KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

World Leaders At UNGA Plead For Accessible, Affordable COVID-19 Vaccine, Discuss Pandemic Impacts

AP: ‘Are people to be left to die?’ Vaccine pleas fill U.N. summit
“…Many world leaders at this week’s virtual U.N. summit hope [there] will be a vaccine made available and affordable to all countries, rich and poor. But with the U.S., China, and Russia opting out of a collaborative effort to develop and distribute a vaccine, and some rich nations striking deals with pharmaceutical companies to secure millions of potential doses, the U.N. pleas are plentiful but likely in vain…” (Anna, 9/24).

AP: Venezuela’s Maduro blasts U.S. in speech to world leaders (Armario, 9/24).

AP: Trudeau says Canada is in a second COVID-19 wave (Gillies, 9/23).

U.N. News: Pandemic has exposed need for better cooperation mechanisms in crisis situations, Colombian President tells U.N. (9/22).

U.N. News: ‘COVID-19 has exposed our past mistakes and failures’ says Kazakhstan President (9/23).

U.N. News: At U.N. General Assembly, Philippines’ Duterte denounces groups ‘weaponizing’ human rights (9/22).

U.N. News: South African President warns pandemic has set back African development (9/22).

U.N. News: Sri Lankan President calls on WHO to facilitate ‘universal access’ to COVID vaccine (9/23).

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Women's Participation Missing At UNGA, In COVID-19 Reporting, Observers, Report Say

Devex: Observers are wondering during UNGA week: Where are all the women?
“…The virtual transformation of the U.N. General Assembly’s opening 75th session has, in some ways, made the forums more accessible and inclusive. Without having to worry about traveling to New York for the action-packed week, many more people can attend. … But at the ministerial level, the sudden reliance on prerecorded video speeches from world leaders during the General Assembly has had another consequence: Women have a noticeably diminished presence…” (Lieberman, 9/23).

The Guardian: Female voices ‘drowned out’ in reporting on Covid-19, report finds
“Women’s voices have been ‘worryingly marginalized’ in reporting of the coronavirus, partly due to the war-like framing of the pandemic, according to a report analyzing stories across six countries. Each woman’s voice in news coverage of the crisis is ‘drowned out’ by at least three men, it said. The report, commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and examining the U.K., U.S., Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, and India, said women have been ‘locked out’ of coronavirus decision making at a national level in five of the countries…” (McVeigh, 9/24).

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U.S. Health Officials Testify Before Senate Panel On COVID-19, Urge Americans To Trust Science; Trump Calls Proposed FDA Guidance On Emergency Coronavirus Vaccine 'Political Move'; Birx Sees Diminished Role On White House Task Force

CNN: A ‘distressed’ Birx questions how long she can remain on White House task force, sources say
“Once a fixture at the administration’s coronavirus briefings, Dr. Deborah Birx has confided to aides and friends that she has become so unhappy with what she sees as her diminished role as coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force that she is not certain how much longer she can serve in her position, sources familiar with her thinking tell CNN…” (Acosta, 9/23).

Financial Times: U.S. health officials downplay hopes of pre-election vaccine
“Two top U.S. public health officials have played down the chances of having a coronavirus vaccine before the election, despite President Donald Trump insisting that one would be available ‘within weeks.’ Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Stephen Hahn, Food and Drug Administration head, told Congress that drug companies still face hurdles to getting approval…” (Stacey/Sevastopulo, 9/23).

The Hill: Health officials tell public to trust in science
“Trump administration health officials on Wednesday told a Senate panel that Americans should not lose faith in public health agencies or the vaccine development process, despite a recent spate of political interference. The officials sought to defend the scientific integrity of the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic while reassuring Americans growing increasingly skeptical over the politicization of a vaccine for the virus…” (Weixel, 9/23).

Washington Post: Trump attacks FDA plan for tougher standards on emergency vaccine approval as a ‘political move’
“President Trump on Wednesday said a plan by the Food and Drug Administration to issue tough new standards for emergency approval of a coronavirus vaccine ‘sounds like a political move’ and warned that the White House might reject it. Trump said he had ‘tremendous trust in these massive companies’ developing prospective vaccines and suggested that they, not federal regulators, could best determine when a vaccine should be made available to the American people…” (Goldstein/McGinley, 9/23).

Additional coverage of U.S. health officials’ testimonies and Trump’s comments on the FDA’s proposed guidance for emergency vaccine approval is available from CNBC (2), The Hill (2), NBC News, and POLITICO (2).

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COVID-19 Cases Increase Globally; U.N., Partners Urge Action Against Coronavirus 'Infodemic'; U.N. Pledges Support For Landlocked Nations; UNDP Head Says U.N. Coronavirus Response Both Political, Operational

CIDRAP News: Steeply rising pandemic activity led by India, surges elsewhere
“The pace of global COVID-19 cases showed no letup [Wednesday], with an ongoing surge in India, some Middle East countries logging record numbers, and some European hot spots reporting more worrying developments. In other developments … global health officials warned that false information about COVID-19 is hampering the response and urged countries to do more to counter it with accurate messaging…” (Schnirring, 9/23).

