Donald Trump has officially withdrawn with United States from the World Health Organization, WHO, despite a surge in COVID-19 crisis.
The US Congress was given formal notice of the exit on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. It came after Trump accused the Unite Nations-backed WHO of conspiring with the Chinese government to cover up the coronavirus outbreak.
He launched a probe into the World Health Organization in March, and announced measures to slash the United States’ funding of the body down from $400m a year to $40m a year – the same amount contributed by China.
Trump accused WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom of letting China and its communist President Xi Jinping cover-up the severity of the outbreak, and the fact that Covid-19 could be transmitted from person to person.
The US President said an investigation he’d ordered proved that the US needed to withdraw from the public health body completely. New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez announced the withdrawal notice on Twitter – and blasted the decision.
He tweeted: ‘Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the @WHO in the midst of a pandemic. To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic & incoherent doesn’t do it justice. This won’t protect American lives or interests—it leaves Americans sick & America alone.’
According to CNN, a three-line note has been delivered to the United Nations headquarters in New York outlining brief plans for a one year withdrawal timetable. It is unclear whether that note contains the final version of President Trump’s plans.
The United States announced its withdrawal despite seeing a 78% rise in the number of new coronavirus cases over the past fortnight compared to the two weeks prior to that. More than three million Americans have now tested positive for coronavirus, with over 130,000 killed by Covid-19.
White House immunologist Dr Anthony Fauci said that the US is still ‘knee-deep’ in the crisis, and said states moving through reopening measures too quickly was to blame for the fiasco.
President Trump has been accused of attacking the WHO to try and distract from his own mishandling of the coronavirus crisis. He played down its severity throughout February, with scientists saying Trump wasted vital time to urge social distancing measures that could have saved thousands of lives.
Trump subsequently sparked fury and astonishment after suggesting an injection of disinfectant could be used to treat coronavirus. And the president has repeatedly refused to wear a mask in public, emboldening supporters to do the same in Republican states such as Texas and Florida which have since seen huge surges in diagnosis numbers.
Announcing his initial probe into the WHO in April, Trump said: ‘(The WHO) failed to investigate credible reports from sources in (the Chinese city of) Wuhan that conflicted government accounts and credible reports of human to human transmission in December.
‘From the middle of January it parroted and publicly endorsed the idea that there was not human to human transmission despite reports to the contrary and cost valuable time. The world received all sorts of false information on transmissability and mortality.
‘Everybody knows what’s going on there…Those tasked with protecting us by being transparent and truthful failed to do so. It would have been so easy to be truthful…so much death has been caused by their mistakes.’
The WHO, which aims to share resources and knowledge to tackle global health threats, has denied all allegations made against it by President Trump.