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by K. Riva Levinson

May 20, 2020

Here’s some good news. African nations, who have benefited from America’s years of largesse in global public health are doing an impressive job of managing the coronavirus pandemic, using a disease response infrastructure enabled by U.S. foreign assistance and a play book that America taught. They are also proving to be determined and innovative. 

But the fight has just begun, and the United States needs to double-down on helping some of the world’s poorest, because it is what we do – and have always done – as Americans. Moreover, it is in our own self-interest.

by K. Riva Levinson

May 01, 2020

It is a tale that spans continents, with heroes, heroines and a moral about our shared humanity. This is the story of Remdesivir, the anti-viral drug showing promise in the fight against COVID-19 — offering up the first glimmer of scientific hope against a global pandemic that has claimed more than 60,000 American lives and 200,000 globally. In 2009, researchers at Gilead Sciences of Foster City, Calif., developed the antiviral compound Remdesivir as a possible treatment for Hepatitis C. Unfortunately, it was not effective, and remained in closed research until 2014, when the deadly Ebola virus emerged in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.  

by K. Riva Levinson

April 15, 2020

Last week, African leaders rallied to the defense of the World Health Organization’s Director General, former Health Minister of Ethiopia Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized Tedros for his China-centric approach to the global coronavirus pandemic COVID-19. "The WHO really blew it," President Trump said, adding that he was considering withdrawing funding to the UN agency. In a show of solidarity, Africa and Africans, stood with Tedros.

by K. Riva Levinson

March 29, 2020

Only three people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the West African nation of Liberia. But even so, the country has sealed its borders, shut its airspace, and declared a state of emergency, closing schools, banning social and religious gatherings, and shuttering all but essential businesses. Watching from the United States with our stay-at-home-order, one might wonder why such a drastic measure with so few cases for a post-conflict economy still reeling from the twin shocks of the West Africa Ebola outbreak and the collapse of commodity prices four years ago? Consider this single contrast of capacity.

by K. Riva Levinson

March 08, 2020

If you trust the polls, a clear majority of Americans do not support the current U.S. president, and for registered Democrats, it is with a raging fury. So as soon as Biden proved his viability in South Carolina, the electorate was drawn to him. It’s elementary human nature — when fear and hope fuse to propel behavior. I saw this phenomenon play out in West Africa in August of 2014, at the height of the deadly Ebola virus outbreak, after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) predicted a trajectory between 550,000 to 1.4 million cases by early the following year. And then — within just months — Liberia, the country hardest hit, was able to break the chain-of-transmission.

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