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President Trump freezes funding to WHO

On Tuesday, President Trump announced that the United States would immediately halt funding to the WHO and that the U.S would begin a 60-to-90 day investigation of the organization’s response to COVID-19. 

The Trump Administration and other GOP officials have been highly critical of the WHO in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, as the WHO repeatedly peddled Chinese propaganda in the early months of the outbreak.

According to the WHO’s website, the official role of the organization during health emergencies is as follows: 

  • prepare for emergencies by identifying, mitigating and managing risks
  • prevent emergencies and support development of tools necessary during outbreaks
  • detect and respond to acute health emergencies
  • support delivery of essential health services in fragile settings.

Unfortunately, the WHO did not properly identify the risks of the coronavirus, or appropriately respond to the emergency, which left governments around the world underprepared. As a result, thousands have died, and economies are on the verge of depression.

Trump has received a lot of backlash for this decision, many Democrats calling the decision “irresponsible.”

However, Trump has also received criticism for his lack of early mitigation efforts. Though he instituted a “China ban” on January 31 and began deploying testing kits in February, many say he could have done more; but, the world was receiving false information from both the Chinese government and the WHO about the true nature of the virus in January and February, barring all world leaders from acting sooner. 

On January 14, the WHO tweeted that Chinese authorities had found “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus.”

The WHO has also neglected to restrict international travel. In a letter to the WHO’s leader, GOP House Oversight Committee members had this to say:

“Despite declaring COVID-19 a PHEIC and extensive evidence of transmission through travel, the WHO insisted other countries not restrict travel or trade to China. On January 31, 2020, President Trump came under intense criticism when he barred travel from China. A certain politician called the order “xenophobi[c].” In comparison to the WHO’s inaction, the President’s actions saved lives. Between December 31 – when cases were first reported – and January 31, over 430,000 people were on direct flights from China to the U.S. The WHO has not issued updated travel restrictions since February 29 and has still not recommended restricting international travel.”

Fox News reports that total contributions from the U.S. to the WHO is $893 million, whereas China’s contributions total $86 million. Will this funding freeze hurt the WHO? Absolutely. But perhaps the WHO should have considered this when deciding not to do its job.

Updates will be reported when available. 

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