KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

156 Countries, Including 64 High-Income Nations, Agree To COVAX Vaccine Allocation Plan; WHO Releases Details Of Phased Vaccine Distribution

The Guardian: ‘Landmark moment’: 156 countries agree to Covid vaccine allocation deal
“A coalition of 156 countries has agreed [to] a ‘landmark’ deal to enable the rapid and equitable global distribution of any new coronavirus vaccines to 3% of participating countries’ populations, to protect vulnerable health care systems, frontline health workers, and those in social care settings. The Covid-19 vaccine allocation plan — co-led by the World Health Organization and known as Covax — has been set up to ensure that the research, purchase, and distribution of any new vaccine is shared equally between the world’s richest countries and those in the developing world…” (Beaumont, 9/21).

STAT: 64 high-income nations join effort to expand global access to Covid-19 vaccines, but U.S. and China do not
“…Not among the countries: the United States, which had previously said it is not taking part in the so-called COVAX Facility, or Russia nor China, both of which have already issued emergency use licenses for Covid-19 vaccines. … The initiative is being organized by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, in addition to the WHO. The Trump administration cited the involvement of the WHO, which it plans [its] withdrawal from by next July, as its reason for not participating…” (Branswell, 9/21).

Washington Post: World Health Organization unveils plan for distributing coronavirus vaccine, urges cooperation
“…Under the plan, rich and poor countries pool money to provide manufacturers with volume guarantees for a slate of vaccine candidates. The idea is to discourage hoarding and focus on vaccinating high-risk people in every participating country first. … A proposed allocation framework, published Monday, addresses a question critical to every country: Once there’s a safe and effective vaccine, how do you divvy it up? The WHO’s answer is a two-phase plan that will be closely studied and assessed…” (Rauhala, 9/21).

Additional coverage of COVAX is available from Bloomberg, CIDRAP News, France 24, Reuters, Science, U.N. News, VOA News, and Xinhua.

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World Leaders Mark 75th Anniversary Of U.N.; SG Guterres Calls For Multilateralism Amid Pandemic, Discord Between U.S., China

AP: Born to prevent war, U.N. at 75 faces a deeply polarized world
“The United Nations marked its 75th anniversary Monday with its chief urging leaders of an increasingly polarized, go-it-alone world to work together and preserve the organization’s most important success since its founding: avoiding a military confrontation between the major global powers. Secretary-General António Guterres’ appeal for a revival of multilateralism — the foundation of the United Nations — was echoed by leaders of countries large and small, rich and poor…” (Lederer, 9/22).

Reuters: World leaders mark U.N. at 75, challenged by pandemic and U.S., China tensions
“World leaders came together, virtually, on Monday to mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, as the deadly coronavirus pandemic and tensions between the United States and China challenge the effectiveness and solidarity of the 193-member body. … The pandemic has exposed the world’s fragilities, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said. ‘Today we have a surplus of multilateral challenges and a deficit of multilateral solutions,’ he said…” (Nichols/Gumrukcu, 9/21).

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Impacts From COVID-19 Could Worsen Into 2021, Beyond, U.N. Relief Coordinator, Health Experts Predict

Devex: COVID-19 effects could deteriorate into 2021 and beyond, U.N.’s Mark Lowcock says
“The pandemic’s ripple effects on humanitarian emergencies and backsliding development trends are going to worsen over the next few years as crises burn ‘fiercer than ever,’ United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock warned ahead of the U.N. General Assembly opening session this week. The risk of famines and the spread of extremist groups are both increasing, Lowcock told Devex Editor-in-Chief Raj Kumar in a recent interview…” (Lieberman, 9/21).

New York Times: ‘We May Be Surprised Again’: An Unpredictable Pandemic Takes a Terrible Toll
“It is a staggering toll, almost 200,000 people dead from the coronavirus in the United States, and nearly five times that many — close to one million people — around the world. And the pandemic, which sent cases spiking skyward in many countries and then trending downward after lockdowns, has reached a precarious point. Will countries like the United States see the virus continue to slow in the months ahead? Or is a new surge on the way?…” (Romero et al., 9/20).

