The Trump administration formally notified the United Nations this week the United States is ending its membership in the World Health Organization. The announcement came the same day that Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director general, said the coronavirus is spreading rapidly with no end in sight.
“The Administration’s move to formally withdraw from WHO amid the greatest public health crisis that Americans and the world have faced in a century is short-sighted, unnecessary, and unequivocally dangerous. WHO is the only body capable of leading and coordinating the global response to COVID-19. Terminating the U.S. relationship would undermine the global effort to beat this virus – putting all of us at risk,” said United Nations Foundation President and CEO Elizabeth Cousens.
“The U.S. already has more confirmed cases of COVID-19 than any country in the world, and as cases continue to surge in hotspots at home and abroad it’s painfully clear that this pandemic is far from over. The World Health Organization was created with U.S. leadership nearly 75 years ago when the world was reeling from war. As the world faces the global emergency of COVID-19, we need to strengthen, not weaken, the bonds of international cooperation and solidarity.”
President Donald Trump had said in late May the U.S. would end its partnership with the WHO and be “redirecting those funds to worldwide, and deserving, urgent global public health needs.”
Trump’s move to pull out of the WHO during a pandemic has been met with criticism. U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Twitter Tuesday that the withdrawal “won’t protect American lives or interests — it leaves Americans sick and America alone.”
Johns Hopkins University, which maintains a Covid-19 dashboard, reported that 131,000 people in the U.S. have died from the virus since January. On Tuesday, the U.S. reported 60,000 new cases.