The White House versus WHO

It’s not surprising to see Donald Trump blaming others for their handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, that’s what he frequently does to divert from his own problems or mistakes. He has taken a swipe at the World Health Organisation and threatened to withdraw US funding, although as is also common with him, soon after that (in the same media conference) he contradicted himself.

Financial Times: Donald Trump threatens to freeze funding for WHO

President Donald Trump threatened to freeze funding for the World Health Organization as he accused the body of withholding information about coronavirus in Wuhan and being “wrong” about the outbreak in China.

Mr Trump said the WHO had “missed the call” when it came to the early detection of the virus in Wuhan and called the organisation very “China-centric”. He also blasted WHO for what he said was criticism of his decision in January to ban flights from China to the US.

“They could have called it months earlier,” Mr Trump said at a White House press briefing on Tuesday. “They would have known and they should have done. And they probably did know, so we’ll be looking into that very carefully. And we’re going to put a hold on money sent to the WHO.”

Mr Trump said he would put a “very powerful hold” on the funding. But when pressed on whether the US should withhold funds during the pandemic, the president softened his threat — one of the many examples of the president contradicting himself during the same press conference. “I’m not saying I’m going to do it, but we’ll have a look,” Mr Trump said. “You know what, they called it wrong. And if you look back over the years . . . everything seems to be very biased toward China. It’s not right.”

Mr Trump’s criticism reignited a debate about blame for the spread of the disease, which has been contracted by 1.43m people around the world and caused 82,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of US cases has soared to 399,000, with almost 13,000 fatalities.

The WHO in mid-January said there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission, even after one of its experts said the opposite. Days later, it pointed to “some limited” direct transmission among humans, as China also confirmed the first cases of human-to-human transmission.

Later in January the WHO described the virus as a global emergency, but recommended that nations keep borders open to reduce the number of people crossing borders in irregular ways that would prevent health checks. Later that day Mr Trump banned most travel from China.

Mr Trump has been criticised for not taking the virus seriously early on, and particularly for saying it would disappear “like a miracle”. Each time he has come under attack, he has touted his move to ban flights from China, and sometimes his later step to expand restrictions to travel from Europe.

“They seem to come down the side of China,” said Mr Trump, who claimed that the WHO missed the early signs despite sending a team to Wuhan. “They didn’t see what was going on in Wuhan . . . How do you not see it?”

Trump’s deputy has also waded in: Pence vows US will ask WHO ‘tough questions’ over how ‘they could have been so wrong’ about coronavirus

Vice President Mike Pence told “Hannity” Wednesday night that the U.S. will ask “tough questions” of the World Health Organization (WHO) over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic after the global health agency’s director warned President Trump and other world leaders against “politicizing” the outbreak.

“This is a president who believes in accountability, and the American taxpayers provide tens of millions of dollars to the World Health Organization. And as the president said yesterday, I suspect we will continue to do that, but that doesn’t mean that at the right time in the future we aren’t going to ask the tough questions about how the World Health Organization could have been so wrong.

“Literally at the time President Trump stood up the coronavirus task force in January and suspended all travel from China, just days before that, the World Health Organization was continuing to diminish the threat of the coronavirus and its impact in China. We’ll get to the answers of that and we’ll create accountability, just like the American people would want us to do.”

Note that this is on the president friendly “Hannity” and will be playing to an audience.

WHO deserves some criticism of their handling of the pandemic, but it would have been impossible for them to handle it perfectly.

But the president spraying around blame is likely to be more about diverting from the growing Covid problems in the US (although the worst hot spot, New York, seems to be flattening off now), where things haven’t been handled perfectly either.

There are now over 450,000 confirmed cases in the US and 16,000+ deaths (increasing by close to 2,000 a day).

Over the past week or so about a third of the world increase of cases has been in the US, and about a quarter of deaths.

It is too serious to get distracted by bitching and blaming.

But due to major restrictions on borders and social distancing and a big effort to increase testing and healthcare supplies the modeled scenarios are looking a lot less grim.

NPR: Fauci Says U.S. Coronavirus Deaths May Be ‘More Like 60,000’; Antibody Tests On Way

The U.S. is enduring a “very bad week” during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci says. But he also says that the American public’s embrace of physical separation and other restrictions is sharply reducing projections of the death toll from the respiratory virus.

