On Monday, September 7, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, World Health Organization (WHO), issued a global warning: “This will not be the last pandemic. History teaches us that outbreaks and pandemics are a fact of life. But when the next pandemic comes, the world must be ready – more ready than it was this time.” Noting the need to “build back better,” Dr. Tedros called for all countries to invest in public health, especially primary health care, as an investment in a healthier and safer future for all.
Many countries have learned from earlier epidemics and had the infrastructure in place to get COVID-19 under control – these include Thailand, Pakistan, Uruguay, and more. Too many other countries have not invested in robust health systems and are struggling to manage the debilitating impact of COVID-19 on their citizens’ health and their nations’ economies.
The virus continues to traverse the globe, taking hold in new regions. As the global death toll surpasses 900,000, the international community is watching closely to see what happens in densely populated countries, like India, and how soon the world will reach the tragic milestone of one million deaths.
This week’s edition of Rabin Martin’s COVID-19 Briefing focuses on the continued evolution of the pandemic’s trajectory as it makes its way across India. Will the country be able to get ahead of the virus? How can lessons learned from other hard-hit countries be applied for effective containment? Please find our earlier COVID-19 Briefings here.
The U.S. accounts for over 20 percent of global cases, reporting 6,388,302 cases and 191,567 deaths. Half a million U.S. children have been diagnosed, with the virus affecting Black and Hispanic children disproportionately.
The number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb, nearing 28 million. The U.S., Brazil, Russia, and India remain the nations with the largest epidemics. But this week, India exceeded Brazil’s case count, after registering almost 91,000 new cases in a single day (Monday, September 7). This figure represented the largest single-day increase any country had recorded during the pandemic; India broke that record days later, reporting 95,735 new cases on Thursday, September 10. India is now the second worst-affected country in the world, behind only the U.S. As of Thursday, September 10, India’s total number of confirmed cases reached 4,465,863, and 75,062 people have died. More than two-thirds of all cases are in six of 29 states (Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka). As in other countries, community transmission in rural areas has been growing, although the epidemic was concentrated initially in large urban areas.
In March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, mandating a country-wide stay-at-home order for all 1.3 billion citizens. “Every state, every district, every lane, every village will be under lockdown,” Mr. Modi said. After proving largely effective, some restrictions were lifted starting in early May as part of efforts to revive the economy; this reversal led to a spike in new cases.
Despite growing concerns, the country has been reopening steadily over the past month, with the population returning to public transit, social gatherings, and schools. Public health experts have called for increased testing capacity, citing the potential for India’s growing epidemic to overwhelm the country’s health system. And an article in The Lancet published on Saturday, September 5, noted experts’ uncertainty about India’s COVID-19 mortality data and possible undercounting.
Amid concerns about the politicization of COVID-19 vaccine development, on Tuesday, September 8, nine pharmaceutical companies signed a pledge to maintain “high ethical standards and sound scientific principles” as they pursue a vaccine. The companies – AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Inc., Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer, and Sanofi – promised to apply for U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval only after demonstrating safety and efficacy through Phase 3 trials that meet regulatory standards.
Rabin Martin at UNGA
A Fireside Chat with Dr. Heidi Larson and Dr. Peter Piot Will a Vaccine Save Us?
On the occasion of the 75th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), please join us for a conversation with Dr. Heidi Larson, Director, The Vaccine Confidence Project, and Dr. Peter Piot, Director, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rabin Martin CEO Dr. Jeffrey L. Sturchio will moderate the discussion on lessons learned from the past eight months and predictions on what lies ahead – addressing issues such as equity in care and treatment and the impact of misinformation on vaccine confidence. Please register here.
The Private Sector’s Evolving Role in Health Emergencies: September 24, 9:00 am ET
The Private Sector Roundtable on Global Health Security (PSRT) and Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will host a UNGA side event to explore the evolving role – and responsibility – that the sector has in preventing and responding to global health threats. The session will feature a keynote address by Peter Sands, Executive Director, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Viacom/CBS is hosting this virtual event, and Jeff Sturchio will moderate a panel of leaders from the public and private sectors. Rabin Martin is the Secretariat for the PSRT. RSVP here.
The Data Pandemic: Making Decisions with Too Much, Not Enough, and Politicized Data: September 21, 8:00 am ET
Please join The Rockefeller Foundation-Boston University Commission on Health Determinants, Data, and Decision-making (3-D Commission) for a virtual event that will explore how decisionmakers can use data to make tough choices more effectively during health crises, in an effort to keep people safe and healthy. Panelists will include Dr. Sandro Galea, Dean, Boston University School of Public Health; Dr. Naveen Rao, Senior Vice President, The Rockefeller Foundation; Ms. Katie Dain, CEO, NCD Alliance; and more. Rabin Martin is the Secretariat for the 3-D Commission. Please register here.
