to WHO' right now
'would be like cutting
the water supply to a
firefighter in the
middle of a fire,'
experts to Trump.
The American Spark
Health Professionals Write Open Letter To Trump About WHO De-
By Cliff Montgomery - Apr. 30th, 2020
Donald Trump is in trouble. In the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak, people are looking for real answers to
actual problems. Donald Trump has no answers. He never has had answers. He has vulgar comedy and fact
distortions, but no answers.
So he’s using the tactic that has always been the key to his political success: He’s working to create a new
scapegoat for his own failures.
But people have gotten used to the illusion - it’s a bit like watching an aging magician perform an old trick that
everyone has figured out a long time ago.
“Donald Trump’s declared suspension of funding of the World Health Organization [WHO] in the midst of a
pandemic,” points out the Guardian, “is confirmation – if any were needed – that he is in search of scapegoats
for his administration’s much delayed and chaotic response to the crisis.”
That’s right - in typical Trump fashion, he has decided that the moment the entire world is reeling from the
worst pandemic to strike humanity in years is the perfect time to de-fund a group that “works worldwide to
promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable,” according to WHO’s website.
“Our goal is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage,” the UN-backed organization
continues, “to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with
better health and well-being.”
But perhaps this is precisely what we should expect from a man who tells his followers that they might cure
themselves of the Coronavirus by drinking or injecting disinfectants like bleach. Science and logic have never
been Trump’s strong traits.
In any case, those who are actual experts in medicine, science and logic have written Trump about his
dangerous choice of new scapegoat.
“More than 1,000 organizations and individuals including charities, medical experts and health-care com-
panies from around the world,” declares CNN, “have written to the White House arguing the Trump
administration should reverse course and keep funding the World Health Organization (WHO).”
Among the numerous signatories are Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, the Association for
Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, the Association of Public Health Laboratories, Oxfam
and the health-care corporation Kaiser Permanente.
Below, the American Spark provides the body of this important open letter. Those who wish to check out the
letter with its full list of signatories may look at it here.
“Dear President Trump:
“During this unprecedented global crisis, it is imperative for the U.S. to demonstrate leadership by working
with the global community not only to stop the spread of COVID-19, but also to help strengthen the global
public health architecture to mitigate a crisis of this magnitude from happening again. Therefore, we, the
undersigned organizations, urge the U.S. Administration to continue to fund the World Health Organization
(WHO) to end this pandemic.
“The United States cannot rid this insidious virus from the country, nor around the world, without WHO.
“WHO is the only organization with the technical capacity and global mandate to support the public health
response of all countries during this critical time. China first alerted WHO to the possibility of a novel type of
coronavirus on December 31, 2019. WHO worked closely with U.S. public health institutions like the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as the
global community, to collect, analyze, and disseminate public health information about COVID-19.
“These actions equipped countries with advance warning and guided states’ efforts to prepare for the spread
of the virus. Just one day after receiving the alert from China, WHO alerted the CDC and by January 10, WHO
issued guidance to countries on how to detect, test, and manage potential cases of the novel virus, and best
practices to protect health workers delivering care on the frontlines of the response.
“As the threat became more understood, WHO continued to engage with the Chinese government to ensure
vital public health data from the Wuhan epicenter was conveyed to the global community at rapid pace – unlike
during the 2002-2004 SARS epidemic. Through this engagement, China shared genetic sequencing of the
novel virus, accelerating the development of vaccine candidates and therapeutics. While their transparency in
many areas was still lacking, this paved the way for a WHO technical team to visit Wuhan in late January and
again in February to study the disease, gaining knowledge that informed containment and response measures
now being implemented by member states globally. The February visit also included scientists from NIH and
“Led by WHO, work began immediately to design a global Research & Development Blueprint. Hundreds
of researchers from dozens of countries participated; paving the way for more than 78 vaccine candidates
being worked on in dozens of countries, with five in clinical trials. This pace is both essential and
unprecedented and would not have been possible without rapid WHO engagement.
“At the same time, WHO began essential, rapid work – often done collaboratively with CDC technical experts –
to design more than 50 pieces of technical guidance to help countries and communities prepare. These
resources have been used by hospitals and frontline staff throughout various cities and states in the United
States, as well as all over the world.
“Given the lack of scientifically proven and effective treatments, by March 18, WHO launched a study called
the ‘Solidarity Trial’ to compare the effectiveness of four potential treatments for COVID-19 against one
another. Over 90 countries are now participating in this trial.
“During an unprecedented and hugely complex public health crisis like this, there are bound to be challenges.
After WHO and the global community turn the tide against COVID-19, WHO has signaled an eagerness to
assess where mistakes occurred and how best to strengthen the institution and global public health response
capacities of all countries in the future.
“It is without question, however, that WHO efforts have been vital to flattening the curve, slowing the virus’
spread, and ultimately saving lives in the U.S. and around the world.
“As the virus continues to spread into poorer countries ill equipped to combat the disease, WHO’s role will
become even more vital as it supports fragile health systems already struggling to provide basic health
interventions to vulnerable populations. In this capacity, WHO’s interventions will not only save lives but also
ensure economic stability as the world recovers from this devastating disease.
“With a COVID-19 vaccine still at least 12-18 months away, all countries must strengthen efforts to stop the
spread of the virus, save lives, and restart the global economy. At a time of the worst public health disaster in
the last 100 years, suspending funding to WHO would be like cutting the water supply to a firefighter in the
middle of a fire.
“More than 1,000 organizations and individuals are joining to express their support. We believe it is critical to
continue to support WHO’s work, especially as they partner closely with leading U.S. agencies like CDC, NIH,
USAID and the Department of State, to keep people safe around the world and here at home.”
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