Donald Trump plans on putting a halt to funding to the World Health Organization (WHO).
“I am directing my administration to halt funding while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus,” Trump told a news conference at the White House on Tuesday.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
According to BBC, Trump accused the UN of covering up and mishandling the spread of the virus after it emerged in China. The UN’s chief responded that this was not the time to cut funds to WHO.
Bill Gates weighed in on Trump’s decision on Twitter, criticizing the decision. “Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds,” he wrote. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provides the second largest amount of funds for the WHO.
Trump believes that the the outbreak could have been contained if WHO had done their job properly, and allowed medical experts to assess the situation in China as it was unfolding. Trump told reporters,
“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,” he told reporters. “This would have saved thousands of lives and avoided worldwide economic damage. Instead, the WHO willingly took China’s assurances to face value… and defended the actions of the Chinese government.”
WHO experts were reportedly only allowed to visit China once, February 10, to investigate and by that time the country had more than 40,000 cases.
On January 14, WHO tweeted that Chinese investigations found “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” of the new virus. A week after that tweet, WHO released a public statement that human-to-human transmission did appear to be taking place in Wuhan. Administrative officials have been aggressively accusing WHO did not take the proper steps in handling this pandemic, stating WHO was biased towards China.
Despite the WHO’s potential malfunctions in the early days of the pandemic, public health experts feel defunding the organization in the middle of a pandemic is far from a smart move.