Trump cuts off funding to the WHO

As President Trump and his allies continue to blame the WHO for the pandemic, a new report show the organization acted with great foresight.


Credit: Dave Whamond, Canada,

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced he would be suspending payments to the World Health Organization (WHO) for 60 to 90 days while his administration assesses the UN agency’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The move was expected as President Trump looks to shift the blame to the WHO for the U.S.’s slow response to the outbreak. Trump’s conservative allies allege the WHO is complicit in a Chinese coverup of the outbreak in late 2019 and early 2020, and say an accurate assessment of the risk could have given the U.S. a jump start in tackling the virus. The U.S. is the WHO’s largest donor, contributing more than $400 million a year.

But as Trump and his allies continue to blame the agency, a closer look at the records show it acted with great foresight, more than it had shown in previous epidemics. Although the WHO declined to declare COVID-19 a pandemic after Chinese officials first revealed the serious threat posed by the virus on January 22—due to lack of evidence of sustained spread and concern over publicly criticizing China as a particular threat—a week later, it reversed course and declared a global emergency. Even before that announcement, the WHO was taking steps to address the virus: releasing a blueprint for diagnostic tests after Chinese scientists published the genome of the virus on January 12. While some countries followed the blueprint, the U.S.’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention insisted on producing its own tests—leading to weeks of delays in widespread testing in the United States.Trum

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