KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

USAID Set To Shutter Its Coronavirus Task Force, Delegate Functions Within Agency

POLITICO: USAID to shut down its coronavirus task force
“The U.S. Agency for International Development, which has been on the front lines of the battle with the coronavirus, is about to shut down the task force it set up to tackle the still-ongoing pandemic. The decision is being met with concerns by some who fear it will lead to greater dysfunction at USAID, which already faces personnel and structural turmoil. Others, however, say the task force was poorly managed and that its functions can be delegated. … The task force is set to be deactivated on Wednesday, according to an internal note to staffers that was shared with POLITICO. … The decision to end the task force also comes as President Donald Trump and his aides downplay the pandemic in the run-up to November’s elections…” (Toosi, 9/8).

Additional coverage of the task force’s shut down is available from The Hill.

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9 Drug Companies Pledge To Thoroughly Research Any COVID-19 Vaccine; AstraZeneca Pauses Trial After 1 Participant Experienced Adverse Event; PRI Examines COVAX Effort To Ensure Equitable Vaccine Distribution

DW: Coronavirus vaccine producers pledge to follow normal rules, as one key trial is paused
“German vaccine maker BioNTech and eight biotech companies have vowed to follow safety measures before rolling out vaccines. AstraZeneca has suspended one trial after ‘a potentially unexplained illness’ in a participant…” (9/9).

Financial Times: AstraZeneca pauses Covid-19 vaccine trial after suspected adverse event
“AstraZeneca has paused all clinical trials of the Covid-19 vaccine it is developing with Oxford University after a participant in the U.K. section of the study suffered a suspected serious adverse reaction. The U.K.-based drugmaker voluntarily put the trial on hold after the discovery of the sick participant. AstraZeneca said it was working to review the event to ensure it would not result in a significant delay to the study…” (Kuchler/Neville, 9/9).

New York Times: 9 Drug Companies Pledge to ‘Stand With Science’ on Coronavirus Vaccines
“Nine pharmaceutical companies issued a joint pledge on Tuesday that they would ‘stand with science’ and not put forward a vaccine until it had been thoroughly vetted for safety and efficacy. … President Trump has repeatedly claimed in recent weeks that a vaccine could be available before Election Day — Nov. 3 — heightening fears that his administration is politicizing the race to develop a vaccine and potentially undermining public trust in any vaccine approved…” (Thomas, 9/8).

PRI: A global initiative could ensure equitable access to a COVID-19 vaccine. Can it work?
“…[W]hen and if there is an effective vaccine, the supply could be limited. So, who gets it first? That is a critical question playing out on the world stage in a pandemic that knows no borders. … In response, a group of international organizations has set up a new initiative called COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or COVAX, to ensure fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. … COVAX is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI), the World Health Organization (WHO), and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. COVAX faces major opportunities — and hurdles — in the coming months. To compete with national interests, the initiative will require billions of dollars and the cooperation of as many countries as possible. So far at least 76 middle- and high-income countries have committed to join — but not the U.S…” (Gordon, 9/8).

Additional coverage of global efforts to develop a novel coronavirus vaccine is available from AP (2), BBC, CNN, Forbes, The Hill (2), POLITICO, Reuters, STAT, The Telegraph, UPI, USA TODAY, and Vox.

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WHO Panel Begins Review Of International Health Regulations During COVID-19 Pandemic

VOA News: WHO to Review International Health Regulations During Pandemic
“The World Health Organization (WHO) Tuesday opened the initial meeting of an international review panel established to evaluate the performance of its International Health Regulations (IHR) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The IHR were last revised in 2005 and grew out of the response to deadly epidemics that once overran Europe…” (9/8).

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Finance Ministers Meet To Solidify 'Menu' Of Post-Pandemic Recovery, Sustainable Development Policy Options

U.N. News: Finance Ministers meet to refine ‘single ambitious menu’ for COVID-19 recovery and beyond
“The U.N. Deputy Secretary-General has reminded Finance Ministers from across the world of their duty to help countries emerge from the social and economic chaos brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Amina Mohammed addressed ministers from U.N. Member States, and representatives from international institutions, during a virtual meeting on Tuesday to solidify a ‘menu’ of policy options for post-pandemic recovery and beyond, which will be presented to world leaders later this month. Although the crisis has affected everyone, Ms. Mohammed said the consequences will be worse for the world’s most vulnerable citizens…” (9/8).

Related coverage of the U.N. General Assembly’s operations during the novel coronavirus pandemic is available from U.N. News and Xinhua.

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COVID-19 Pandemic Risks Reversing Gains In Reducing Preventable Deaths Among Children, U.N. Agencies Warn

AFP/France 24: Pandemic threatens lives of millions of children: U.N.
“Disruptions to health services due to the pandemic are putting millions of additional lives at risk worldwide, the United Nations said Wednesday, warning that Covid-19 could reverse decades of progress in reducing child mortality. The past 30 years have seen remarkable strides forward in preventing or treating causes of infant deaths including premature births and pneumonia. … Last year around 5.2 million children died due to preventable illness, compared with 12.5 million in 1990. But it warned that the pandemic risked undoing all this by cutting routine child and maternal health services. A UNICEF survey across 77 countries found 68 percent reported at least some disruption in child health checks and immunizations…” (9/9).

