19 Vaccine Trials In The U.K.
“Drugmaker AstraZeneca announced Saturday that its COVID-19 vaccine studies have resumed in the United Kingdom, though not yet in the United States. The vaccine trials had been placed on hold around the world earlier in the week after a U.K. participant in one of the studies developed a neurological illness. The candidate vaccine was developed by the University of Oxford along with AstraZeneca. The goal of the large studies is to see whether the vaccine is capable of preventing COVID-19 and whether it is safe…” (Palca, 9/12).

Additional coverage of the trial’s resumption in the U.K. is available from New York Times, POLITICO, and Reuters.

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Latin America Struggles Amid Pandemic; European COVID-19 Mortality To Rise In Fall, WHO Warns; Israel Shuts Down Again During 2nd Wave; Biden Crafts Pandemic Response Plan For Implementation If Elected U.S. President


AP: Ethiopia opens facility to make coronavirus test kits (Meseret, 9/14).


Devex: Corruption allegations rock Philippine health insurance corporation amid COVID-19 (Ravelo, 9/14).

Wall Street Journal: For Doctor in India, Coronavirus Waves Just Keep Coming (Agarwal, 9/13).

Washington Post: In Japan, coronavirus discrimination proves almost as hard to eradicate as the disease (Denyer/Kashiwagi, 9/14).


VOA News: WHO: European COVID-19 Mortality to Rise in October, November (9/14).


AP: Brazil Indigenous group celebrates 6 months without COVID-19 (Peres, 9/12).

AP: Central American refugees stopped by Trump, then by pandemic (Salomon/Torrens, 9/13).

Washington Post: Latin America, unable to flatten its curve, struggles to cope with pandemic (Lacunza et al., 9/11).


AP: Israel to set new nationwide lockdown as virus cases surge (Goldenberg/Heller, 9/13).

Wall Street Journal: Israel to Shut Down Again as Second Coronavirus Wave Hits (Schwartz/Lieber, 9/13).


The Hill: Trump campaign senior adviser says president is ‘not at all’ downplaying the severity of the pandemic (Coleman, 9/13).

Washington Post: Here’s how Joe Biden would combat the pandemic if he wins the election (Abutaleb/McGinley, 9/11).

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Ebola Spreading In DRC, Disease Could Reach Neighboring Congo, WHO Warns

U.N. News: WHO warns against potential Ebola spread in DR Congo and beyond
“Ebola is spreading in a western province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), raising fears that the disease could reach neighboring Republic of Congo and even the capital, Kinshasa, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. The outbreak in Equateur Province emerged in early June and has now spread into another of its 17 health zones, bringing the total number of affected zones to 12. So far, there have been 113 cases and 48 deaths…” (9/11).

Additional coverage of the WHO’s concerns is available from VOA News.

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Stop TB Executive Director Lucica Ditiu Accused Of Bullying, Harassing Employees

New York Times: A Global Health Star Under Fire
“The leader of a global campaign to prevent tuberculosis has been accused of bullying and harassing employees, and creating a poisonous work environment especially for people of color, according to interviews with current and former staff members and internal documents obtained by the New York Times. Since 2011, at least seven employees have filed formal complaints against Dr. Lucica Ditiu, executive director of Stop TB, a global partnership of 1,700 groups focused on preventing tuberculosis, the Times has found. … The accusations of misconduct against Dr. Ditiu threaten to paralyze the partnership and upend the worldwide campaign to control TB at a perilous moment. Many experts fear that progress against the disease has stalled as lockdowns to stop the coronavirus have interrupted care and deliveries of medicines for tuberculosis patients in Africa and Asia…” (Mandavilli, 9/12).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: Responses to climate disasters must be LGBTQ-inclusive, experts say (Root, 9/11).

Quartz Africa: Scientists in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and U.S. have developed a $1 test for Ebola and Lassa virus (Edward-Ekpu, 9/14).

U.N. News: Lebanon: Working on the ground to meet basic needs of Beirut’s women and girls (9/13).

