Trump halts WHO funding, saying it “failed its basic duty” in pandemic response

(Cover photo: Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference on the situation of the coronavirus in Geneva, Switzerland, February 28, 2020. Reuters/Denis Balibouse/File)

As President Trump directed a halt to $500 million in annual aid to the World Health Organization, he also said the United Nations agency responsible for international public health must be held accountable for how it’s handled the coronavirus pandemic.

“The world depends on the WHO to work with countries to ensure that accurate information about international health threats is shared in a timely manner, and if it’s not, to independently tell the world the truth about what is happening. The WHO failed in its basic duty and must be held accountable.”

Trump said that had the WHO done a better job at investigating reports coming out of China, thousands of lives would have been spared.

“Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China’s lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death, very little death…. and certainly very little death by comparison. This would have saved thousands of lives and avoided worldwide economic damage. Instead, the WHO willingly took China’s assurances to face value and they took it just at face value.”

Trump said the U.S. will be forced to find other ways to work with other nations to achieve public health goals, as his administration looks into the WHO’s role in what he calls severe management and cover-up of the spread of the coronavirus.

“We will continue to engage with the who to see if it can make meaningful reforms. For the time being, we will redirect global health and directly work with others.”

In response, the WHO said they regret Trump’s decision and worry about the world’s poorest nations that rely on the agency.

“We regret the decision of the president of the united states to order a halt in funding to the world health organization. With support from the people and government of the United States, who works to improve the health of many of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Meanwhile just 24 hours after Trump insisted he had “total authority” to determine when states could reopen their economies and relax their social distancing measures, the president seemed to backtrack on the issue.

“The plans to reopen the country are close to being finalized, and we will soon be sharing details and new guidelines with everybody. I will be speaking to all 50 governors very shortly, and I will then be authorizing each individual governor of each individual state to implement a reopening, and a very powerful reopening plan of their state at a time and in a manner as most appropriate.

“We’re all set, as I said, the governors are going to be opening up their states.”

“The governors are responsible, they have to take charge.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has joined a coalition with his counterparts in Oregon and Washington, announced a plan Tuesday to lift stay-at home orders — for as long as hospital numbers flatten and decline.

“The framework is predicated on the ability to do six things. The most important framework is our capacity to expand our testing to appropriately address the tracing and tracking of individuals, the isolation and the quarantine of individuals using technology and using a workforce that needs to be trained in an infrastructure that needs to be in place in order to begin the process to transition.”

Newsom said things won’t be the same when California reopens — saying waiters at restaurants will likely be wearing masks and gloves — and public schools could stagger the schedule of students to maintain social distancing.

As of noon on Wednesday, California has reported close to 26,000 cases of COVID-19 with less than 800 deaths.

The U.S. continues to top total numbers worldwide — with more than 615,000 cases and more than 27,000 deaths so far due to the deadly virus.

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  • Mario
    16 April 2020 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    The US donated $6.5B for 5 yrs to WHO, for 2019 gave $893M but 80% of that comes from US private donors and Foundations. China donated $49M/yr. For 2020 Trump will give $58M. US lawmaker called Dir.Gen TEDROS to resign by deceiving the world and allowing China to cover-up the truth about CV19. Said Virus can not be spread by Human to Human. Dec31 TAIWAN Email TEDROS advise WHO that viruses could be transmitted Human to HUMAN. Retaliated expel Taiwan from WHO.Jan15 the famous 100 ballpens Pelosi signs the Article of Impeachment.Jan20 Pres XI delayed 6 days warned China that the virus likely becomes pandemic. TEDROS announce China is transparent.JAN31 TRUMP travel ban on China.TFVirus created.Feb5 Impeachment end.Feb11 WHO introduces a new name for Wuhan Chinese Virus to nCov2019 now called COVID-19.