Dr. Anthony Fauci, US President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser for COVID-19, announced Thursday that the country will resume its support for the World Health Organization, which was harshly criticized by the Trump administration. Fauci listed new commitments from Washington to combat the coronavirus and other global health problems.
In a videoconference with the WHO board of directors from the United States, where it had not yet dawned, Fauci said that his country will join projects to bring vaccines against COVID-19 to people in need around the world, as well as material to make diagnostic tests and to treat patients. The number of US workers in the group and financial support for WHO will also be restored.
Fauci’s swift engagement with the WHO – which has come under repeated attack from the Trump administration for its management of the crisis – is a drastic and express shift toward a more multilateral strategy to combat the pandemic.
“I am proud to announce that the United States will continue to be a member of the World Health Organization,” Fauci said. Just hours after Biden took office on Wednesday, his administration announced that the United States will revoke the WHO withdrawal program in July, which the Trump administration had announced.
The new government “will end the withdrawal of US personnel assigned to the WHO” and resume the “usual engagement” with the WHO. “The United States also intends to meet its financial obligations to the organization,” he added.
He referred to WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as “my dear friend.”
Other countries and the head of the WHO welcomed the announcements and promised to work with the Biden government.
“This is a good day for the WHO and a good day for global health,” Tedros said, referring to “my brother Tony” in reference to Fauci and congratulating Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. “The role of the United States, its role, the global role, is very, very crucial.”
During the Trump administration, the United States has been the most notorious absence – and the one with the greatest economic means – of the COVAX Mechanism, which has had funding problems and to close contracts with vaccine manufacturers, as well as logistical complications. Both the European Union and China have expressed support for the program.