KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

E.U. To Host Global Health Summit Next Year, Proposes Building Biomedical Research Agency, European Commission President Says

AP: E.U. wants better coordination on virus, announces summit
“European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that the bloc must rise above its fragmented approach on dealing with the coronavirus by centralizing more decision-making on health issues. She also told E.U. legislators that Italy will host a global health summit next year, during its G20 presidency…” (9/16).

Reuters: E.U. to build biomedical agency, convene health summit, says Von der Leyen
“The European Union will build its own agency for biomedical research and convene a global health summit in Italy next year in a bid to be better prepared for future pandemics, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday. Von der Leyen said she would propose reinforcing the European Medicines Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, as well as creating a European agency for biomedical advanced research and development…” (Blenkinsop, 9/16).

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New U.N. General Assembly President Calls For Multilateralism In Face Of Pandemic, To Hold High-Level Special Session On COVID-19

AP: U.N. assembly chief: unilateralism will strengthen pandemic
“The new president of the U.N. General Assembly warned Tuesday that unilateralism will only strengthen the COVID-19 pandemic and called for a new commitment to global cooperation, including on the fair and equitable distribution of vaccines. Turkish diplomat and politician Volkan Bozkir announced that the General Assembly will hold a high-level special session on the COVID-19 pandemic in early November, though diplomats said the date may slip. He told a press conference later it would have been better to hold the meeting at an earlier time in the pandemic, suggesting June…” (Lederer, 9/16).

Additional coverage of the U.N. General Assembly meeting and the U.N.’s 75th birthday is available from Reuters, The Telegraph, and U.N. News.

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HHS Appointee Caputo Apologizes To Staff, Hints At Medical Leave; STAT Examines Political Influence At CDC, Director Redfield's Tenure

POLITICO: Caputo apologizes to HHS staff, signals desire for medical leave
“The health department’s top spokesperson Michael Caputo called an emergency staff meeting on Tuesday to apologize for drawing negative attention to the Trump administration’s health care strategy and signaled that he might be soon departing his role, according to five people with knowledge of the meeting. … Caputo told staffers that his series of false accusations on Facebook Live this weekend — which included unfounded allegations that the Centers for Disease Control was harboring a ‘resistance unit’ — reflected poorly on HHS’ communications office. He blamed his recent behavior on a combination of physical health issues and the toll of fielding death threats against his family. Caputo also acknowledged that he had never read one of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, despite his team’s ongoing efforts to try to edit those documents. Caputo told staff that he is scheduled to meet with HHS Secretary Alex Azar later Tuesday, the people with knowledge of the meeting said…” (Cancryn et al., 9/15).

STAT: As controversies swirl, CDC director is seen as allowing agency to buckle to political influence
“In his first address to the staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield called the Atlanta-based agency ‘the best science-based, data-driven agency in the world.’ … Now, 2 1/2 years into his tenure, the storied agency finds itself in new and treacherous waters, its reputation stained, and the morale of its staff at a historic low, current and former CDC insiders told STAT. Many say Redfield is not doing enough to safeguard the reputation of the CDC and the integrity of its work, and that he is failing to successfully fend off political interference that is eroding Americans’ trust in the organization…” (Branswell, 9/16).

Additional coverage of Caputo’s apology is available from ABC News, CNN, New York Times, and Washington Post.

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School Closures Should Be Last Resort In COVID-19 Response, U.N. Agencies, Partners Say; U.N. Officials Address Other Aspects Of Pandemic

CNBC: At least 24 million students could drop out of school due to the coronavirus pandemic, U.N. says
“The disruption to schools caused by the coronavirus pandemic constitutes a ‘global education emergency’ that threatens to derail the education of at least 24 million students projected to drop out of school as a result, said Henrietta Fore, executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund…” (Feuer, 9/16).

The Telegraph: Schools should only close as a ‘last resort,’ WHO insists
“Schools should only close as a last resort, the head of the World Health Organization has said, as research shows that half of students around the world have still not returned to the classroom. … [T]he latest data show that 872 million children in 51 countries are still unable to go back to the classroom. And one in four countries have not yet specified a date for when schools will reopen…” (Gulland, 9/15).

U.N. News: More research needed into COVID-19 effects on children, says WHO head
“More research is needed into factors that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 disease among children and adolescents, the head of the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) has said, adding that while children may have largely been spared many of the most severe effects, they have suffered in other ways…” (9/16).

Additional coverage of U.N. agencies’ and officials’ comments on COVID-19 among children and other issues related to the pandemic is available from CIDRAP News, Devex, NPR, Reuters (2), and Xinhua.

