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A sign directs people to a COVID-19 testing center in Port St. Lucie, Florida, June 2020 A sign directs people to a COVID-19 testing center in Port St. Lucie, Florida, June 5, 2020 (AP photo by NewsBase).

Leaving the WHO Is No Way to Deal With a Pandemic

Monday, July 13, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally notified the United Nations last week that the United States would withdraw from the World Health Organization. This imprudent step, taken in the midst of a rapidly accelerating pandemic, weakens global health at the precise moment it needs to be bolstered. It will endanger lives around the world while further shredding America’s tattered reputation as an enlightened global leader.

Rather than abandoning the WHO and scapegoating it for its own failures, the United States ought to be reinforcing the U.N. agency’s central role in global health governance. That won’t happen while Donald Trump remains in the White House, of course. Fortunately, the U.S. decision only takes full effect on July 6, 2021, meaning that Joe Biden could rescind it if he wins the November election. Reversing Trump’s course on the WHO should be part of a broader multipronged effort by Biden, if he’s elected president, to strengthen the world’s collective capacity to prepare for and respond to future pandemics, as well as combat the current one. ...

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