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House Republicans Blame China, WHO For Spread Of Novel Coronavirus In Report, Call For Tedros's Resignation

Fox News: Coronavirus pandemic likely ‘could have been prevented’ if China, WHO acted differently, report says
“The coronavirus pandemic likely ‘could have been prevented’ if the Chinese government acted more transparently and the World Health Organization wasn’t ‘complicit in the spread and normalization’ of their propaganda during the outbreak’s early days, an audit from the House Foreign Affairs Committee reportedly says…” (Norman, 9/21).

The Hill: House Republicans blame Chinese cover-up for coronavirus pandemic
“…The 96-page report builds on interim findings released in June by Republicans, and largely backs President Trump’s argument that the COVID-19 pandemic could have been prevented if not for the actions of China. The report accuses China and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of destroying evidence, suppressing information about the virus spread, and failing to notify the world of the first cases of the disease … under obligations of International Health Regulations…” (Kelly, 9/21).

New York Post: China, WHO could have helped prevent COVID-19 pandemic: congressional report
“…Had China been more transparent and proactive when the first signs of the burgeoning health crisis emerged in Wuhan in late 2019, the outbreak could have been largely contained — potentially saving hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide, the pols wrote. … Allegedly aiding and abetting the breakdown was the WHO itself and its director-general, Tedros Adhanom, according to the lawmakers, who called for Tedros’ resignation…” (Bowden, 9/21).

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CDC Retracts Guidance On Coronavirus Transmission, Raising Concerns Over Political Motivation; WHO Policy On Aerosol Transmission Not Changed, Agency Notes

The Hill: CDC causes new storm by pulling coronavirus guidance
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday retracted new guidance on how the coronavirus spreads, raising questions about whether the guidelines were removed for political reasons. The CDC on Friday published guidance indicating that the novel coronavirus could spread through aerosol droplets, acknowledging that the virus could transmit beyond six feet and suggesting that proper indoor ventilation is a key way to slow the spread of the virus. … The update was not publicly announced, but it was first noticed by CNN on Sunday. By Monday morning, the agency had removed the language on airborne spread from its website and reverted to the previous guidance…” (Weixel, 9/21).

Reuters: WHO says no change to COVID-19 transmission guidance after U.S. draft change
“The World Health Organization has not changed its policy on aerosol transmission of the coronavirus, it said on Monday after U.S. health officials published draft new guidance by mistake warning that it can spread through airborne particles…” (Nebehay et al., 9/21).

Washington Post: No matter what the CDC says, here’s why many scientists think the coronavirus is airborne
“…Sudden flip-flops on public guidance is antithetical to the CDC’s own rules for crisis management. After disastrous communications during the 2001 anthrax attacks — when white powder in envelopes sparked widespread panic — the agency created a 450-page manual outlining how U.S. leaders should talk to the public during crises. Protecting vulnerable people from a virus that is infecting millions depends on U.S. leaders issuing clear public-health instructions and the public’s trust to follow directions that could save their lives…” (Guarino et al., 9/21).

Additional coverage of the CDC’s reversal is available from CNBC, TIME, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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Experimental Coronavirus Vaccines Not Yet Being Tested In Children; Childhood Vaccinations Drop From 84% Coverage To 70%, Study Shows

New York Times: A Covid-19 Vaccine for Children May Not Arrive Before Fall 2021
“The pandemic has many parents asking two burning questions. First, when can I get a vaccine? And second, when can my kids get it? It may come as a surprise that the answers are not the same. Adults may be able to get a vaccine by next summer. But their kids will have to wait longer. Perhaps a lot longer. Thanks to the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed and other programs, a number of Covid-19 vaccines for adults are already in advanced clinical trials. But no trials have yet begun in the United States to determine whether these vaccines are safe and effective for children…” (Zimmer, 9/21).

NPR: How Bad Has The Pandemic Been For Childhood Vaccinations?
“…Back in the 1970s, fewer than 5% of those children [in poor countries] were getting basic vaccinations. Last year their coverage was above 80%. Then the pandemic hit — grounding planes that transport vaccines, sidelining health workers who administer them, prompting parents to stop taking their children for checkups out of fear they’d get infected with the coronavirus at the doctor’s office. So [Stephen Lim and his colleagues at the University of Washington] wanted to figure it out — just how big of an impact on vaccinations has all this been having? … The results are alarming: Compared to last year, the percentage of kids worldwide who got their basic vaccines has dropped from 84% to 70%…” (Aizenman/Silver, 9/21).

