The World Health Organization was founded in the wake of World War II, following formation of the United Nations — the United States playing a large part in both efforts. After President Trump officially began to pull the United States out of WHO in the wake of accusations of mismanagement and ineffectiveness as COVID-19 began its spread in China, two-thirds of readers signaled support for Trump’s move. Providing health information and coordinating global pandemic response are key elements of WHO’s mission.
One reader, commenting as “Shadow,” reflected a prevailing view that COVID-19’s spread out of China represented an epic failure by the agency. “If WHO had let the world know when they first found out” about the novel coronavirus, “all travel to and from China could have been stopped” and the virus effectively contained, he believed.
The record shows Chinese authorities alerted WHO and other nations about the situation only well after initial cases were identified, in some views purposefully downplaying the disease’s threat. A minority of readers see this reality as key to the reason the virus spread rapidly around the world, also underscoring a reason for the United States to remain an influential part of WHO and a leading force in fighting contagion worldwide.
“Why should we pull out” of WHO? asked Bill Gordon. “We helped build it. I just think it’s stupid, and it shows we’re not leaders in this.”
At press time, reported positive tests for COVID-19 were highest among all nations in the United States, as were reported deaths.