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WHO Withdrawal Is Immoral, Shameful

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Note: President Donald Trump today announced he is seeking to remove the U.S. from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The coronavirus pandemic calls for global solidarity, with countries joining together to address a common public health threat. The world needs lots of information sharing about how to mitigate the spread of disease, and research and knowledge sharing to rush forward treatments and vaccines.

There is one global agency to carry out this agenda: the World Health Organization.

Trump’s reported decision to pull U.S. funding from the WHO, if actually carried out, will leave the U.S. and the world less able to confront the pandemic. It is contemptible and reprehensible. His irrational petulance – again, if translated into actual policy – will lead to needless and avoidable death and suffering. That’s true for death and disease related to the coronavirus – but also cancer, diabetes, traffic accidents, unsafe drugs, insufficient access to essential medicines, tobacco-related disease and more.

Trump can build walls around the U.S. a hundred feet high, but the coronavirus doesn’t care a whit. This is a global crisis, and it requires global solutions. Withdrawing from the WHO isn’t just morally wrong – and it won’t just hurt other countries – it is counterproductive to protecting public health in the U.S.