Tag Archives: WHO

WHO gets cut off

This decision makes about as little sense as Donald Trump declaring that the coronavirus pandemic is “under control.”

Trump has terminated this nation’s relationship with the World Health Organization. Think of this for a moment.

The planet is locked in a struggle against a killer viral infection. WHO stands as a worldwide clearinghouse for valuable medical information and assistance to nations seeking help in fighting diseases just like COVID-19.

What does Trump do? He cuts off WHO. He said this week he intends to spend the estimated $450 million annually we spend on WHO on other health-related organizations. Which ones? Which of them will get the money? What will they do with it?

Trump is angry with WHO because the United Nations-sponsored agency covered up — he says — for China when the pandemic first broke. He’s angry with China … after giving China credit for its alleged “transparency” in fighting the disease. He’s always been angry with the U.N., preferring to rely on that idiotic “America first” pledge he made while running for president in 2016.

I need to point out how Trump has farmed out so much of his private business employment to non-Americans, but I digress.

Now the WHO is seeking to fight the pandemic without the financial support of the nation that (a) provides more money by far than any other nation to the agency and (b) has recorded more infections and death — also by far — than any other nation on Earth.

Does that make sense? I didn’t think so.

WHO gets the shaft

Let me see if I can follow this matter that so far more or less escapes me.

The world is locked in a deadly pandemic brought to us by the coronavirus. It has killed 93,000 Americans — and counting. The United States is trying to corral the viral infection, with little success.

Other nations are suffering grievously as well.

So what does Donald John Trump threaten to do? He said he might pull all U.S. funding resources from the World Health Organization, the United Nations-sponsored health agency that many nations rely on to provide medical expertise that it brings to bear … particularly in times such as this!

Trump is angry at WHO because he alleges the agency has been too friendly with China, where Trump keeps saying is the source of the coronavirus. WHO did nothing, he says, to help stem the tide of the infection.

So he wants to punish WHO by pulling all U.S. money from its coffers. It’s a huge hit that Trump wants to deliver to WHO.

I am one American who believes that the World Health Organization’s role is invaluable. The docs and other scientists who work for WHO provide plenty of expertise, guidance and counsel for the rest of the world to heed.

It also provides all manner of research for possible cures for diseases such as the one that’s killing Americans and other human beings every hour of every day.

So … with a pandemic still raging, the president of the United States wants to strip WHO clean? Idiotic.

Pelosi puts it out there: Trump shows weakness

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is giving Donald Trump a taste of what he has dished out to her, meaning that she has declared that the president is exhibiting signs of weakness and not strength while floundering in his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pelosi has delivered a blistering critique of Trump in a letter to her Democratic House colleagues. She says Americans should ignore Trump and listen exclusively to the learned scientists and physicians who have the knowledge and expertise to explain the pandemic to a worried public.

Pelosi wrote: The truth is, from this moment on, Americans must ignore lies and start to listen to scientists and other respected professionals in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

I will quibble with one point: The time to ignore the “lies” began long before “this moment.” Still, the speaker is spot on in her assessment of Trump’s inability or unwillingness to lead a nation in distress.

She said that Trump continues to “obfuscate” and lies openly when he says the United States is testing more than any other nation on Earth for the COVID-19 virus; the truth is that we’re testing only a tiny fraction of Americans.

Trump would have us believe the response has gone swimmingly. The reality is that our hospital workers are drowning under the weight of the pressure they are feeling, as are ambulance crews, police officers, firefighters, nursing home employees, grocery store clerks, truck drivers …  you name it. Yet they’re all answering the call with true heroism.

Trump has dished out a boatload of insults at Pelosi stemming from the House impeachment effort earlier this year. The speaker is now giving some of it back.

I believe the speaker when she says she prays for Trump. I will join her in praying for the president and I’ll save a healthy dose of good will and prayer for the speaker as well.

Trump takes it out on WHO at worst possible moment

Donald Trump is so darn angry with the World Health Organization that he’s decided to pull back a huge amount of U.S. money … while WHO is trying to fight off the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Is it me or does the timing of this bit of presidential pique seem cruel and dangerous?

