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U.S. says WHO response to Covid-19 cost many lives


Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar wears a face mask while attending a press briefing about coronavirus testing in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 11, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

The United States chastized the World Health Organization for its response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying the United Nations’ health agency failed to obtain information about the virus when the world needed it.

Speaking at the WHO’s two-day World Health Assembly on Monday, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said: “There was a failure by this organization to obtain the information that the world needed, and that failure cost many lives.”

To date, more than 4.7 million people have contracted Covid-19 worldwide, with 315,822 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

“In an apparent attempt to conceal this outbreak, at least one member state made a mockery of their transparency obligations, with tremendous costs for the entire world,” Azar continued, in an apparent reference to China.

“We saw that WHO failed at its core mission of information sharing and transparency when member states do not act in good faith. This cannot ever happen again,” he added.

The WHO was not immediately available to respond when contacted by CNBC on Monday.

President Donald Trump’s administration has been particularly critical of the WHO’s response, with Trump saying the U.S. would halt funding to the organization in April.

However, Trump said Saturday he was considering restoring some funding to the WHO.


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