Julian-Alexandre W., journalist
Recently, serious questions about the World Health Organization’s intentions have arisen. Camouflaged actions that remain to be uncovered ignited a feud between President Trump and Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). When pandemics infiltrate world populations, this specialized agency’s job is to defend, assist countries, and ultimately lead the global effort to extinguish the disease. Yet, the WHO appears to have misinformed countries about COVID-19 and, at the same time, contradict itself. Were there in-house biases that eroded the WHO’s aggressiveness in recognizing the makings of a pandemic?
An evidential accusation explains that this agency may have covered up the severity of the Coronavirus when it first appeared in China. The WHO assuaged concerns by downplaying this virus early on and took a polar opposite position to U.S. health officials. According to the New York Times, “The W.H.O. has consistently advised against travel restrictions, arguing that they are ineffective, can block needed resources and are likely to cause economic harm.” However, these statements contradict Dr. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. According to NPR, “Anthony Fauci defended the new European travel restrictions…” Dr. Fauci also publicly confirmed that travel restrictions on China early on were effective even as it may have seemed like an over-reaction. The stark difference in opinion between Dr. Fauci and the WHO brings into question of “who is right?”
The suspense climaxes as the WHO appears to have contradicted itself in an unprecedented tweet. According to Business Insider, the WHO posted a twitter message on January 14th, stating, “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission …”. However, that very same day in Geneva, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, Acting Head of WHO’s Emerging Diseases Unit, gave a news briefing. Reuters reported that she stated, “There has been “limited” human-to-human transmission of a new coronavirus that has struck China…but there is potential for a wider spread.” Dr. Van Kerkhove went on to state that the WHO has provided guidance to hospitals worldwide in case of a possible “super-spreading” event. There is an apparent contradiction or miscommunication inside the WHO. On the same day that they downplayed the potential cataclysm of COVID-19, one of its experts diverged and admonished the general public of the severity of the current situation.
These types of contradictions by the WHO undermine its integrity and reliability. This organization has the responsibility of setting the global standard of how we protect and maintain public health; it cannot afford to be motivated by politics or biases. Amidst this COVID-19 crisis, the World Health Organization must be investigated, restructured, and reformed – at the very least, the global community deserves accountability.