Trump announced his decision to withhold money for WHO this week because of what he says is a mishandling of the pandemic when it began to alarm the world. He has accused WHO of being too “China centric,” even though the pandemic has its origins in China.

Meanwhile, the United Nations-based WHO is trying to gather data, trying to coordinate the international response to this pandemic, but now it must do so without a large chunk of money on which it relies to pay for its myriad functions. The United States kicks in about $400 million annually to WHO.

This is an international emergency. If there was a time for WHO to be fully funded and able to do its job, now is the time. However, we now hear from Donald Trump that he is turning off that financial spigot just as WHO needs all the support it can get.

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, who contributes huge sums from his enormous fortune to fight infectious disease, calls Trump’s decision “as dangerous as it gets.” Other medical officials also are worried that Trump has acted hastily.

My own view is that a suspension of money from the United States to WHO could have come after the pandemic had been brought under control. Then we could have established a firm after-action examination of where WHO fell short.

This isn’t the time to strip WHO of much of its ability to fight this deadly health crisis.

Local governments are taking lead on crisis management

The good news about the president’s national emergency declaration this afternoon is that states, counties and cities already are way ahead of the federal government in managing the coronavirus pandemic.

Donald Trump stood in the White House Rose Garden, bragged a bit about how well he’s done, heard slobbering praise from Mike Pence and then declared he bears “no responsibility at all” for many of the federal missteps that have occurred along the way.

Meanwhile, governors and other state and local officials are making their own declarations and announcing plans on how they intend to deal with the crisis.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was one of the governors who today announced a disaster declaration in Texas. He has mobilized local authorities and has made some key executive decisions. Gov. Abbott sounded like someone in charge. The president? Well, not so much.

Counties, too, have taken action. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has ordered a ban on all activities that attract crowds of 250 people or more.

The crisis has been real since it broke some weeks ago. The president has sought to downplay what the World Health Organization has labeled a pandemic, which means it’s bad and likely to get worse.

So, with that I’ll listen more intently to messages coming from City Hall, from the county courthouse and from the State Capitol before I heed the words spewing from the White House.

Hey, I mean no disrespect. I just need guidance and steady counsel … neither of which is coming from the office of the president of the United States.

Let’s stop arguing over which ailment is deadlier; it’s Covid-19

I heard him say it with my own two ears, both of which are in good working order.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the world’s leading epidemiologist, told Congress this week that the Covid-19 strain of the coronavirus that the World Health Organization has labeled a pandemic is about 10 times more lethal than influenza.

He said the mortality rate from the flu is less than half of 1 percent; the death rate from Covid-19 is about 3.5 percent.

There. Is that clear? It is to me.

Yet we hear some politicians and other doubters fall back on the raw numbers, the gross number of cases as a defense of their downplaying of the threat that Covid-19 poses to the public. Donald Trump, for one, keeps saying the flu kills more people annually than coronavirus. Yes, that is true. It’s also irrelevant.

Dr. Fauci tells us the pandemic we’re experience is going to worsen before it improves. It could worsen by a lot. Meaning that a lot more human beings are going to succumb to this illness. What’s more, they will do so more frequently than they fall victim to the flu.

I am weary of the argument. Anthony Fauci settled it for me.

Covid-19 presents the type of existential threat to our very lives than the flu ever has done.

Period. Now, let’s get to work trying to control this frightening disease.

Spring break while WHO declares a pandemic among us? Well …

When someone speaks to me and asks that his or her comments are off the record, I will honor that request … even when the individual tells me something of extreme significance.

That said, I spoke today with a Texas state legislator whose name will remain my secret. He told me was meeting in Austin with state education agency officials on the topic of the Covid-19 outbreak and its potential impact on the Texas public education system.

Get a load of this:

Millions of Texas students are on spring break this week; thousands of Texas teachers are on break, too. Many thousands of students, their families and teachers are going to travel abroad during this time. They will return home late this week and are slated to return to school next week.

This legislator is concerned about the impact that the Covid-19 will have on the system, namely whether it would be wise to allow students and teachers back into classrooms when they might potentially have been exposed abroad to those who are carrying the coronavirus germs.

