Trump suspends funding to World Health Organization

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President Donald Trump announced in a press briefing Tuesday evening that the United States would be halting its funding for the World Health Organization pending a review of its response to the initial novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Wuhan, China.

President Trump accused the organization of “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.” He claims the agency “failed to adequately obtain and share information in a timely and transparent fashion. It could have been contained at its source.” The WHO notably criticized President Trump for restricting travel from China in an order issued January 31.

According to the President, U.S. taxpayers provide “between $400 million and $500 million per year to the WHO. In contrast, China contributes roughly $40 million a year and even less.” The WHO notes on its website that the U.S. provided about 14.7 percent of its funding in 2018-2019.

President Trump claims the WHO “pushed China’s misinformation about the virus, saying it was not communicable and there was no need for travel bans.”

The WHO was informed of the first cases of COVID-19 on December 31, according to its website. Through January, the agency took several steps to gather information from Chinese officials, including identifying and closing the seafood market where the outbreak is believed to have originated. By January 30, the WHO declared a global health emergency.

Experts have expressed concern that suspending funds for the agency that oversees international public health could affect efforts by other countries to curtail COVID-19 cases.