Devex: COVID-19 response a tale of two U.N.s, UNDP chief says
“The COVID-19 response has, in many ways, been a story of two United Nations — the political and the operational — according to United Nations Development Programme Administrator Achim Steiner…” (Saldinger, 9/23).

U.N. News: U.N. stands ready to support landlocked nations in pandemic recovery
“The U.N. system is standing in solidarity with landlocked developing countries, which lack access to vital trade links, and supporting them in their efforts to rebuild once the global coronavirus pandemic abates, Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday…” (9/23).

U.N. News: Countries urged to act against COVID-19 ‘infodemic’
“The U.N. and partners have urged countries to take urgent action to address what they have described as the ‘infodemic’ that has surfaced in tandem with the COVID-19 pandemic, both in the real world and online. … ‘Misinformation costs lives. Without the appropriate trust and correct information, diagnostic tests go unused, immunization campaigns (or campaigns to promote effective vaccines) will not meet their targets, and the virus will continue to thrive,’ the partners said in a statement issued on Wednesday…” (9/23).

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Asia-Pacific Region Hardest-Hit By COVID-19, Climate-Related Disasters; Crisis On Venezuela-Colombia Border; Iraqi Doctors Face Threats; Mexico Has 4th Highest Death Toll


Health-e News: Gates foundation honors Africa CDC’s John Nkengasong for fight against Covid-19 pandemic (Mukwevho, 9/23).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: COVID-19 in Africa: half a year later (Makoni, October 2020).

Washington Post: Economic fallout from coronavirus leads to surge in Tunisians leaving for Europe (Parker, 9/24).


Al Jazeera: Asia Pacific hardest hit by COVID-19, climate-related disasters (9/24).

Xinhua: Confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Asia-Pacific as India records 86,508 new cases (9/24).


AP: Madrid wants military help, more doctors to fight virus wave (Parra, 9/23).

AP: Masks off: Belgium relaxes virus rules despite rise in cases (Petrequin, 9/23).

Financial Times: U.K. to test vaccines on volunteers deliberately infected with Covid-19 (Cookson, 9/23).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: The arrival of Sputnik V (Balakrishnan, October 2020).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: COVID-19 claims another victim (Burki, October 2020).


New Humanitarian: How COVID-19 has created a crisis on the Venezuela-Colombia border (Collins, 9/23).

Reuters: The ventilators never came: How graft hampered Brazil’s COVID-19 response (Slattery et al., 9/25).


Middle East Monitor: Violence mounts against Iraqi doctors as COVID cases spike (9/23).

New York Times: With Coronavirus on the Rampage, Israel Tightens Holiday Lockdown (Kershner, 9/24).


New York Times: In the Epicenter of Mexico’s Epicenter, Feeling Like a ‘Trapped Animal’ (Ahmed, 9/23).

NPR: After Aerosols Misstep, Former CDC Official Criticizes Agency Over Unclear Messaging (Doubek, 9/22).

STAT: Q&A: Vivek Murthy, a top Biden adviser, on Covid-19 vaccines, the drug industry, and the future of public health (Facher, 9/23).

Vox: 9 experts reflect on the U.S. reaching 200,000 confirmed Covid-19 deaths (Scott, 9/23).

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News Outlets Report On SARS-CoV-2 Viral, Vaccine Research, Development

AP: Drug companies work jointly to boost vaccine confidence (Kirka/Cheng, 9/24).

CBS News: When will a coronavirus vaccine really be ready? (McNamara, 9/23).

CNN: Begin Covid-19 vaccine trials for children, pediatric specialists say (Maxouris/Waldrop, 9/22).

Devex: Reaching the world’s most vulnerable poses biggest challenge for COVID-19 vaccine, experts say (Lieberman, 9/24).

STAT: Here come the tortoises: In the race for a Covid-19 vaccine, slow starters could still win out (Branswell, 9/24).

VOA News: U.S. Drugmaker Begins Late-Stage Testing of Single-Dose COVID-19 Vaccine in U.S. (9/24).

Washington Post: Massive genetic study shows coronavirus mutating and potentially evolving amid rapid U.S. spread (Mooney et al., 9/23).

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U.N. Cuts Aid To 300 Health Centers In Yemen Due To Lack Of Funding, Warns Of Further Cuts

Al Jazeera: U.N. slashes healthcare in Yemen due to lack of funding
“The United Nations said on Wednesday that critical aid was cut at 300 health centers across war-ravaged Yemen because of a lack of funding, with lifesaving food distribution also reduced. Between April and August, more than one-third of the U.N.’s important humanitarian programs in Yemen was reduced or shut down entirely, the U.N. said, warning of further drastic cuts ‘in coming weeks unless additional funding is received’…” (9/23).

