|Staff Reporter |||Apr 16, 2020 06:48 PM EDT|
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The United States has been a longtime friend who was generous to the World Health Organization but the organization could only hope that the country will remain to be a friend. This was how WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus started his address of the funding halt decided by President Donald Trump.
Ghebreysus said WHO regrets the decision and will, therefore, review the impact of the withdrawal on the organization. He hopes that other partners can fill the financial gaps so everyone can continue with programs aimed at securing the world's public health.
He highlighted that the organization is helping all nations equally, whether rich or poor nations, in the same way, that COVID-19 does not discriminate. The virus infects regardless of whether the country is poor or rich, large or small. It does not choose nationalities, ethnicities or ideologies.
WHO mentioned that even with the pandemic at present, the organization is not stopping aid for other health problems around the world. It still needs to address polio, measles, malaria, Ebola, HIV, tuberculosis, malnutrition, cancer, diabetes, mental health, and many other diseases and conditions.
The international community has also condemned Trump's decision that coincided as the global COVID-19 confirmed cases reached 2 million. As of Wednesday night, there are already 2,063,161 people infected worldwide, according to the real-time tracker from Johns Hopkins University.
Trump accused WHO of helping China in alleged disinformation about the virus. As for its contribution to WHO, the country has given more than $400 million to the organization in 2019. That amount accounted for 15% of WHO's full budget. The US said it will no longer give WHO the supposed $50 million for 2020.
The US has 638,111 confirmed cases as of Wednesday night, the highest in the world. Also, 30,000 Americans have already died. Of that, new York City accounted for 10,899 deaths. As per Reuters tally, the US is seeing about 25,000 a day of confirmed cases. This was actually down from the average 35,000 a day previously.
Worldwide, deaths are now at 136,938 with Italy registering the highest number of fatalities at 21,645.
Meanwhile, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced an extra $150 million of funding for WHO following Trump's withdrawal. The foundation said this should speed programs for treatments and vaccines for the treatment of COVID-19.
Melinda Gates said Trump's decision to withdraw funding is a "dangerous and nonsensical move." She added that WHO is "exactly the organization that can deal with this pandemic."
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