The final toll currently “looks more like 60,000 than the 100,000 to 200,000” that U.S. officials previously estimated, Fauci said.

Even earlier warnings were of potentially millions of deaths if nothing was done to limit the spread of the virus, so 60,000 doesn’t look so bad (but is still substantial).

Channel News Asia: WHO urges global unity, defends handling of pandemic after Trump’s criticism

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday (Apr 8) pleaded for global unity in fighting the coronavirus and gave a strident defence of his agency’s handling of the pandemic, in response to US President Donald Trump’s criticism.

As the WHO prepares to mark 100 days on Thursday since it was first notified of the outbreak in China, director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hit back at accusations that it had been too close to Beijing.

Tedros urged the United States to join with China in combating the disease rather than indulging in a blame game, as he issued a stern defence of the WHO’s management of the pandemic.

“The United States and China should come together and fight this dangerous enemy,” Tedros told a virtual press briefing in Geneva.

“The focus of all political parties should be to save their people. Please don’t politicise this virus.

“If you want to have many more body bags – then you do it. If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicising it.

Tedros also rejected Trump’s suggestion that the WHO was “China-centric”, saying: “We are close to every nation, we are colour-blind.”

Citing the death toll and number of infections, Tedros implored: “For God’s sake … is this not enough?”

WHO, Trump and many others are under extreme pressure trying to combat Covid. They all need to work together and cooperate as much as possible regardless of past mistakes or questionable decisions.

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31 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  10th April 2020

    I see Boris is out of the ICU. Good news for Easter, the UK and a huge relief for his partner.

    Reply
  2. David

     /  10th April 2020

    The WHO have one job and they stuffed it up badly, the US pours hundreds of millions in and they are rightly annoyed. The UK is making the same complaints.
    Why is it that Trump complains about an organisation that has royally stuffed up and that demands others to rush in and defend it. Trump talks about a drug which seems to be quite effective and is worth investigating and others then have to condemn it.
    The knee jerk we must oppose everything Trump blinds people to searching for the truth.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  10th April 2020

      people picking on Trump….make a vid like this David..
      call it ‘leave Donald..alone’!

      Reply
    • duperez

       /  10th April 2020

      It didn’t take much searching, I found the truth.

      There is only one audience Trump has to talk to. An America one.
      There is only part of that whole audience he has to affect. He is 100% dedicated to and immersed in the job he has to do.

      Ain’t that the truth?

      And there you go, the WHO proves how handy it can be, proves it has some use.😊

      Reply
    • Duker

       /  10th April 2020

      US only pays around 20% of the WHO budget

      Reply
  3. David

     /  10th April 2020

    Its also day 8 of the MSM trying to convince Americans that hydroxychloroquine isnt as safe as dying.

    Reply
    • It’s effectiveness is still up for debate, especially with the more serious cases of Covid. Taking any drug that isn’t effective raises risks.

      And even if a drug does help it needs to be used when can help rather than indiscriminately.

      NBC – ‘No miraculous recovery’: Some ICU doctors say hydroxychloroquine isn’t helping sickest patients

      The federal government’s guidance on emergency usage of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients may have actually set the medication up for failure.

      That’s because the guidance limits the drug’s usage to those sick enough to be hospitalized. Many doctors suspect, however, that if the drug does turn out to be beneficial, it may work better early on in the course of the illness.

      “That’s the case for any therapeutic,” Dr. George Diaz, an infectious disease specialist at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington, said. “Generally the earlier you use it, the more effective it is.”

      “When you give it to somebody who is already super sick, it’s likely not going to make an impact because the damage is already done,” said Dr. Ken Lyn-Kew, a pulmonologist in the critical care department at National Jewish Health, a hospital in Denver.

      At least anecdotally, a handful of critical care physicians across the country have told NBC News they’ve seen no evidence the drug is helping their sickest patients in intensive care.

      “We’ve been using it,” said Dr. Hugh Cassiere, a pulmonologist and medical director of Respiratory Care Services at North Shore University Hospital in Long Island, New York, a hot spot for the pandemic in the United States. “But we really haven’t seen any efficacy.”

      “I’m not convinced it works,” said Lyn-Kew, adding, “I’ve not seen anybody have anything near what I would call a miraculous recovery because of hydroxychloroquine.”

      In Louisiana, Dr. Josh Denson, a pulmonary medicine and critical care physician at the Tulane University Medical Center in New Orleans, said that “many patients do fine and tolerate it, but I don’t think it’s making a difference.”

