The World Health Organization (WHO) was established on April 7, 1948. A specialized agency of the United Nations, its main responsibility is international public health. When they were first established the organization’s priorities were to fight the spread of malaria, tuberculosis, and STIs. More recently WHO’s focus has been combating COVID-19. However, last Tuesday, President Trump announced the United States would halt WHO funding until further notice. The U.S. is the largest contributor to the organization. The President has accused WHO of delaying their response to the virus which originated in China. It has now spread to more than 200 countries. This announcement garnered immediate backlash given what is happening across the globe and the rising number of deaths.
This is one of many controversies that the President has had in just the past week. Last week, he claimed that he had “total authority” over state governments. He has since retracted his statement as he tends to do. With many warning that the worst of the virus has yet to come in the U.S., the President has been eager to reopen everything for the sake of the economy. During a time where we should be leaning on allies for support, he has begun to play the blame game instead. On March 11, WHO marked COVID-19 as a global pandemic, and it wasn’t until early March that his administration began to respond to the virus even though the first case in the U.S. was reported on January 21st. Once everything returns to normal (not anytime soon), we will be able to see the effects of the pandemic on our economy, government, and international relationships.
Timeline to Trump’s response to COVID-19 for reference: https://www.npr.org/2020/04/21/837348551/timeline-what-trump-has-said-and-done-about-the-coronavirus