President Donald Trump confirmed on Tuesday that his government would indefinitely withdraw payments to the World Health Organization (WHO) for its coronavirus pandemic prevention. Trump said the WHO “lied in its central task, so it must be kept responsible.” He said it was spreading China’s “disinformation” about the virus that possibly contributed to a larger epidemic.
The U.S. is the leading global contributor to the Geneva-based Organization, investing more than $400 million in 2019, or 15 percent of its total. Here’s how U.S. institutions and international leaders have responded to the U.S. president’s declaration.
The president of the American Medical Association
Dr. Patrice Harris, called it “a risky move in the wrong direction and would not make it simpler to fight COVID-19” and advised Trump to rethink.
Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres
Not the moment” to slash money for activities at the WHO.”It is now time for unification and for the international community to come together in cooperation to bring a halt to this epidemic and its crushing effects.”
John Hopkins University Center for Health Protection
“The move is sending out the wrong message in the midst of a pandemic,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, the center’s infectious disease specialist and senior researcher. Adalja said the WHO is making errors, as it has done in slowing the answer to the 2013 and 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. He said changes that be required but after the pandemic has passed the research has to take place.
“The sort of stuff you do is not the center of a pandemic,” he added. Adalja said the WHO is collecting knowledge on where the virus is involved in every county in the country, which the U.S. uses to better make decisions about whether to open borders.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The White House has issued calls for comment.