Opinion: The WHO Messed Up, But So Did Trump

Blaming the World Health Organization for being late and cozy with China doesn’t exonerate the White House’s own failings, Bloomberg Opinion’s Therese Raphael writes below:

The problem with Donald Trump’s threat to defund the World Health Organization Tuesday wasn’t his accusation that the Geneva-based body “missed the call” on Covid-19. Nor was it his concerns, expressed by many others too, about the organization’s coziness with China. It was that Trump’s blame game only compounds his own major errors in responding to the virus threat.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Trump laid into the WHO, announcing he was defunding the organization — before backpedaling and leaving everyone confused. “They called it wrong. They, really, they missed the call. They could have called it months earlier,” he said, adding that “we’re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO, we’re going to put a very powerful hold on it.”

A reporter asked him whether smack in the middle of a pandemic was the right time to freeze WHO funding. Trump shot back, “I’m not saying I’m going to do it.” (He literally said just that.) Instead, he said he would be investigating the matter and that the organization seemed biased toward China.

The WHO ticks all the boxes of a perfect scapegoat. Big multilateral bureaucracy based in Switzerland? Check. Friendly to China? Double check. Receives large U.S. donations? Yep. Even if Trump missed all of those signs, which he never would, Republican Senators have been vigorously pointing them out.

The other helpful thing about focusing on an acronym is that it deflects attention from Trump’s own missed calls in this crisis. From his initial dismissal of the virus as a hoax or a non-event, to his constant touting of an unproven medicine, to his claims that mass testing was taking place when it wasn’t, Trump’s leadership bears unflattering comparison with Beijing’s on a number of levels.

On Monday it emerged that Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro, a China-hawk, warned repeatedly of a pandemic that would wreak havoc in the U.S. and called for a tougher response. (Trump claims he didn’t get the memo.) And that warning wasn’t the only one. ABC News reported Wednesday that U.S. intelligence officials, citing communications intercepts and satellite images, were raising alarms about an out-of-control virus in Wuhan as early as November. Maybe Trump just doesn’t read the memos.

But just because it’s a smokescreen doesn’t mean Trump’s criticism of the WHO lacks merit. One of the organization’s core missions is to prepare for global health emergencies, but despite its succession of pandemic response plans over the years, it was slow to inform the world about the seriousness of the new coronavirus. Taiwan — which is blocked from WHO membership by China – says it alerted the WHO about human-to-human transmission in late December but was ignored.

When the organization finally declared a public health emergency, on Jan. 30, precious time had been lost. While leading scientists were calling Covid-19 a pandemic much earlier — as it ripped through one country after another with rising infection rates — the WHO didn’t fire that starting gun until March 11.

As late as February, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was still insisting it would be a bad idea to ban flights from or interrupt travel to China, as it would divert resources from fighting the disease. Trump announced restrictions on flights from China less than two weeks after the news had spread, though by then the virus already had time to seed in various states. (Those and later restrictions also fell far short of an outright ban.) In mid-March, as China was showing signs of stabilizing its own outbreak, it flouted the WHO’s earlier guidance and started blocking flights from Italy, Iran and other infected countries.

The WHO’s constant praise for China’s response has left many exasperated. To see how awkward this has gotten, just watch WHO senior adviser Bruce Aylward ignore a journalist’s question about Taiwan’s impressive record in responding to the virus. It was frustration with such politicization that caused Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso to quip that the WHO should change its name to the Chinese Health Organization.

Read the full article: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-04-08/coronavirus-the-who-messed-up-but-so-did-trump?sref=Ycj954CZ

Subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/2TwO8Gm

QUICKTAKE ON SOCIAL:
Follow QuickTake on Twitter: twitter.com/quicktake
Like QuickTake on Facebook: facebook.com/quicktake
Follow QuickTake on Instagram: instagram.com/quicktake
Subscribe to our newsletter: https://bit.ly/2FJ0oQZ
Email us at quicktakenews@gmail.com

QuickTake by Bloomberg is a global news network delivering up-to-the-minute analysis on the biggest news, trends and ideas for a new generation of leaders.

In This Story: China

China is the third largest country in the world by area and the largest country in the world by population. Properly known as the People’s Republic of China, the political territory of the country includes the former nations of Tibet and Hong Kong. The capital is Beijing.

7 Recent Items: China

  • Xu Yuanchong on why Western world has little understanding of China
  • U.S., Japanese leaders hold first White House meeting to counter China’s influence
  • Expert: China stepping up curbs on carbon emissions
  • China-U.S. climate change talks wrap up
  • China’s decarbonization an opportunity for Michelin: China CEO
  • Chile hails ‘game-changer’ Sinovac data
  • BizBeat Ep. 104: China-Europe tie up to push U.S. to tackle climate change issue
  • In This Story: COVID-19

    Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.

    Symptoms of coronavirus

    The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

    • a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
    • a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
    • shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)

    Latest News about Covid-19

    Below are stories from around the globe related to the 2020 outbreak of novel Coronavirus – since the WHO gave the Covid-19 naming. Most recent items are posted nearest the top.

    5 Recent Items: COVID-19

  • Can Covid vaccines be mixed? | ITV News
  • New Delhi faces hospital beds shortage
  • The West Block: April 18, 2021 | Canada struggles to cope with 3rd wave of COVID-19
  • Ontario police, activists push back against expanded enforcement
  • Prince Philip’s funeral: Royal Family farewells a husband, father, grandfather | 9 News Australia
  • In This Story: Donald Trump

    Donald John Trump was the 45th President of the United States. Before entering politics, he was a businessman and television personality. Trump was born and raised in Queens, a borough of New York City, and received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Wharton School.

    5 Recent Items: Donald Trump

  • Stephen Miller warns Americans: This is the biggest power grab we’ve ever seen
  • Stephen Miller warns Americans: This is the biggest power grab we’ve ever seen
  • NBC Nightly News Broadcast (Full) – March 16th, 2021 | NBC Nightly News
  • Biden keeps U.S. refugee cap at 15,000 – for now
  • Democrats slam President Biden for not immediately lifting refugee cap
  • In This Story: Iran

    Iran, also called Persia, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. Its central location in Eurasia and proximity to the Strait of Hormuz give it significant geostrategic importance. Tehran is the capital and largest city.

    Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BC. The Iranian Revolution established the current Islamic Republic in 1979.

    Iran’s political system combines elements of a presidential democracy and an Islamic theocracy. Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, OIC, and OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power and has large reserves of fossil fuels — including the world’s largest natural gas supply and the third largest proven oil reserves.

    The country’s rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Historically a multi-ethnic country, Iran remains a pluralistic society comprising numerous ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris, Kurds, Mazandaranis and Lurs.

    4 Recent Items: Iran

  • How children are bearing the brunt of famine in Yemen
  • Biden Says U.S. ‘Pleased’ Iran Will Continue Indirect Talks
  • US troops withdrawal: Afghan women fear return of the Taliban
  • Iran nuclear talks show signs of progress
  • Leave a Comment