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Experts Praise Africa's COVID-19 Response; India, Pakistan Increase Remdesivir Production; New Virus Hospital Opens In Yemen; NIH Communications Employee Departs After Anonymous Posts Attacking U.S. Health Officials

AFRICA

AP: As rich nations struggle, Africa’s virus response is praised (Anna, 9/22).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Coronavirus rumors and regulations mar Burkina Faso’s malaria fight (Mednick, 9/21).

ASIA

Financial Times: India and Pakistan ramp up remdesivir production under Gilead deal (Findlay, 9/21).

Reuters: Philippines’ Duterte eases overseas travel ban on health workers (Lema/Morales, 9/21).

Washington Post: As infections ebb, Japan hopes it has cracked the covid code on coexisting with the virus (Denyer, 9/19).

EUROPE

AP: Poland seeks more flu vaccines amid shortage during pandemic (Gera, 9/22).

Reuters: Exclusive: E.U. in early talks with Italy’s ReiThera over potential vaccine supply deal — source (Parodi et al., 9/21).

Washington Post: Britain could face 50,000 coronavirus cases per day by mid-October, top government scientists warn (Adam, 9/21).

WIRED: Could a Century-Old TB Shot Protect Against Other Respiratory Diseases? (Vaidyanathan, 9/21).

LATIN AMERICA

The Guardian: Covid warnings ring out as Latin America bids to return to normality (Daniels et al., 9/19).

MIDDLE EAST

AP: Yemen gets new virus hospital after other facilities close (Olsen, 9/22).

NORTH AMERICA

Daily Beast: A Notorious COVID Troll Actually Works for Dr. Fauci’s Agency (Markay, 9/21).

New York Times: NIH Official Departs After Anonymous Posts Attacking Public Health Leaders (Montague, 9/21).

PRI: Atul Gawande: With right ‘political environment,’ U.S. can control the coronavirus (Hackel, 9/21).

STAT: Joe Biden’s campaign-trail challenge: Casting doubt on a Trump vaccine without fueling broader vaccine skepticism (Facher, 9/22).

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More News In Global Health

The Atlantic: The Core Lesson of the COVID-19 Heart Debate (Yong, 9/21).

Devex: Q&A: Kenya’s second go at a reproductive health bill (Jerving, 9/22).

Devex: How globaldev communications survived lockdown (Worley, 9/22).

Devex: Q&A: The best antidote to COVID-19? A collective approach (9/21).

Devex: NGOs accused of hiding misconduct behind gag orders (Smith, 9/21).

Reuters: Exclusive: Study suggests dengue may provide some immunity against COVID-19 (Fonesca/Eisenhammer, 9/21).

STAT: The Road Ahead: Charting the coronavirus pandemic over the next 12 months — and beyond (Joseph, 9/22).

STAT: The world is racing toward Covid-19 drugs. In normal times, it takes years to get new antivirals out the door (Silverman, 9/21).

Xinhua: U.N. agencies launch polio vaccination drive in Somalia (9/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Address Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including HIV, CoV Interactions; Investing In Maternal, Neonatal, Child Health; Ethics Of Vaccine Trials

The Conversation: COVID-19 and HIV: so far it seems the outcome is not what was feared
Burtram C. Fielding, professor and director of research development at the University of the Western Cape (9/21).

Foreign Affairs: An Asian Pandemic Success Story
Swee Kheng Khor, visiting fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia and senior visiting fellow at the U.N. University International Institute for Global Health, and David Heymann, distinguished fellow in the Global Health Programme at Chatham House and professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (9/21).

The Lancet Public Health: Building resilient societies after COVID-19: the case for investing in maternal, neonatal, and child health
Chandni Maria Jacob, senior research assistant at the University of Southampton, and colleagues (9/21).

Project Syndicate: The Meaning of 200,000 COVID-19 Deaths
Alexander Friedman, co-founder of Jackson Hole Economics (9/22).

