The Associated Press has been digging into the track record of the World Health Organization (a branch of the United Nations) in terms of the handling of the pandemic and leaking out some internal communications that have gone on there over the months when the disease was spreading over the globe. They start off their report with what appears to be a puff piece for Joe Biden, talking about how the WHO is “hopeful” that the next president will cancel Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the organization and cut off their funding. The agency’s annual meeting is underway this week and they’re clearly ramping up the pressure to bring the United States back into the fold.
But the report also reveals the seeming confusion that reigned at the WHO over how to handle the pandemic and their inability to stand up to member nations who they felt were not dealing with the disease effectively. It’s suggested that the group’s members were fearful of angering any countries that provide them with a lot of funding by publicly criticizing them.
With its annual meeting underway this week, WHO has been sharply criticized for not taking a stronger and more vocal role in handling the pandemic. For example, in private internal meetings in the early days of the virus, top scientists described some countries’ approaches as “an unfortunate laboratory to study the virus” and a “macabre” opportunity to see what worked, recordings obtained by The Associated Press show. Yet in public, the U.N. health agency lauded governments for their responses.
Biden has promised to overturn President Donald Trump’s decision in June to cut off funds to WHO and withdraw the U.S. WHO has also bowed to demands from member countries for an independent panel to review its management of the pandemic response, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday that the agency welcomed “any and all attempts” to strengthen it “for the sake of the people we serve.”