World

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The US has officially notified the UN of its withdrawal from the World Health Organization

PHOTO CREDITS: ALEX BRANDON/AP

The United States has officially notified the United Nations of its withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO). ~

This notion comes after President Trump warned the organization in early May that unless reforms were made, it would lose US support. The US is currently the agency’s largest donor, providing more than $656 million in the 2018-2019 funding cycle (TIME). The withdrawal will not go into effect until the US pays off its current dues, and until the day of July 6 2021. ~

In late May, Trump announced that his administration would be leaving the organization due to WHO’s “inadequate” response to the initial outbreak of the Coronavirus. In a White House announcement, the President claimed that Chinese health officials did not execute their reporting obligations to WHO, and influenced the organization to mislead the public about the outbreak that initially took place in the Wuhan province. Rep. Michael McCaul, a republican from Texas, voiced his support for the President’s decision, saying that Trump is “entering into another negotiation”. McCaul also supported Trump’s criticism of WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus, saying that he must “care more about global health than appeasing the Chinese Communist Party” (The Story). ~

Despite support for his decision, Trump has faced some opposition to his decision. Republican Chairman of the Senate health committee, Lamar Alexander, publicly disagreed with the timing of the decision, saying that while the mistakes made by WHO should be looked at, “the time to do that is after the crisis… not in the middle of it” (Associated Press). Additionally, the UN Foundation President Elizabeth Cousens explained that “WHO is the only body capable of leading and coordinating the global response to COVID-19,” and said that Trump’s withdrawal undermines the global effort against the virus. ~

While it is unclear if the withdrawal will go through in July of 2021, the upcoming election poses lots of questions on the future of the relationship between the US and the WHO. Presumptive Democractic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he would reverse the decision on his first day in office if elected. ~

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