When Donald Trump announced a sudden halt to U.S. funding for the World Health Organization, he criticized the WHO for allegedly pandering to China and spreading misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak during its critical initial stages.
His chief complaint is that the WHO flaunted evidence of human-to-human transmission and pressured nations to keep their borders open. Trump – you may not have heard – was relatively quick to limit travel to and from China. This likely bought the U.S. time to prepare for the arrival of COVID-19.
Well done, Mr. Trump. That was one decision you got right – and in the face of media criticism , too. Can we finally move on?
It’s impossible to conceive any scenario in which suspending WHO funding at this point is a good idea. Maybe, as you suggested, the U.S. can dodder on without the organization’s help.
But the rest of the world can’t.
Pulling out of the WHO tells the rest of the world that their plight is not America’s problem. But even if you ignore the moral argument, the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic is your problem, Mr. Trump.
Our interconnected world makes the virus difficult to contain. Even if the U.S. is able to get a handle on its own outbreak, what’s next? No international travel? Closed borders? The U.S. can’t recover from coronavirus unless the rest of the world does as well.
The WHO was established to help the global community address health crises exactly like this one. It’s never been more vital.
China, the WHO, and even your media critics should have to answer for their mistakes. But abandoning a system that many nations are leaning on in the middle of a pandemic is short-sighted. Before we start assigning blame, let’s get to the other side of this public health crisis.
Did you hear that, Mr. Trump? We agree. We’re on the same side. The WHO was wrong. And you were right. Well played, you get credit for that move. We don’t need the pomp and circumstance that comes with an official investigation and delayed funding to prove it.
In the absence of a vaccine or reliable treatment for coronavirus, the world is struggling to find ways to reopen its economy.
Experts warn it’s’s going to be a long, painful process. “Second wave” outbreaks and missteps could put hurdles in the path of a return to normalcy.
The focus will begin to shift from the pandemic to the U.S. presidential election. You’ll be judged on how you responded to the coronavirus crisis, and a January travel ban isn’t likely to win you many points in November.
Eviscerating China and the WHO doesn’t absolve you for what happened in February and March. But we can hash that out another time. We can investigate why China has been allowed to keep its wet markets open when this is finished.
Today, we need you to work together toward a common goal, not cut the world’s coordinated effort to contain coronavirus off at the knees.