U.S. to withdraw from World Health Organization

The U.S. is withdrawing from the World Health Organization (WHO), a move threatened by President Donald Trump in May and formalized this week.

The White House sent notification to the United Nations secretary general. The withdrawal is effective July 6, 2021.

In April, Trump threatened to withhold U.S. taxpayer funding from WHO without reforms. He has been critical of WHO since February, saying it inappropriately criticized him for his early flight restrictions on air travel from China to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. He also said WHO enabled China’s cover-up of the novel coronavirus’ origins.

The United States contributes upwards of $400 million annually to the WHO — the group’s largest contributor — and public health experts have warned that a suspension of funds would severely damage the organization.

Trump has focused criticism on the WHO for several weeks, portraying the organization as being too “China-centric” and accusing it of failing to sufficiently warn the global community about the threat from the virus. Conservatives have likewise criticized the organization of being too trusting of information from Beijing.

A WHO representative declined to comment on the president’s announcement.

In May, Trump said the U.S. would withdraw from the organization.

“We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly but they have refused to act,” Trump said during a May news conference. “Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.”

Notice of the withdrawal comes as COVID-19 cases are increasing across the country. As of Monday, nearly 3 million people have tested positive for the respiratory disease in the U.S. More than 130,000 have died.

Portions The Center Square – Dan McCaleb

​Dan McCaleb is the executive editor of The Center Square. He welcomes your comments. Contact Dan at dmccaleb@thecentersquare.com.

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