Additional coverage of the U.N.’s warning is available from U.N. News, and an interview with Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi about the pandemic’s impacts on children is available from IPS.

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Pandemic Hits Economies Hard In South Africa, Czech Republic; ASEAN Talks Discuss COVID-19 Impacts; Americas Hold More Than Half Of Global Deaths

AFRICA

Markets Insider: South Africa’s GDP plunges over 50% as COVID-19’s ‘punch in the gut’ triggers the steepest decline since 1960 (Nagarajan, 9/8).

ASIA

AP: ASEAN talks tackle pandemic, sea feud amid U.S.-China rivalry (Dinh et al., 9/9).

UPI: North Korea’s silence on pandemic arouses skepticism in South (Shim, 9/9).

EUROPE

AP: U.K. government tries to sharpen virus message in England (Pylas, 9/9).

Reuters: Czech government seeks to keep economy running as COVID-19 cases rise (Lopatka, 9/8).

Washington Post: Italy’s Bergamo is calling back coronavirus survivors. About half say they haven’t fully recovered (Harlan/Pitrelli, 9/8).

LATIN AMERICA

Newsweek: Map Shows Americas Doing Worst in COVID-19 Pandemic, Making Up 55 Percent of Global Deaths (Gander, 9/8).

NPR: Peru Locked Down Early. Now It Battles One Of The Worst Coronavirus Outbreaks (Reeves, 9/8).

MIDDLE EAST

AP: Virus puts new strain on Gaza’s overwhelmed health system (Akram, 9/8).

NORTH AMERICA

Washington Post: ‘Worst case scenarios’ at Sturgis rally could link event to 266,000 coronavirus cases, study says (Shammas, 9/8).

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More News In Global Health

AP: Pope uses mask, sanitizer as he appeals for public health (9/9).

New York Times: A New Theory Asks: Could a Mask Be a Crude ‘Vaccine’? (Wu, 9/8).

New York Times: At Least 37 Million People Have Been Displaced by America’s War on Terror (Ismay, 9/8).

Science: Why COVID-19 is more deadly in people with obesity — even if they’re young (Wadman, 9/8).

U.N. News: Inaction has been fatal, says UNHCR, as dozens of Rohingya refugees perish at sea (9/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trials, R&D, Health System Inequities Amid Pandemic

The Conversation: Oxford scientists: these are final steps we’re taking to get our coronavirus vaccine approved
Rebecca Ashfield, senior project manager at the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, and Pedro Folegatti, clinical research fellow at the Center for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine at the Jenner Institute and PhD candidate in clinical medicine at the University of Oxford (9/8).

Health Affairs: COVID-19 Laid Bare How Systemic Inequities Remain
Rabih Torbay, president and CEO of Project HOPE, publisher of Health Affairs (September 2020).

New York Times: How Should We Balance Safety and Urgency in Developing a Covid-19 Vaccine?
Nicole Daniels, staff editor at the Learning Network (9/9).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Health Affairs Articles Provide Overview Of Funding For HIV/AIDS, Examine Impact Of Mexico City Policy On PEPFAR-Supported Partners In South Africa, Eswatini

Health Affairs: Are Funders Still Focusing On HIV/AIDS?
Lee L. Prina, senior editor at Health Affairs, poses the question, “Are funders still focusing on HIV/AIDS?,” especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and describes several foundations’ activities related to HIV/AIDS (September 2020).

Health Affairs: Restrictions On U.S. Global Health Assistance Reduce Key Health Services In Supported Countries
Jennifer Sherwood, policy manager in the Public Policy Office at amfAR, and colleagues examine the effects of the expanded Mexico City policy on PEPFAR implementing partners in South Africa and Eswatini (September 2020).

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UNAIDS Report Highlights How HIV/AIDS Response Can Be Leveraged To Assist COVID-19 Response

UNAIDS: HIV and COVID-19: a unique moment in time to learn, leverage and build resilient systems for health
“A new report from UNAIDS shows how countries grappling with COVID-19 are using the experience and infrastructure from the AIDS response to ensure a more robust response to both pandemics. COVID-19 and HIV: 1 moment, 2 epidemics, 3 opportunities — how to seize the moment to learn, leverage, and build a new way forward for everyone’s health and rights shows that by identifying the dynamic changes needed, systems can be found that are effective, inclusive, equitable, and sufficiently resourced…” (9/9).

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Wilson Center Event Highlights State Of Sexual, Reproductive Health, Rights Globally

Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Meeting Women’s Modern Contraceptive Needs Could Yield Dramatic Benefit
Deekshita Ramanarayanan, staff intern with the Maternal Health Initiative at the Wilson Center, discusses a recent Wilson Center event “where speakers analyzed findings from the Guttmacher Institute on the state of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) globally” (9/9).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC Newsletter Continues To Highlight 40th Anniversary of Field Epidemiology Training Program

CDC Around the World: The Celebration Continues for FETP’s 40th Anniversary
The latest issue of CDC’s “Around the World” newsletter continues to highlight the 40th anniversary of the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) in numerous articles (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 9, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (9/9).

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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