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Japan Commits $165M To COVAX; Germany Invests In Domestic Coronavirus Vaccine R&D Efforts; Half Of Tests Positive In Argentina; NIH To Investigate Serious Side Effect In Vaccine Trial

AFRICA

Al Jazeera: TV replaces teachers for African children amid coronavirus curbs (9/15).

BBC News: Coronavirus in Africa: Explaining the bogus ‘viral blockers’ worn by some politicians (Adegoke, 9/15).

Borgen Magazine: COVID-19 in Liberia: Learning From the Ebola Virus (Wallace, 9/16).

Xinhua: WHO’s COVID-19 health supplies reach Libya (9/16).

ASIA

Bloomberg: Why Indonesia Became a Testing Ground for a Chinese Covid-19 Vaccine (Suhartono/Dong, 9/15).

The Hill: Australian state easing pandemic restrictions (Budryk, 9/15).

Reuters: In coronavirus vaccine race, China inoculates thousands before trials are completed (Stanway et al., 9/15).

Reuters: Japan commits $165 million to WHO’s global coronavirus vaccine program (Swift, 9/15).

EUROPE

AP: U.K. to ration COVID-19 testing amid testing failures (Kirka, 9/16).

The Hill: Berlin pumping hundreds of millions of euros into German COVID-19 vaccine developers (Deese, 9/15).

New York Times: Even as Cases Rise, Europe Is Learning to Live With the Coronavirus (Onishi et al., 9/15).

Reuters: Germany won’t take risky short-cuts on COVID-19 vaccines: minister (Copley/Seythal, 9/15).

LATIN AMERICA & CARIBBEAN

Reuters: Brazil authorizes additional 5,000 volunteers for AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (Boadle, 9/15).

Reuters: Testing positive: half of Argentina’s coronavirus checks yield infection (Jourdan, 9/14).

Reuters: Cuba punches above weight with ‘white coat army’ during pandemic (Marsh et al., 9/14).

MIDDLE EAST

TIME: How Israel Became the First Rich Country to Go Into a Second Nationwide Coronavirus Lockdown (Hincks, 9/15).

NORTH AMERICA

Bloomberg: Biden Team Crafts 2021 Vaccine Logistics Amid Distrust of Trump (9/15).

The Hill: Trump defends claim coronavirus will disappear, citing ‘herd mentality’ (Chalfant, 9/15).

Los Angeles Times: NIH is ‘very concerned’ about serious side effect in coronavirus vaccine trial (Allen/Szabo, 9/15).

STAT: Top health official echoes Trump’s Covid-19 views, drawing accusations of politicizing U.S. mental health agency (Insinger, 9/15).

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News Outlets Continue Coverage Of Gates Foundation's 2020 Goalkeepers Report, Related Interviews

Axios: Melinda Gates sees social media ‘reckoning’ in the post-COVID world (Fried, 9/15).

CBS News: Bill Gates questions FDA’s credibility on COVID-19 vaccine (Gibson, 9/16).

The Hill: Bill Gates: CDC being ‘written out of the picture’ on coronavirus (Coleman, 9/15).

The Hill: Bill Gates urges Congress to spend $4B for COVID-19 vaccines in poor countries (Deese, 9/15).

The Telegraph: How the pandemic set global development back ’25 years in just 25 weeks’ (Newey/Nuki, 9/15).

TIME: The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Erased Decades of Progress on Childhood Vaccination (Ducharme, 9/15).

Quartz: Bill Gates says rich countries need to ensure Covid-19 vaccines can be made globally (Foley, 9/15).

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Yemen Faces Famine, U.N. Humanitarian Chief Warns, Singling Out Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait For Lack Of Aid

AP: U.N. warns of Yemen famine, no aid from Saudis, UAE, Kuwait
“The U.N. humanitarian chief warned Tuesday that ‘the specter of famine’ has returned to conflict-torn Yemen and for the first time singled out Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait for giving nothing to this year’s $3.4 billion appeal. Mark Lowcock told the U.N. Security Council that famine in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, was averted two years ago because donors swiftly met 90% of the U.N.’s funding requirements, enabling humanitarian agencies to increase monthly aid from 8 million to 12 million people and save ‘millions of lives.’ Today, he said, the U.N. appeal has received only 30%, about $1 billion, leaving 9 million Yemenis to cope with deepening cuts to aid programs including food, water, and health care…” (Lederer, 9/15).

Additional coverage of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is available from CNN and U.N. News.

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More News In Global Health

Devex: Audit finds E.U. aid to Kenya lacked impact (Chadwick, 9/16).

Devex: A humanitarian emergency is bound to occur. What could a pandemic-era response look like? (Lieberman, 9/16).