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Public Sector Funds Contributed Up To 5 Times More Than J&J In Developing New TB Drug, Analysis Finds

STAT: Public funding underwrote much of the development of J&J’s drug for TB, analysis finds
“Amid ongoing debate over taxpayer dollars used to generate medicines, a new analysis contends that public investments contributed up to five times more than what Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) spent to develop Sirturo, its groundbreaking drug for tuberculosis. Public sector funds worth an estimated $455 million to $747 million were used to pay for clinical trials, tax credits, administration of a tax-deductible donation program, and a redeemable regulatory voucher, according to the analysis, published in PLoS One…” (Silverman, 9/23).

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More News In Global Health

The Atlantic: Bill Gates: The Pandemic Has Erased Years of Progress (Yong, 9/23).

Devex: How can we better protect migrant workers in the next global crisis? (Coca, 9/24).

Financial Times: U.S. warns Turkey over failure to pay foreign healthcare debts (Pitel, 9/23).

The Guardian: Internal displacements reach 15m in 2020 with worst ‘still to come’ — report (Hodal, 9/23).

Healio: Does COVID-19 endanger the fight against Ebola? (9/23).

Healio: Ebola survivors face health issues long after recovery (Stulpin, 9/23).

U.N. News: Impact on workers of COVID-19 is ‘catastrophic’: ILO (9/23).

UPI: Educational efforts increase use of HIV preventive drug in Africa by 55% (Dunleavy, 9/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Vaccine Efficacy, Roll-Out; Health Security; Impact Of Politics On Peru's Response

The Atlantic: Paging Dr. Hamblin: What If the Vaccine Works Only Half the Time?
James Hamblin, staff writer at the Atlantic, lecturer at Yale School of Public Health, co-host of Social Distance, and author (9/23).

Bloomberg: Peru’s Ugly Politics Lead to Covid Graveyard
Mac Margolis, Bloomberg Opinion columnist (9/23).

The Conversation: Coronavirus: the road to vaccine roll-out is always bumpy, as 20th-century pandemics show
Samantha Vanderslott, university research lecturer at the University of Oxford (9/23).

The Guardian: The global scale of the coronavirus disaster demands a global response
Tom Kibasi, writer and researcher on politics and economics at The Guardian (9/22).

Scientific American: What COVID-19 Reinfection Means for Vaccines
William A. Haseltine, chair and president of ACCESS Health International (9/23).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Importance Of, Ways To Strengthen Health Systems, Workforce

Devex: Opinion: 3 ways to support health care workers and strong health systems
Manoj Gopalakrishna, CEO of CARE India, and Madhu Deshmukh, interim vice president of programs and senior director for health equity and rights at CARE USA (9/22).

Devex: Opinion: Partnering for impact — how private sector partners help strengthen health systems
Fiona Smith-Laittan, vice president and head of GlaxoSmithKline’s global health unit (9/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Releases Address Various Topics Related To COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Impacts On Women, Children, Adolescents; Black Diaspora; Dengue Control; Human Rights

BMJ Opinion: The impact of covid-19 on health delivery and research in South Asia
Buddha Basnyat, director at Oxford University Clinical Research Unit-Nepal, and colleagues (9/23).

BMJ Opinion: Delivering for women, children, and adolescents during and after covid-19
Jennifer Requejo, senior adviser for health and HIV at the Division of Data, Analysis, Planning, and Monitoring at UNICEF, and colleagues (9/23).

BMJ Opinion: Richard Smith: Could Sweden have got it right with covid-19?
Richard Smith, former editor of The BMJ (9/23).

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Pandemics and the Black Diaspora: HIV and COVID-19 (Webinar) (9/23).

Google: Navigate safely with new COVID data in Google Maps
Sujoy Banerjee, product manager at Google Maps (9/23).

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: The COVID-19 pandemic should not jeopardize dengue control
Marie-Marie Olive, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Montpellier, and colleagues (9/23).

UNAIDS: By any means necessary: defending human rights in Uganda in the time of COVID-19 (9/22).

WHO: COVID-19 pandemic: countries urged to take stronger action to stop spread of harmful information (9/23).

World Bank Blogs: The World Bank’s response to COVID-19: Protect and invest in people
Mamta Murthi, World Bank vice president for Human Development (9/24).

World Economic Forum: Harnessing COVID-19’s digital dividend to finance the Sustainable Development Goals
Simon Zadek, principal with Project Catalyst at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (9/23).

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From the U.S. Government

Public-Private Partnership Aims To Strengthen Malaria Response In Sierra Leone

PMI: Test, Treat, and Track: Strengthening Malaria Response Capabilities in Sierra Leone
This post discusses a public-private partnership in Sierra Leone that aims to build capacity for testing, treating, and tracking malaria. The post notes the “public-private partnership in Sierra Leone was a collaboration between USAID’s Human Resources for Health in 2030 (HRH2030) program; the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the Pharmacy Consultancy of Sierra Leone; and the Sierra Leone National Malaria Control Program” (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 23, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (9/23).

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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