Editorials, Opinion Pieces Discuss COVID-19 Outbreak

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Challenges of coronavirus disease 2019
Editorial Board

“Yet again, the world is experiencing a global viral epidemic of zoonotic origin. … [The recently formed Lancet Infectious Diseases Commission on Preparedness for Emerging Epidemic Threats] will revisit global preparedness planning and assumptions underlying agreements such as the International Health Regulations. It aims to account for new challenges in preparing for and responding to infectious disease outbreaks. These challenges, which are political and institutional, social, environmental, technological, and pathogen-related, are being brought to the foreground by the [severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV)-2] outbreak. … With the increasing frequency of zoonotic spillovers leading to human infections and transmission, it’s apparent that pandemic preparedness has become a priority for the global health agenda” (2/17).

Wall Street Journal: The Spending Virus
Editorial Board

“…The Trump administration on Monday sent Congress a request for $2.5 billion in spending to combat the virus that began in China. The government is now spending some $40 million to $50 million a month, so the request builds in the expectation of more U.S. cases than the 57 already diagnosed. … Cue the inevitable gripes from Congress that this isn’t nearly enough. … We’d take these complaints seriously if they were based on any expertise or factual understanding of the threat. Instead, they’re ritualized gripes intended to set up the politics to make the bill a blowout and dare Mr. Trump to veto virus funds. … [O]ur guess is that Democrats are preparing the ground to blame the administration if the coronavirus spreads. The virus may well get worse, which is why the funding request anticipates more cases. Alas, there is no cure for cynicism in the service of pork-barrel politics” (2/25).

Washington Post: Russia and China are taking different but equally dangerous approaches to coronavirus
Editorial Board

“Two opposing but equally malignant approaches to the coronavirus epidemic are emerging. One would flood the information space with lies, while the other would shut that space down to all voices but one. Their sponsors, not surprisingly, are Russia and China. Open governments are struggling to encourage responsibility about a growing pandemic without inspiring panic. Russia appears to be trying to do just the opposite. Evidence suggests Moscow is spreading propaganda designed to stoke anxiety about the virus and distrust in authorities’ efforts to fight it. Meanwhile, citizens in China are suffering not from a deluge of misleading material but from a dearth of open discussion. … China and Russia are modeling the go-to responses authoritarian regimes have adopted in the digital age for robbing the Web of its democratizing power. A government can try to persuade its citizens to believe only what it wants them to, or it can try to persuade them to believe nothing at all. Either tactic, with stakes as high as they are today, could get people killed” (2/26).

Bloomberg: Coronavirus Complacency Is Worse Than Panic
David Fickling, opinion columnist at Bloomberg (2/25).

CNN: The best defense against coronavirus
Colleen Kraft, associate chief medical officer at Emory University Hospital, associate professor in the Department of Medicine and assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at Emory University School of Medicine, and associate medical director of Emory’s Serious Communicable Diseases Unit (2/26).

Devex: Opinion: As the world battles coronavirus, never let a crisis go to waste
Otto Chabikuli, director of global health population and nutrition at FHI 360, and Timothy Mastro, chief science officer at FHI 360 (2/27).

Financial Times: Coronavirus: WHO must learn from the IMF to stop pandemics
Prabhat Jha, professor of global health at the University of Toronto (2/26).

New Yorker: As Coronavirus Spreads, Stocks Fall Again and the White House Frets About a Black Swan
John Cassidy, staff writer and columnist at the New Yorker (2/25).

New York Times: Let’s Call It Trumpvirus
Gail Collins, opinion columnist at the New York Times (2/26).

New York Times: Welcome to the Age of Pandemics
Peter Daszak, disease ecologist and president of EcoHealth Alliance (2/27).

POLITICO Magazine: The White House Shouldn’t Downplay the Coronavirus
Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review and contributing editor with POLITICO Magazine (2/26).

Project Syndicate: China’s COVID-19 Moment
Andrew Sheng, distinguished fellow of the Asia Global Institute at the University of Hong Kong and member of the UNEP Advisory Council on Sustainable Finance, and Xiao Geng, president of the Hong Kong Institution for International Finance and professor and director of the Research Institute of Maritime Silk-Road at Peking University HSBC Business School (2/26).

Scientific American: Uncertainty in a Time of Coronavirus
Amitha Kalaichandran, physician and health and medical journalist (2/26).

Washington Post: Coronavirus lays bare all the pathologies of the Trump administration
Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow for national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, global affairs analyst for CNN, and author (2/26).

Washington Post: Trump has no clue what to do in a disaster
Jennifer Rubin, opinion writer at the Washington Post (2/26).

Washington Post: As the virus spreads, Trump rages over the markets. That’s alarming.
Greg Sargent, writer at the Washington Post’s Plum Line blog (2/26).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KFF | twitter.com/kff

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.