When Trump froze America’s funding to the World Health Organization, many people argued that the middle of a global pandemic wasn’t the right time to make such a dramatic move. Now a year after the deadly outbreak, there’s a new U.S. President in the charge, and he’s got a different plan for curbing the pandemic that’s killed 400,000 Americans — and counting.
Within hours of his inauguration on January 20, 2021, President Biden rejoined the World Health Organization, restored 100 percent of the WHO’s funding, and appointed Dr. Anthony Fauci to be the agency’s U.S. emissary.
Together, these changes, which also include an equitable and inclusive plan for vaccine distribution, signal a more proactive and collaborative approach to combatting the virus that’s already claimed 2 million lives worldwide. “WHO is a family of nations,” WHO secretary general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in response to the news. “We are all glad that the United States is staying in the family.”
Biden’s pandemic plan will be remarkably different from his predecessor’s approach, according to Fauci. “As a WHO member state, the United States will work constructively with partners to strengthen and, importantly, reform the WHO, to help lead the collective effort to strengthen the international COVID-19 response and address its secondary impacts on people, communities, and health systems around the world,” Fauci said in a video.
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) January 21, 2021
The past year hasn’t been easy on the WHO, which has fielded many questions and political attacks over its early response to the outbreak. Even so, the UN agency eagerly welcomed its prodigal American partner back into the fold, because we’ll need all hands on deck to defeat COVID-19.
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Global health experts also applauded the new administration’s spirit of teamwork. “We are glad to see the U.S. return to WHO,” Melinda Gates tweeted. “COVID has proven that when it comes to the world’s health, what happens globally can impact all of us locally. There’s no ending the pandemic without global cooperation & no organization better equipped to advance that effort than WHO.”
We are glad to see the U.S. return to @WHO. COVID has proven that when it comes to the world’s health, what happens globally can impact all of us locally. There’s no ending the pandemic without global cooperation & no organization better equipped to advance that effort than WHO.
— Melinda Gates (@melindagates) January 21, 2021
“The role of the United States, its global rule, is very, very crucial,” WHO secretary general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus agreed, according to the Washington Post. “We have a lot of work to do, and lessons to learn to end the pandemic and meet the long list of global health challenges we face — the world will be better able to meet them with you.”Whizzco