With the United States being the next global hotspot for the pandemic, President Trump was to announce restrictions on US funding for the World Health Organization (WHO), over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as the administration and conservative allies ramped up their criticism that the United Nations agency catered to China early in the outbreak and jeopardized global health.
Trump hinted at a temporary hold on US funding on April 10, but said he wanted to wait until after Easter to announce anything. He had said in a media briefing that his administration would discuss the organization “in great detail” this week, adding that he did not want to go further “before we had all the facts.”
The detection of the virus
The virus which began in December 2019 was brought to light when the information was presented to the WHO Chinese authorities. The World Health Organization had received information on the coronavirus outbreak on January 11/12 2020, as mentioned on their official site.
According to information conveyed to authorities on January 11 and 12, 41 cases with novel coronavirus infection have been diagnosed in Wuhan City, Out of which, seven were severely ill, and one person had died.
The cluster was initially identified on December 31, recording that it had started from a wet seafood market in Wuhan, which later the WHO Chinese office was informed.
World Health Organization’ Initial Response
The action was not taken immediately; the virus had not been seen as a global threat because of the six cases of recovery out of the 41 mentioned above. On February 28, China reported 331 new cases, while there were 1,027 cases reported elsewhere, according to a WHO situation report. The continued spread and rising case counts outside China are “clearly of concern,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on the same day in a media briefing.
The WHO Director-General and his fellow experts saw reason to be hopeful: most of the cases cropping up in new places can be clearly linked back to known contacts and clusters of cases—such as those from Italy and Iran.
“We do not see evidence as yet that the virus is spreading freely in communities,” said Dr. Tedros. “As long as that’s the case, we still have a chance of containing this virus — if robust action is taken to detect cases early, isolate and care for patients, and trace contacts.”
How it affected our present scenario?
According to Dr. Tedros speech, it was understood that the virus could be contained. Known contacts meant easier and quicker methods to track the people who could have possibly contracted the virus, but things didn’t go as smoothly as they planned it to be.
By the time global leaders warned their citizens about the seriousness of the threat, the importance of social distancing, isolation and others, it had gotten extremely uncontrollable.
Italy reporting hundreds of deaths each day and the USA becoming one of the hotspots for the virus, leading many countries to dig up massive graves for its dead. Where did it go wrong? Was the threat too small to begin with to be regarded as severe?
The testing of drugs, the need of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and many more medical measures that have sprigged up on people can be identified as a delayed response, to fight the battle against the virus.
Change, as we all know, does not happen over-night. The idea of self-isolation and social distancing does not sink into individuals who are not used to being indoors- even if it is to protect oneself and others. So maybe, the warnings could have been put out earlier, perhaps the World Health Organisation could have been more transparent with its members and the global citizens.