In his first day in office, President Joe Biden informed the World Health Organization that the US intends to remain in the multinational pact, negating President Donald Trump’s attempt to remove the US from the organization.
The US was set to leave the WHO on July 6, 2021, one year after Trump told the organization the US intended on leaving. But with Biden’s new directive, that will not be taking place.
Amid the US restrengthening its bonds with the WHO, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who will now serve as an infectious disease adviser to Biden, will speak to the WHO on Thursday.
“The WHO plays a crucial role in the world’s fight against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic as well as countless other threats to global health and health security,” Biden said in a letter addressed to WHO leaders. “The United States will continue to be a full participant and a global leader in confronting such threats and advancing global health and health security.”
The United States is the largest contributor to the WHO, which was formed in 1948 by the United Nations According to the WHO, the United States provided 14.67% of funding to the organization.
One of the WHO’s top missions is to stop the spread of preventable diseases. While polio has been eradicated in the United States, the WHO says it expects to spend $1.6 billion from 2019 through 2023 on polio eradication. Nearly 36% of the WHO’s budget alone goes toward polio eradication.
Besides polio eradication, the WHO says funds from the US are used for outbreak and crisis response, vaccines of preventable diseases and reproductive health. The WHO says 19% of its budget goes toward crisis and outbreak response.
But outbreak response was an area of scrutiny for the WHO. Leading the criticism was President Donald Trump.
"Today I'm instructing my administration to halt funding of the WHO while a review is conducted to assess the WHO's role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus," Trump said in April.
The WHO was arguably slow for declaring the virus a "pandemic," as it was not until March 11 when the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.