Devex: Shinzo Abe’s development legacy for Japan is here to stay (Ravelo/Cornish, 9/16).

Devex: When are sewers the best option for improved sanitation? (Root, 9/16).

DW: Why polio continues to be a health risk in Pakistan (Javed, 9/15).

Reuters: Vaccine developer Moderna could slow COVID-19 trials to add at-risk minorities (Banerjee et al., 9/15).

Reuters: Pfizer says late-stage coronavirus vaccine study shows moderate side effects (Mishra, 9/15).

Science: Spread of city-loving malaria mosquitoes could pose grave threat to Africa (El-Said, 9/15).

Scientific American: Population Density Does Not Doom Cities to Pandemic Dangers (Hsu, 9/16).

U.N. News: U.N. report highlights links between ‘unprecedented biodiversity loss’ and spread of disease (9/15).

Vox: A new study from Rwanda is the latest evidence for just giving people money (Piper, 9/15).

Washington Post: William Gates Sr., a guiding hand of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, dies at 94 (Bernstein, 9/15).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Address Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Need To Protect Gains, Sustain Momentum On Other Diseases; Potential Benefits Of Joining COVAX; Importance Of International Research Collaboration

Devex: Opinion: COVID-19 is a turning point for infectious diseases
Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (9/16).

Foreign Affairs: America Needs to Lock Down Again
Michael T. Osterholm, Regents professor and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, and Mark Olshaker, writer and documentary filmmaker (9/16).

Foreign Policy: Joining COVAX Could Save American Lives
Eric A. Friedman, global health justice scholar at the O’Neill Institute and project leader for the Platform for a Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH), and colleagues (9/15).

Nature: Keep collaboration open when doors are closing
Editorial Board (9/15).

Nature: Study the role of hubris in nations’ COVID-19 response
Martha Lincoln, cultural and medical anthropologist and assistant professor at San Francisco State University, California (9/15).

Project Syndicate: The COVID Silver Linings Playbook
Mohamed A. El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz, president elect of Queens’ College, senior adviser at Gramercy, and part-time practice professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (9/15).

Scientific American: We Can’t Allow the CDC to Be Tainted by Politics
Richard E. Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (9/15).

USA TODAY: 3 billion people can’t wash their hands in COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s how we plan to help
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), founders and co-chairs of the Congressional International Water and Sanitation Caucus (9/15).

Washington Post: Nobody wants vaccine trials to fail. But they just might
Peter G. Lurie, president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (9/15).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

At 75th UNGA, WHO Calls For Equitable Access To COVID-19 Tools, Maintaining Momentum Toward SDGs, Pandemic Preparedness

WHO: WHO’s three messages for UN75
“As the world comes together at an unprecedented virtual session of the 75th U.N. General Assembly (UNGA), WHO has three messages to share. The first is about equitable access to COVID-19 tools. … The second message is about maintaining the momentum towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. … Finally, we must prepare for the next pandemic together, now…” (9/15).

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CGD Publishes Blog Posts On Various Aspects Of COVID-19, Including Machine Learning For Health Care Resource Allocation In LMICs, Cash Transfers, Estimating Net Health Impact Of COVID-19 Policies

Center for Global Development: Using Machine Learning for Healthcare Resource Allocation in COVID-19: Opportunities and Challenges for LMICs
Anukrat Bhansali and Vageesh Jain, non-resident fellow at CGD (9/15).

Center for Global Development: The Case for Cash — Beyond COVID — Gains Strength: New Data on Comparative Cost-Effectiveness
Sarah Rose, policy fellow at CGD (9/15).

Center for Global Development: An Expanded Tool to Estimate the Net Health Impact of COVID-19 Policies
Damien Walker, non-resident fellow at CGD, and colleagues (9/15).

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Cato Institute Releases Policy Papers On Government Failures, Health Care Reform Amid COVID-19

Cato Institute: COVID-19: A Case Study of Government Failure
Charles Silver, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and Roy W. and Eugenia C. McDonald endowed chair in civil procedure at the University of Texas School of Law, and David A. Hyman, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and professor of law at Georgetown University (9/15).

Cato Institute: Reform Regulation of Health Care Providers
Jeffrey A. Singer, senior fellow at the Cato Institute (9/15).

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Feed The Future Aims To Use Innovation To Strengthen Food Security

Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ “Global Food For Thought”: Feed the Future Grows Food Security through Innovation and Collaboration
Julia Whiting, research associate at the Chicago Council, discusses the role of Feed the Future Innovation Labs in strengthening both the domestic and global food systems (9/15).

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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 16, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (9/16).

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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