The Trump administration has formally withdrawn the U.S. from the World Health Organization (WHO) in the middle of a global pandemic and despite all signs pointing to a serious national struggle against the coronavirus crisis, according to a tweet from Senator Bob Menedez.
Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the @WHO in the midst of a pandemic.— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) July 7, 2020
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.
Trump withdraws US from WHO despite coronavirus crisis
"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," said Senator Menendez in a tweet.
The formal declaration and notification of official U.S. withdrawal come months after threats from the Trump administration to pull the United States out of the WHO — which is linked to the United Nations, reports The Hill.
President Trump has criticized the organization for its alleged bias toward China and an allegedly slow response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Wuhan — the initial epicenter and origin of the now-global pandemic.
UPDATE July 7, 3:20 PM EDT: Public health experts, democrats warn decision is 'short-sighted'
However, Democrats and public health experts have warned that this decision may be short-sighted and added it might subvert the global response to the pandemic — which has so far infected 11.6 million people worldwide.
As a reminder, the United States has the highest number of reported coronavirus cases in the world — nearly 3 million.
Public health experts and Democrats also argue that WHO's initial missteps can mostly be attributed to China's lack of transparency during the initial stages of the infectious outbreak.
UPDATE July 7, 3:30 PM EDT: Trump freezes WHO funds, earlier threat to "terminate" ties
Trump initially froze U.S. funding for the WHO in April while his administration reviewed its relationship with the global health entity. Weeks later, he demanded reforms from the WHO, but never specified what reforms he wanted.
At the end of May, Trump announced the U.S. would "terminate" ties with the WHO, amid some skepticism from Democrats. But conservatives cheered his declaration, alleging that the WHO held a pro-China bias and arguing for more efficient use of WHO funds.
UPDATE July 7, 3:40 PM EDT: Criticism of WHO, China's lack of transparency
Criticism of WHO typically points to the entity's initial claim that the virus couldn't spread via human-to-human transmission — a slip-up Trump has railed in addition to the WHO's opposition to the early travel ban on China.
China alerted the WHO to the presence of a group of atypical pneumonia in the city of Wuhan on Dec. 31 — after the WHO learned of something amiss via its epidemic intelligence system. However, evidence suggests the virus was present in Wuhan as early as November.
Until today's development, the U.S. has contributed $400 million annually to the WHO — the largest contributor. This is why public health experts have raised the alarm that a suspension of United States funding would severely damage the functionality of the global organization.
As hospitals, private companies, and nations around the world race to find treatments and vaccines for the COVID-19 coronavirus, this day — effectively stumping the financial resources of the WHO — could be a turning point in the global fight to defeat the erstwhile-novel coronavirus.
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