Hmm. I asked the legislator: Do you think the Texas Education Agency is going to close our schools? This legislator doesn’t think so.

Here, though, is the question I would ask someone in authority: Wouldn’t it be prudent to close Texas’ public school system for two weeks to examine all those who traveled abroad to see if they had been exposed to coronavirus carriers and then extend the school year two weeks at the end of the academic year?

The World Health Organization today declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic, which means it’s beyond epidemic status, that it’s now a worldwide threat to potentially every human being on Earth. The virus is reported in 142 countries, killing more than 4,000 victims worldwide.

Italy has shut down. There might be more nations that follow the Italians’ lead. I don’t expect the United States of America to join them. Still, there well might be some drastic measures on tap to deal with those who ventured perhaps too close to where the coronavirus is doing its worst.

Who’s to blame for the stock market free fall? Hmm, let’s see …

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is still in free-fall and of course, Donald John Trump wants to weigh in with his notion of who or what is to blame for our retirement funds being flushed away in front of our eyes.

In a series of Twitter messages today, POTUS posits notions that place the blame on the media and on Saudi Arabia and Russia bitching at each other over the price of oil.

The media? Yep. Of course The Donald would blame the media, which he has taken to suggesting is part of the “Deep State” conspiracy aimed at destroying the presidency while he occupies the office.

That, of course — to borrow a phrase from The Donald — is pure “bullsh**.”

Here’s another thought about what might be driving the markets nuts. It well might have something to do with confused messaging from the White House over the Covid-19 outbreak.

Trump’s health team offers dire warnings about a pandemic, they seek to quarantine cruise ship passengers, they warn against international travel, they are sounding alarms left and right.

Meanwhile, the president says it’s overblown, that he has “no worries” about the virus invading Washington, D.C., that the United States is the best prepared nation on Earth to handle the outbreak, even though health organizations tell us we’re still woefully short of testing kits to examine folks for possible contamination.

The World Health Organization places the mortality rate of those infected at 3.4 percent, but Trump says he has a “hunch” that it’s much lower. What a dipsh**!

Hmm. Well … If I am an investor I might be panicking over the confusion, the lack of steady leadership, the ignorant pronouncements coming from the current president.

Will the president own any of this? Pardon me while I bust out laughing in disgust.

Taiwan creates interesting back story in Ebola fight

A fascinating back story has emerged in the worldwide campaign against the deadly Ebola virus.

It involves Taiwan, a country I’ve visited five times since 1989. It’s a highly developed, modern, technologically advanced country of some 25 million people packed onto an island of less than 14,000 square miles.

Taiwan is now playing a key role in combating the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. It is sending medical teams into the infected regions, lending aid and expertise. It’s also planning a stepped-up effort to protect its own population against any possible outbreak.

According to an essay written by Kent Wang, a Taiwanese foreign policy official: “Relevant agencies have been directed to remain on high alert as Taiwan needs to prepare for the worst. While no cases have been reported to date, Taipei is taking every precaution. This includes strengthened entry inspections, health education, international collaboration and quarantine exercises. Taiwan CDC had set up an emergency response team August 8 and organized three expert consultation meetings and 1,212 training sessions for more than 100,000 medical professionals and individuals.”


So, what’s the back story?

Taiwan doesn’t belong to the World Health Organization. It does have “observer status,” meaning that it can peer over WHO’s shoulder, but doesn’t reap any of the real benefit of actual membership. It’s been blackballed from joining the WHO by the People’s Republic of China, which still claims Taiwan as a “renegade province.” You see, Taiwan broke away from China in 1949 after the communists took control of the mainland government. Taiwan’s government set up shop on the island, made Taipei its capital, then set about building a first-rate economy.

The nations co-existed in a virtual state of war for decades. Taiwan was expelled from the United Nations after the U.N. recognized China in the early 1970s. The United States broke off diplomatic ties with Taipei when it set up its embassy in Beijing during the Carter administration.

There’s a certain irony today with Taiwan emerging as a key Asian player in the Ebola struggle. A nation that has been expelled from relevant worldwide health organizations is being seen as a leader in fighting an emerging health menace.