Op-Ed: President-elect Biden must steer clear of the WHO

As early as Jan. 14 of last year, the WHO triumphantly tweeted to its roughly 8.8 million followers, “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China.”

The world is slowly approaching a full year of coronavirus lockdowns. The pandemic and the crushing lockdowns that followed caught many by surprise and off guard. Yet, while most recall the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic as somewhere in late February or early March, the World Health Organization (WHO) knew about this virus well before then. And, given their early reaction, it’s no wonder this crisis has lasted as long – or been as destructive – as it has.— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020

This, as we all know, was about as false as can be and was not the end of the story.

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p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China🇨🇳. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG

Seeing the lack of leadership at the WHO, President Donald Trump threatened to pull United States taxpayer funding to the WHO in April. The president then later followed up in July by withdrawing the U.S. from membership in the WHO, effective immediately. It was too little, too late to save the U.S. from the consequences of the WHO’s misinformation on coronavirus, but these decisions may very well avoid similar catastrophes in years to come. Yet, despite this, President-elect Joe Biden has promised to rejoin the WHO on day one of his administration.

However, this tweet is not entirely worthless. It is a perfect encapsulation of exactly what is wrong with the WHO. It demands blind trust on issues of public health, despite a track record of being tragically wrong. It defers far too often to the regime in Beijing rather than to the facts or the best interests of global health. There is very little doubt that the collective trust the world placed in the WHO in the early days of this crisis cost thousands of lives and millions of jobs across the globe.

Even a cursory analysis of the WHO’s track record on coronavirus will show that they are far more a political entity than a public health organization. When Dr. Li Wenliang first raised red flags about the fact that human-to-human transmission was, in fact, very possible, he was censured aggressively by the Chinese regime. He was accused of “spreading rumors” and eventually died of the virus himself. When asked about the treatment of Dr. Li, the executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, Michael Ryan, said merely, “There is understandable confusion that occurs at the beginning of an epidemic.” Striving further to absolve the Chinese authorities from responsibility, he added, “We need to be careful to label misunderstanding versus misinformation; there’s a difference.”

This would be a monumentally foolish decision. While Biden claims that Americans are “safer” when America is in the WHO, the more than 386,000 Americans who have died would beg to differ if they had the chance. Weeks before the virus came to our shores, the WHO claimed – without caveat – that there was no human-to-human transmission. This lulled leaders into a false sense of complacency and prevented key planning that could have taken place. WHO leaders did this to please the top brass in Beijing.

It is clear that the WHO is intent on making itself a political entity that is serving the interests of some of its more authoritarian members, namely the Chinese government. Their flailing response thus far should be enough to strip them of any credibility on the coronavirus or any other public health matter. Not only this, but the WHO has tried to skirt any responsibility by smearing any and all criticisms of their response as attempts to “politicize the virus.”

In late March, once the scope of the pandemic and Chinese misinformation was evident, WHO officials doubled down on their defense of China’s handling of the virus. WHO Senior Advisor Bruce Aylward refused to answer questions regarding China’s response compared to Taiwan’s relatively successful approach. When asked by Yvonne Tong, a reporter for the Hong Kong media outlet RTHK, if Taiwan’s success would lead the WHO to reconsider their stance disallowing Taiwan from becoming a member nation, Aylward stalled in silence for over ten seconds. He then claimed he hadn’t heard the question and asked to move on to a different one. When Tong repeated, Aylward hung up. When Aylward and Tong got reconnected, he actually referred to Taiwan as an “area of China” and claimed China had done a very good job with the virus, before hanging up again.

Biden, who fashions himself as a champion of science, decency and truth, should keep the U.S. far away from this hopelessly corrupt organization.
Daniel Savickas / Taxpayers Protection Alliance
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Reposted with permission

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