      “I can’t honestly say that I think that it’s necessarily an effective agent at this point,” said Diaz, of the Providence Regional Medical Center in Washington state.

      “UC San Diego Health does not support the use of medications in ways for which there is not yet scientific evidence to support safety and efficacy,” the hospital system wrote in an email to NBC News, adding investigators there are preparing to enter clinical trials to do their own studies of the drug.

      Critical care physicians at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago aren’t using it either. “It’s the view of our ICU group here that the data supporting its use are insufficient for routine use for COVID-19 patients, particularly when they become critically ill,” Dr. Ben Singer, assistant professor of medicine in pulmonary and critical care at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said.

      This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pulled back on its guidance for hydroxychloroquine usage for COVID-19 on the agency’s website, no longer offering recommendations for dosage. The CDC has also deleted information on those early studies of the drug.

      So it looks like the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for treating Covid is still uncertain, which isn’t surprising given the time usually taken to test and prove drug treatments.

      I think it remains a possible help but a risk. And if it’s not much help it’s a distraction.

      Reply
      • David

         /  10th April 2020

        So if its a possible why is the MSM doing all it can to find reports from random Drs who say it doesnt. There are currently 80 trials going on around the globe which suggests there are quite a few experts who think, like Trump, that it holds some promise.
        Its just a bizzare way of doing news where the focus in a pandemic is trying to gotcha the US President. He keeps getting asked about it and he keeps saying it might work and looks promising and everyone is loosing their minds.
        Has anyone asked Ardern about treatments for our patients, NO because no one thinks she knows much or expects much from her but that is fine because we are busy smacking Trump around.

        Reply
      • Pink David

         /  10th April 2020

        “Taking any drug that isn’t effective raises risks.”

        Can we apply this rule to the lockdown being applied to NZ? Where is the evidence this is effective? Where is the science and research?

        To undertake a treatment without suitable evidence is quackery.

        Reply
        • I think there’s a huge amount of evidence that letting Covid go uncontrolled will result in many more infections and deaths.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  10th April 2020

            The analysis will be about the best way to control it, not whether to control it.

            I imagine Bob Jones’s prediction I linked to earlier will be on the basis that the economic and human costs of our lockdown will be so dire that the electorate’s political reaction will be savage.

            Reply
          • Pink David

             /  10th April 2020

            “I think there’s a huge amount of evidence that letting Covid go uncontrolled will result in many more infections and deaths.”

            Where is this evidence? All there has been is computer modelling, which is completely unfit for making predicitions.

            Reply
  4. It’s not just WHO who were slow to deal with Covid properly.

    ABC: Intelligence report warned of coronavirus crisis as early as November

    Concerns about what is now known to be the novel coronavirus pandemic were detailed in a November intelligence report by the military’s National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI), according to two officials familiar with the document’s contents.

    The report was the result of analysis of wire and computer intercepts, coupled with satellite images. It raised alarms because an out-of-control disease would pose a serious threat to U.S. forces in Asia — forces that depend on the NCMI’s work. And it paints a picture of an American government that could have ramped up mitigation and containment efforts far earlier to prepare for a crisis poised to come home.

    “Analysts concluded it could be a cataclysmic event,” one of the sources said of the NCMI’s report. “It was then briefed multiple times to” the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff and the White House. Wednesday night, the Pentagon issued a statement denying the “product/assessment” existed.

    From that warning in November, the sources described repeated briefings through December for policy-makers and decision-makers across the federal government as well as the National Security Council at the White House. All of that culminated with a detailed explanation of the problem that appeared in the President’s Daily Brief of intelligence matters in early January, the sources said.

    The President reported on a number of occasions downplaying the virus, saying it would disappear when the weather got warmer (it has been getting worse as it gets warmer in the US), it would disappear through a miracle, and recovery would be good to go by Easter Sunday. Now he’s blaming WHO for getting things wrong.

    Reply
    • David

       /  10th April 2020

      The President could be right, NY notwithstanding because of its density, with the estimates going from 500,000 to around 60,000 so either Trump has done a great job, the weather helps or its hydroxychloroquine.
      The hospitals are empty in California and Florida.

      Reply
      • You really think that “Trump has done a great job, the weather helps or its hydroxychloroquine” are the only reasons for significantly lowered projections?

