Infectious Disease

Biden authorities to renew US engagement with WHO

January 20, 2021

2 min read

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Disclosure:
Adalja and del Rio do not report any relevant financial information. Kuppalli reports to be a consultant for GlaxoSmithKline.

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Among several executive orders to be signed on his first day in office, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. promised that the United States would part with the Trump administration and “deal” with WHO again.

The order will “cease the previous government’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization – a facility vital to coordinating the international response to COVID-19, improving preparedness for future epidemics and pandemics, and improving the health of all people” Biden-Harris transition team said in a press release.

Carlos del Rio quote

The Trump administration’s plan to withdraw from WHO, announced in July, has been criticized by experts as dangerous and counterproductive to efforts to combat the pandemic. Trump previously cited WHO’s relationship with China and its criticism of the government’s travel bans at the start of the pandemic as reasons to stop funding the agency.

The Biden-Harris team said that the director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases Anthony S. Fauci, MD, would chair a US delegation to attend the WHO Executive Board meeting this week and would make comments on that meeting on Jan. 21.

Anthony S. Fauci

Amesh A. Adalja

“The US, which rejoins WHO and is able to speak out and influence the organization, as well as support some of its core tasks, will be better for this pandemic and the next potential pandemic.” Amesh A. Adalja, MD, FIDSA, FACP, FACEP, Healio, senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “The only way to be prepared for the next pandemic is to be proactive. This includes working with partners across the country and internationally, and WHO is an important place to do this. “

The Biden Harris administration said it would work with WHO to “strengthen and reform the organization, support COVID-19 health and humanitarian aid, and advance global health and health security.”

Krutika Kuppalli

“The reintegration of WHO is vital, and this is especially important during a pandemic,” repeated the editor of the Infectious Disease News Carlos del Rio, MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Executive Associate Dean at Emory University School of Medicine. “There are undoubtedly many problems with WHO, but the way to fix them is to drive change from within – not to give up the main UN agency for health.”

Krutika Kuppalli, MD, An assistant professor of medicine in the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Medical University of South Carolina and vice chair of the Global Health Committee of the Infectious Diseases Society of America said working with WHO could help “streamline decision-making to expedite decision-making processes “For crises.

She said the new administration should raise awareness of the benefits of US contributions to WHO and the impact of those contributions on Americans.

“I think we should learn how damaging it is to our own relationships to have withdrawn from these global partnerships, and how important it is for all of us to work together if we are to contain these global threats and create a safer world” , so Kuppalli said Healio.

The Biden government will also launch a “100 Day Masking Challenge” to encourage American citizens to responsibly wear a mask for 100 days.

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Peter Chin-Hong, MD)

Peter Chin-Hong, MD

I welcome this news with open arms. It’s time we had good news in our inbox.

We cannot work on communicable diseases and the world’s public health alone because the world’s public health is our public health. We need commitment and cooperation. The split from WHO last summer, which raised 14% of the budget, was a slap in the face, not just for WHO, but for all of us. It was a public health and science reprimand and an embarrassment on the world stage. COVID-19 and other communicable diseases know no borders – they don’t care if you live on a Pacific island, the US, or the Caribbean.

We all need to work together, not just to protect the world, but to protect ourselves. At this time when all eyes are on immunization and the reopening of the economy, it is even more important to reconnect with the WHO and COVAX in particular. (Editor’s note: The new government has signaled that it will join COVAX, the WHO’s plan to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.)

We cannot return to normal until the world has achieved herd immunity. The economy depends on open borders, and we cannot have open borders without making sure the whole world is vaccinated.

Let’s look forward to more good news like this and to more commitment and direction from science and politics.

Peter Chin-Hong, MD

Member of the editorial team for infectious diseases

Professor of Medicine

Director of the Transplant Infectious Disease Program

University of California, San Francisco

Disclosure: Chin-Hong does not report any relevant financial information.

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