Leading health experts have delivered a stinging rebuke of President Donald Trump’s decision to halt U.S. funding for the World Health Organization amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump announced the move on Tuesday, accusing the WHO of failing “in its basic duty” to initially warn the world of the burgeoning public health crisis that is believed to have originated in China.
Lawrence Gostin, a global health law expert from Georgetown University, warned MSNBC’s Ari Melber that “there’ll be many more deaths” without a WHO that’s empowered.
Check out the segment here:
Gostin also predicted a loss of U.S. global influence as a consequence:
Richard Horton, the editor-in-chief of the Lancet medical journal, described it as “a crime against humanity,” tweeting “every scientist, every health worker, every citizen must resist and rebel against this appalling betrayal of global solidarity.”
“The president’s decision makes Americans less safe, let’s be clear about that,” Thomas Bollyky, the director of the Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, explained to CNN’s Don Lemon:
Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, told Reuters that the WHO may indeed need to be reformed but suggested now was not the right time as “it’s not the middle of a pandemic that you do this type of thing.”
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta acknowledged the WHO made “missteps” but warned cutting funds amid the pandemic would end up penalizing countries with weaker health care systems:
American Medical Association President Dr. Patrice Harris warned halting funding “is a dangerous step in the wrong direction that will not make defeating COVID-19 easier.”
“Fighting a global pandemic requires international cooperation and reliance on science and data,” Harris said in a statement shared online. “Cutting funding to the WHO – rather than focusing on solutions – is a dangerous move at a precarious moment for the world.”
“The AMA is deeply concerned by this decision and its wide-ranging ramifications, and we strongly urge the President to reconsider,” Harris added.
Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious disease doctor and associate professor at Boston University’s school of medicine, tweeted that cutting the funding “is an absolute disaster.”
And Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, who warned of a pandemic in a 2015 TED talk, said the halting of funding is “as dangerous as it sounds.”
“Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them,” he wrote, adding: “The world needs @WHO more than ever.”
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