STAT: If donating a kidney to a stranger is ethical and allowable, taking part in a Covid-19 challenge trial should be, too
Sam Beyda, altruistic kidney donor and student at Columbia University, and Abigail Marsh, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Georgetown University (9/22).

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Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Importance Of Investing In Development; Africa's Polio-Free Status; U.N's 75th Anniversary; Other Global Health Topics

Devex: Opinion: Why development matters
J. Brian Atwood, visiting professor for international studies and public affairs at Brown University’s Thomas Watson Institute for International Studies and professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and Paula Garcia Tufro, project director at the U.S. Institute of Peace (9/21).

IPS: SDGs: It’s Not Just About Collecting Data, it’s What You Do With it
Tim Mohin, chief executive of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) (9/21).

The Lancet Global Health: A historic achievement in a year of turmoil
Editorial Board (October 2020).

The Lancet Global Health: Launching the Kofi Annan Global Health Leadership Programme
John N. Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and colleagues (October 2020).

Project Syndicate: Celebrating 75 Years of the United Nations
José Antonio Ocampo, professor at Columbia University and chair of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT) (9/21).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Releases Address Various Topics Related To COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Vaccines; Implications For Malaria, Cholera; U.S. Response

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: 193 Faith Leaders Urge Congress for Global COVID-19 Response (9/21).

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Four steps to build trust in COVID-19 vaccines
Daniel R. Lucey, infectious diseases physician and 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 (9/21).

International Rescue Committee: Deadly malaria and cholera outbreaks grow amongst refugees as COVID pandemic strains health systems, warns IRC (9/22).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: COVID-19 in malaria-endemic regions: potential consequences for malaria intervention coverage, morbidity, and mortality
Miranda I. Teboh-Ewungkem, professor of practice in the Department of Mathematics at Lehigh University, and Gideon A. Ngwa, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Buea (9/21).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on malaria intervention coverage, morbidity, and mortality in Africa: a geospatial modeling analysis
Daniel J. Weiss of the Telethon Kids Institute at Perth Children’s Hospital and colleagues (9/21).

Pew Research Center: Americans give the U.S. low marks for its handling of COVID-19, and so do people in other countries
John Gramlich, senior writer/editor at the Pew Research Center (9/21).

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CGD Experts Discuss Benefits, Challenges Of Vertical Health Programs

Center for Global Development: Getting to Convergence: How ‘Vertical’ Health Programs Add Up to A Health System
Amanda Glassman, executive vice president of CGD, CEO of CGD Europe, and senior fellow at CGD, and colleagues discuss the benefits and financial challenges of channeling funding through vertical disease programs — programs that typically focus on one disease — into a universal health system approach (9/21).

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While Gains In HIV Testing, Treatment Have Been Made, Global 90-90-90 Targets Unlikely To Be Met, UNAIDS Says

UNAIDS: 90-90-90: good progress, but the world is off-track for hitting the 2020 targets
“…Globally, there have been remarkable gains across the HIV testing and treatment cascade. At the end of 2019, 81% of people living with HIV knew their HIV status, and more than two thirds (67%) were on antiretroviral therapy … Gains in treatment effectiveness, as well as increases in the number of people who know their status and are on treatment, are reflected in the fact that viral load suppression levels among all people living with HIV increased by 18 percentage points between 2015 and 2019. Almost 59% of people living with HIV globally had suppressed viral loads in 2019. However, achieving the 90-90-90 targets results in a minimum of 73% of people living with HIV having suppressed viral loads, so the global target for the end of 2020 is unlikely to be met. The COVID-19 pandemic also could have an impact on viral load. Early modeling showed that a severe disruption in HIV treatment could result in additional AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa…” (9/21).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Releases September 2020 Issue Of Innovation And Impact Newsletter

USAID: Innovation and Impact Newsletter — September 2020
The latest issue of USAID’s Innovation and Impact Newsletter features an article on the launch of the Global Health Innovation Index, which assesses “the breadth of health innovations across sectors, geographies, and disciplines.” The issue also highlights past and upcoming events and provides a news round-up of articles on various development and global health innovations (September 2020).

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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 September 22, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (9/22).

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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