Donald Trump's WHO Letter About China Explained: An Annotated Timeline

Wednesday - 20/05/2020 19:38
ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES
ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES
President Donald Trump excoriated the WHO and its director-general in a letter about the agency's response to COVID-19 and handling of China. Here, Newsweek adds more context to the letter.

President Donald Trump wrote this week a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus criticizing the U.N. agency and his leadership during the coronavirus pandemic, specifically its work with China, where the outbreak first emerged.

The letter laid out the Trump administration's case against the WHO for how it handled the pandemic and its soft stance on China, which is accused of covering up the emergence of a new coronavirus in the early days of the outbreak, allowing it to spread rapidly across the world.

Trump has increased his criticism of the WHO in recent weeks as he came under attack for his own government's response to the coronavirus emergency. Now, he has suspended U.S. funding of the WHO "pending an investigation" by his administration of the agency's response to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus.

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To date, more than 4.9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide, according to a tracker compiled at Johns Hopkins University, resulting in over 323,653 deaths. At 1,528,661 confirmed cases and nearly 92,000 deaths, the U.S. is currently the global epicenter of the pandemic.

Here, Newsweek presents Trump's letter to the WHO in full, along with annotations to add context, facts, counterclaims, and other relevant information.

Dear Dr. Tedros:

On April 14, 2020, I suspended United States contributions to the World Health Organization pending an investigation by my Administration of the organization's failed response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This review has confirmed many of the serious concerns I raised last month and identified others that the World Health Organization should have addressed, especially the World Health Organization's alarming lack of independence from the People's Republic of China. Based on this review, we now know the following:

The World Health Organization consistently ignored credible reports of the virus spreading in Wuhan in early December 2019 or even earlier, including reports from the Lancet medical journal. The World Health Organization failed to independently investigate credible reports that conflicted directly with the Chinese government's official accounts, even those that came from sources within Wuhan itself.

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