By: Dominick Mastrangelo – washingtonexaminer.com – April 15, 2020
Dr. Deborah Birx said foreign nations would have been better equipped to deal with the coronavirus had China and the World Health Organization been more transparent during the pandemic’s early days.
“You really have to go back and ask yourself, ‘Why wasn’t there this level of transparency when this virus exploded?'” Birx said Wednesday on the View. “I think people would have prepared differently if they had known the level of transmissibility of this virus.”
President Trump on Tuesday announced he was suspending U.S. funding to the WHO as a result of what he said was the international health organization’s botched handling of the virus.
“Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China’s lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death,” Trump said.
The virus, which has sickened more than 2 million people worldwide and killed more than 25,000 people in the United States, is believed to have originated at a so-called “wet market” in Wuhan, China, late last year.
The Chinese government reportedly silenced whistleblowers who warned that the virus could spread easily and cause a pandemic resulting in a massive loss of life.
The WHO declared on Jan. 14, “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus.”
Still, the virus spread to Europe and other nations around the world before eventually reaching American soil. The result has been one of the largest public health crises in American history.
Hospitals in major U.S. cities were flooded with sick COVID-19 patients, and lockdown measures in nearly every state led to a record number of people filing for unemployment.
Trump has said he is eager to get large sections of the country reopened as soon as May 1 and vowed to hold the WHO “accountable” for not providing more warning.
Democrats and some media reports have suggested it was Trump who ignored early warning signs.
The international health organization’s director said this week he was disappointed to learn Trump had halted funding to the WHO.
“The United States of America has been a long-standing and generous friend to WHO, and we hope it will continue to be so,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “We regret the decision of the president of the United States to order a halt in funding to the World Health Organization.”
Birx, a leading member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, explained how accurate information about viruses is especially important in its early stages.
“You have to increase your level of reporting and transparency,” she said. “Because it’s a new disease, every word and every experience that you have becomes very critical.”
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