VOA News: U.N., IRC Step Up Emergency Aid to Flood-Devastated Sudan (Schlein, 9/11).

Devex: Mauricio Claver-Carone overcomes regional opposition to become first American IDB president (Welsh, 9/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Address Various Topics Related To COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Surge Of Cases In India, Applying Disaster Response Lens To Pandemic Preparedness, Vaccine Development

Foreign Affairs: India’s Out-of-Control Pandemic
T. Jacob John, pediatrician, virologist, former director of the Indian Council of Medical Research’s Centre for Advanced Research (Virology), and former director of the National AIDS Reference Center at the Christian Medical College (9/11).

Foreign Policy: Don’t Let Health Hold Women Back
Shannon Kellman, deputy policy director at Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (9/11).

The Hill: A deadly mix: Disasters accelerate coronavirus spread
Audrey Sullivan, coronavirus response lead, and Carrie Taneyhill, director of humanitarian response, both at Corus International (9/13).

Science: Trump lied about science
H. Holden Thorp, editor-in-chief of Science Journals (9/11).

Wall Street Journal: How ‘Emergency Use’ Can Help Roll Out a Covid Vaccine
Scott Gottlieb and Mark McClellan, former FDA commissioners (9/13).

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Opinion Pieces Address Global Food Security Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Devex: Opinion: Why nutrition resilience is key to better food systems in the COVID-19 era
Lynn Brown, director of alliances and policy at HarvestPlus (9/10).

The Hill: Global food security: When America leads, lives are saved
Sam Worthington, CEO of InterAction (9/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Podcast, Press Releases Address Various Topics Related To COVID-19, Including Mobile Technology For Women's Empowerment, Vaccines, Country Responses, Global Fund's 2020 Results Report

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “The Optimist”: The pandemic is forcing us all online. Can self-help and savings groups for low-income women go digital, too? (9/11).

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Coronavirus Crisis Update: Heidi Larson — Time to Reset our Thinking on Vaccines
J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president and director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center (9/10).

Global Citizen: 5 Countries That Are Getting COVID-19 Responses Right
Sophie Partridge-Hicks, editorial intern at Global Citizen (9/11).

The Global Fund: Global Fund Partnership Has Saved 38 Million Lives — but COVID-19 Could Wipe Out Progress (9/14).

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: WHO website lists nine Phase 3 vaccine candidate protocols around the world
Daniel Lucey, infectious diseases physician, adjunct professor of infectious diseases at Georgetown University Medical Center, senior scholar at the Georgetown University O’Neill Institute, anthropology research associate at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America Global Health Committee (9/11).

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FAO DG Discusses Priority Areas For Strengthening Agrifood Systems Amid COVID-19 During G20 Agriculture, Water Ministers Meeting

FAO: FAO to continue to support G20 to address the pandemic and strengthen agri-food systems
“The FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu [Saturday] participated in the G20’s Agriculture and Water Ministers meeting, hosted virtually by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and presented several priority areas in which FAO can support G20 countries and the international community to strengthen agrifood systems and recover from the impacts of COVID-19…” (9/12).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC's Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal Publishes Pieces On COVID-19 Transmission, Impacts On TB Services

CDC’s “Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal”: Letter: COVID-19 Outbreak Associated with Air Conditioning in Restaurant, Guangzhou, China, 2020
Ana M. Rule, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (November 2020).

CDC’s “Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal”: Worldwide Effects of Coronavirus Disease Pandemic on Tuberculosis Services, January-April 2020
Giovanni Battista Migliori of the Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri IRCCS, and colleagues (November 2020).

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From KFF

KFF Releases Side-by-Side Comparing Trump, Biden On COVID-19 Actions, Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

KFF: Comparing Trump and Biden on COVID-19
This issue brief compares President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on their records, actions, and proposals related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes a general overview of their respective approaches, followed by a detailed side-by-side (9/11).

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of September 14, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (9/14).

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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