Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signaled agreement with President Donald Trump this week regarding enhanced public scrutiny applied to the World Health Organization’s early stage handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a Wednesday news conference, Cuomo told reporters the global politics of the matter were “not my field,” but he was unrestrained in suggesting the WHO was in fact late to the game in educating world leaders about the virus.
“Whose job is it to warn us of these global pandemics?” the governor asked. “The president says it’s the World Health Organization, and that’s why he’s taken action against them.
“Not my field — but he’s right to ask the question because this was too little, too late.”
Cuomo says President Trump is “right” to question World Health Organization’s early handling of the coronavirus outbreak: “This was too little, too late, and let’s find out what happened so it does not happen again. And it will happen again. Bank on it.” https://t.co/9T8aUPjUrs pic.twitter.com/GU5HXss4Sb
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 24, 2020
The statement came little more than one week after Trump announced his administration would halt U.S. funding of the WHO for 60 days in order to investigate the organization’s global pandemic response and assess whether it is worthy of receiving continued American aid.
“The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look,” Trump wrote on Twitter at the time. “Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?”
The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2020
“We’re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO. We’re going to put a very powerful hold on it, and we’re going to see,” the president later said at a news briefing.
Concerns regarding the United Nations health institution’s aid worthiness were raised in early April as viral spread increased dramatically in the U.S., triggering public health crackdowns nationwide.
As enhanced testing efforts gave way to skyrocketing stateside case totals, criticism raged against the federal response, prompting numerous administration officials to remind the public that response had largely been tailored to — and even gone beyond — early advisories from WHO experts, some of whom initially indicated the virus might not be transmissible on a person-to-person basis and global border closures were likely unnecessary.
The reverse has proven true, however, as widespread global travel to and from the virus’ point of origin in Wuhan, China, is widely believed to have been a major contributor to global transmission speed.
And according to Johns Hopkins data, nowhere has that rapid transmission been felt more strongly than the state of New York.
As of Friday, New York accounted for nearly 30 percent of confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases at roughly 263,000.
One of the most well-traveled metropolitan centers in the world, New York City alone has registered just over 16,000 coronavirus-related deaths — more than most nations.
Cuomo seemed to indicate Wednesday that investigating what sort of global response mismanagement may have contributed to such high totals was of the utmost importance.
“Let’s find out what happened, so it doesn’t happen again,” he said. “It will happen again. Bank on it.
“Let’s not put our head in the sand and say, ‘This is the only global pandemic that we’ll ever have to deal with.'”
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