        I doubt that hospitals are empty, there are currently 18,472 active cases in California (559 deaths) and 16,355 active cases in Florida (372 deaths).

        ICU numbers drop, Governor Newsom warns one data point ‘not a trend’

        Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a Thursday press briefing there are now 1,132 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 in ICU beds, a decrease of 1.9 percent from the 1,154 patients in ICUs around the state on Wednesday.

        California is doing relatively well due their (not Trump’s) rapid response.

        What California is doing right in responding to the coronavirus pandemic

        Within weeks of the Grand Princess cruise ship arriving off the California coast — an early harbinger of the coming coronavirus pandemic — Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the first statewide mandatory restrictions in the United States.

        He ordered California’s nearly 40 million residents to stay home to help combat the outbreak, but he didn’t stop there.
        While many states scramble for desperately needed equipment and supplies, Newsom this week announced a deal for millions of masks for health care workers, and though the state is still battling the outbreak, it finds itself in a position to donate hundreds of ventilators to hospitals across the country.

        “When we write this history and look at the tens of thousands of lives in California that will have been spared, I think there will be lots of factors that went into it,” said Dr. Robert Wachter, professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

        “The most important was that leaders of all types — whether they were in government or in businesses — took it seriously, believed that this was a real risk and did the right thing early.”

        Sounds like a similar approach to New Zealand.

        https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/covid-19-florida-governor-criticised-acting-sooner-200409134428017.html

        Health experts say hospitals in Florida will be strained by the summer as the death toll rises.

        Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  10th April 2020

    What would be really, really surprising would be no-one blaming Trump for anything that might go wrong.

    I guess if that ever happened they wouldn’t be able to blame Trump for blaming others.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  10th April 2020

      Trump cant even get the day to day messaging right. And you think its predictable they are blaming him….most Presidents in major emergencies dont act like this. Sure there is push back but their approval ratings soar…guess whos getting the tiniest bump.
      What you dont get is hes shows day after day his complete incapacity to lead and is a failure in every part of his job, thats just going on what hes does and constant lies let alone what he should be doing

      Reply
  6. …some folks think MrT has all the answers to all the problems/issues..
    others think he is just a SMUG ‘know-it-all’.. who believes constantly blowing his own TRUMPet will convince the world, that he has all the answers… wotaloadaBS
    >personally Id rather listen to those who DO actually know what they are talking about.. not just this fool, wrapped up in his own SELF-importance, with no real answers, than; money, money, more MONEY !! will solve all the worlds problems :/

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  10th April 2020

      Just don’t listen to him like I don’t, Z. You don’t want to be like Lurch getting your knickers in a twist all day by spying on the enemy.

      Reply
      • duly noted AW 🙂

        BUT everytime I put AlJz & other news on; MrT makes a ‘guest appearance’ at least once every hour !
        > I could hit the ‘mute’ button ?

        Reply
      • Zedd

         /  10th April 2020

        btw; Im not wearing any ‘knickers’ 😀

        Reply
    • Pink David

       /  10th April 2020

      “Id rather listen to those who DO actually know what they are talking about.”

      Who is that then?

      Reply
      • Zedd

         /  10th April 2020

        in this instance : WHO (for a start) as is in the title 🙂

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  10th April 2020

          My guess is that you don’t actually listen to Mr T at all, Z. You listen to those who spend their entire life talking and writing about what Mr T is doing wrong. Like Ishmael who needs his daily anti-Trump vaccination.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  10th April 2020

            We do listen to his exact words…its far worse.. Its you that closes your eyes and ears and adopts the battered wife syndrome response

            Reply
  7. Cue another reminder about how poorly Trump has managed the US outbreak…

    Reply
    • Pink David

       /  10th April 2020

      “We have about 4% of the world’s population but about 30% of all the cases in the world. ”

      How much of the worlds testing has the US carried out?

      Reply
      • On this morning’s figures:

        Total world tests 12,267,138
        Total US tests 2,353,096 which is 19.18%

        US tests per 1m is 7,109 which is relatively moderate and:
        about a third of Switzerland, Norway
        about half Italy, Austria and Germany
        about 2/3 of New Zealand (we’re 10,610)

        Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  10th April 2020

      Re the stats, it’s early days. It hasn’t hit most of the world like it has NY yet. Nor will we get accurate numbers out of most of the other big populations. Or see the big picture until the consequential economic collapses have played out.

      Reply

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