None gains: On U.S. withdrawal from WHO
The U.S. stands to lose by withdrawing from the WHO; it will forego health intelligence
On July 6, when the number of novel coronavirus cases and deaths in the U.S. reached over 2.8 million and nearly 0.13 million, respectively, the U.S. officially notified the United Nations of its intention to withdraw membership from the World Health Organization. This comes after President Donald Trump announced on May 29 his decision to halt funding and pull out of the global health body. After accusing WHO of being “China-centric” on multiple occasions, this unfortunate development is one more attempt by Mr. Trump to deflect blame for gross mismanagement of the crisis. In a May 18 letter, he officially demanded that the WHO make “major substantive improvements” in 30 days while charging that the global body lacked “independence” from China, was slow to respond to the threat, and had “repeatedly made inaccurate or misleading claims” about the virus. Since the decision has apparently been taken without the approval of Congress, and as the withdrawal will become effective only on July 6 next year, there is a possibility that Congress or courts might reverse the withdrawal. Already, Democratic challenger Joe Biden has promised to revoke it if elected President. There is much at stake and unsurprisingly Congress is already under pressure from academia and medical associations to reject the withdrawal. The capricious decision to withdraw from WHO will have dire consequences for global public health. The departure of the U.S. will be a significant blow to the WHO in terms of loss of technical expertise and, according to Mr. Trump, an annual funding of about $450 million.