From the Experts
“We are not really expecting to see widespread vaccination until the middle of next year.”
Dr. Margaret Harris, Spokeswoman, WHO
Friday, September 4
“COVID-19 is teaching all of us many lessons. One of them is that health is not a luxury item for those who can afford it – it’s a necessity, and a human right. Public health is the foundation of social, economic, and political stability. Ultimately, we are not just fighting a virus. We’re fighting for a healthier, safer, cleaner, and more sustainable future.”
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO
Monday, September 7
“I remain optimistic we will have a vaccine found to be safe and effective in upcoming months. But optimism isn’t evidence. Let’s let science drive this process.”
Dr. Ashish Jha, Dean, Brown University School of Public Health
Tuesday, September 8
“Given the epic dimensions of the [COVID-19] emergency, the world needs unity and solidarity. Our decades-long fight against HIV offers essential lessons. By heeding those lessons and working together, we can ensure that national health responses deliver on the promise of… health and well-being of all.”
António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General
Wednesday, September 9
“Science and science alone, will be the way in which this decision [to approve a COVID-19 vaccine] is made, otherwise I will have no part of it.”
Dr. Francis Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health
Wednesday, September 9
What We’re Reading
- The Universal Health Coverage Ambition Faces A Critical Test – Margaret E. Kruk, John E. Ataguba, Patricia Akweongo, The Lancet
- A Doctor Went to His Own Employer for a COVID-19 Antibody Test. It Cost $10,984 – Marshall Allen, ProPublica
- 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 – UNAIDS
- Poll: Half of Households in the Four Largest U.S. Cities Report Serious Financial Problems Including Depleted Savings, and Trouble Paying Bills or Affording Medical Care – Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
- USAID To Shut Down Its Coronavirus Task Force – Nahal Toosi, Politico
- Working Locally for an Effective Pandemic Response – Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network
- Prevalence of Depression Symptoms in US Adults Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Catherine K. Ettman, Salma M. Abdalla, Gregory H. Cohen, JAMA Network Open
Reports from International Governments and Bodies
- WHO COVID-19 Information and Guidance
- WHO Weekly Epidemiological Update: September 7
- WHO Weekly Operational Update: September 4
- CDC Coronavirus Resource Page
- COVID-19 Health Systems Response Monitor
- NCD Alliance COVID resources relevant to NCDs
Funding and Policy Trackers
- International Monetary Fund Policy Tracker
- Kaiser Family Foundation Coronavirus Policy Tracker
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Aid Tracker
- Devex Interactive Funding Tracker
Resource Pages and Market Research Literature
- JAMA Resource Center
- The Lancet COVID-19 Resource Centre
- 2019 Novel Coronavirus Research Compendium (NCRC)
- National Academy of Medicine COVID-19 News and Resources
- WIPO COVID-19 IP Policy Tracker
- The COVID Tracking Project
- PharmaIntelligence: Coronavirus – What will the Impact Be?
- Health Affairs Resource Center
- STAT News COVID-19 Tracker
- Global Health NOW’s COVID-19 Expert Reality Check
- International Association of National Public Health Institutes COVID-19 Resources
- Center for Strategic and International Studies The Reopening and Take as Directed Coronavirus Crisis Update Podcast
- Primary Health Care Performance Initiative Forum
- U.S. Global Leadership Coalition COVID-19 Issue Briefs
- Prevent Epidemics Weekly Science Review
- COVID-19 Watch Weekly Updates
For more information or should you have any questions, please contact us.
About Rabin Martin
Rabin Martin is a global health strategy firm working at the intersection of private sector capabilities and unmet public health needs. Rooted in our mission to improve health for underserved populations, we design strategies, programs and partnerships that both deliver public health impact and drive business results. We leverage our deep knowledge and networks across a wide range of geographies and health areas to develop tailored solutions for every client engagement. We have helped many clients create bold global health initiatives and innovative multi-sector partnerships. Our specific areas of expertise include infectious disease and vaccines, non-communicable diseases, rare diseases, maternal and child health, and universal health coverage. Our clients and partners include multinational health care companies, multilateral institutions, government agencies, large foundations and leading NGOs. Rabin Martin is part of the Omnicom Public Relations Group.
About Omnicom Public Relations Group
Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and eight specialist agencies in public affairs, marketing to women, fashion, global health strategy and corporate social responsibility. It encompasses more than 6,000 public relations professionals in more than 330 offices worldwide who provide their expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group delivers for clients through a relentless focus on talent, continuous pursuit of innovation and a culture steeped in collaboration. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the DAS Group of Companies, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. that includes more than 200 companies in a wide range of marketing disciplines including advertising, public relations, healthcare, customer relationship management, events, promotional marketing, branding and research.