By Tony Morrison, US Correspondent
18th April 2020
Well, it’s official, it’s on! In the blue corner the World Health Organization (WHO), a $3 Billion (annual revenues) mega bureaucracy with a mixed record in its epidemic fights, including a recent beating by the mighty Ebola. In the orange corner, the President Of The US, a MAGA politician who remains unbeaten in his fights against huge global money-rich, actions-poor organizations, as the UN and its various agencies have found to their considerable cost.
The fight began this week with Trump cutting off all US contributions to the WHO while a study of its role in the COVID-19 pandemic is conducted. His premise is that the WHO has become the tool of the Chinese Government. In this capacity, it failed to inform countries of the real COVID-19 dangers and helped a cover-up until the disease had spread all over the world.
The outrage was immediate from the usual suspects – the Dems, the MSM, globalist politicians throughout the world, Bill Gates, the whole gang. In Gates’ words: “Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs WHO now more than ever.”
What was extraordinary, however, was the fact that no-one was able to articulate not only why this was outrageous (apart from “Well, it’s Trump”), but also what exactly the WHO does that makes it irreplaceable. Ever since the catastrophically slow reaction by WHO to the Ebola crisis in West Africa 2013-14, folks have been waking up to the fact that the WHO is a dysfunctional bloated organization that is failing in its missions, many of which have been taken over by other groups. A Chatham House Report in 2015 listed 203 groups or organizations that fill the gap caused by the WHO’s retreat from global health issues. Of relevance for today is one of these, the Institute For Health Metrics And Evaluation (IHME), which does a far better job of statistical analysis than the WHO. Which is why we use them to look at COVID-19 as opposed to the WHO. Curiously, the Gates Foundation provides funding for IHME so he must be aware of how they have superseded the WHO.
Instead of any listing of achievements or explanations of what the WHO does, there has been much defending, mostly in the MSM, of why the WHO cannot be blamed for its shabby performance. A casual reader, or Trump, would look at these articles and think so why do we need them? But the MSM is operating from the stance that the WHO is a sacrosanct globalist organization whose existence cannot be questioned and so performance is irrelevant, especially as there are so many excuses. Here’s the New York Times summing up these excuses: “But the WHO can officially report only what countries say. Historically, some countries have tried to cover up or play down outbreaks of human or animal diseases for fear that travel restrictions would be imposed, tourism would suffer or food exports would be curtailed — or simply as a matter of national pride.”
Which brings us to why Trump has a huge beef as this exactly describes WHO’s behavior with China and COVID-19. The WHO were aware of the Wuhan virus outbreak (as it was called back in December before the WHO came up with the official non-Chinese name two months later). They suspected it was transmitted from human to human, as it was in the rest of the coronavirus family, and they were very much aware of how the Chinese initially tried to cover up what was really going on with a new and potentially deadly disease. Yet they still did everything in their power for four months (December to March) to downplay the disease and save China’s blushes.
The cover-up in Wuhan seems to have been because the Chinese were concerned about the fact that the disease is zoonotic, meaning it has jumped from animals (in this case bats) to humans. The Wuhan “wet market” is a likely candidate as a wet market is where all kinds of exotic animals are sold in appalling unclean conditions. The wet markets were fingered as the culprit back in 2003 for the also-zoonotic SARS, a nastier cousin of COVID-19. Another theory is that the jump occurred at a Bio Lab in Wuhan which has lax protocols in dealing with viruses, and an infected worker spread it to other wet market customers. Whatever the cause, defective Lab procedures or another wet market engendered plague like SARS, the Chinese had ample reasons to cover up what was going on.
And so the WHO downplayed the disease until the end of March. No travel bans were needed, no precautions, no need for social distancing or masks as it could not be propagated human to human, etc. This was done for the benefit of only one country, China.
For all other countries the WHO’s actions were disastrous. For example, WHO did not give out any advice on restricting travel and closing borders. China blocked off Wuhan from the entire country – no movement allowed in or out. However, they did not for travelers from Wuhan to the rest of the world, or vice versa. And so large numbers of Chinese from Wuhan headed off throughout the world for the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations (Jan 24 – Feb 9), propagating the disease in many countries. In perhaps the only positive thing WHO did was declare a public health emergency for COVID-19 on January 30, which then caused Trump to issue travel restrictions to China, along with many other countries. Too late.
One of these countries hard hit is the US, in particular New York City. The Elmhurst hospital in Queens has been featured on the news as a hospital overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. It took such a hit that the nursing staff did not have time for the synchronized dancing that is all the rage in the UK at hospitals with a lot less to do. The hospital is in a part of Queens that has become a Chinatown district in recent years.
And then there are the scandals that always plague unaccountable global quangos. Margaret Chan, the DG who screwed up Ebola and praised the lack of obesity in North Korea (starvation tends to do that to you), also presided over a travel scandal where WHO personnel were spending more time on planes in business class than even the most fervent climate change warrior. Her successor was supposed to stop it – he didn’t. But it’s the organization itself that needs to be changed or discontinued, not the head. After all, meet the new boss; same as the old boss.
The new boss is currently Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is apparently so wonderful he is known by one name, Tedros, as if he’s a female “music” star. Oh, and there is also a Dr. in front of it, even though he only has a PhD in public health from the University Of Nottingham. Dr. Ted interestingly enough has considerable form in epidemic cover-ups. When he was Minister For Health in his home country of Ethiopia, he covered up three cholera outbreaks insisting rather they were outbreaks of “acute watery diarrhea,” which certainly cannot be beaten as a description of, well cholera.
Guys skilled in cover-ups don’t come along that often, so it was no surprise that Dr. Ted’s appointment as DG of WHO in 2017 was heavily pushed by China. They lobbied hard for his appointment among developing countries with promises of aid. Just one part of China’s spending an inordinate amount of effort throwing their weight around the globalist organizations from the UN on down to push their agenda (China as a superpower, no criticism of their appalling human rights record, no recognition of Taiwan). To-date it has been remarkably successful. Its’ hold over the WHO, for example, is not based on contributions as it contributes a mere $48 Million every year, while the US contributes between $400-500 Million. Chinese Premier, XI Jiping, calls that a bargain, the best I ever had.
Trump’s action is being bigged up over here as it feeds the anti-Trump narrative so well. In Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s words: “The President’s halting of funding to the WHO as it leads the global fight against the coronavirus is senseless. But sadly, as he has since Day One, the President is ignoring global health experts, disregarding science and undermining the heroes fighting on the frontline, at great risk to the lives and livelihoods of Americans and people around the world.” Note how the statement has nothing to do with the damaging failures of the organization to whom the US taxpayer pays serious moolah every year, but everything to do with the fictions of Orange Man Bad.
But it would be a mistake to see it only in the context of COVID-19. This is part of a much larger agenda for Trump, and indeed all folks throughout the world who see no profit in continuing to throw money at organizations that not only have outlived their usefulness, but are actually harmful in their actions to those who bear the lion’s share of the funding. So far Trump has cut funding by $600 Million to the UN for its anti-US and Israel policies, and additionally funding to a host of other UN organizations. And he is looking askance at NATO. Another organization whose existence has been outmoded by events – its mission still seems to be protecting Europe from the Russian Army sweeping over the East European Plain – and for which the US pays an inordinate share. The song is over.