In a historic move, the Trump administration has begun the process to formally withdraw the U.S. from the World Health Organization. Despite the rise in coronavirus cases and opposition from Republicans, medical associations and allies abroad, the administration submitted the three-sentence notice to the United Nations’ Secretary General. The withdrawal is effective July 6, 2021. The process takes a year to complete.
Democrats are sharply criticizing the president’s move. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it “is an act of true senselessness.” Sen. Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee tweeted the news and his disagreement earlier this week.
“Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the @WHO in the midst of a pandemic. To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic & incoherent doesn’t do it justice. This won’t protect American lives or interests—it leaves Americans sick & America alone,” he wrote.
In its fight against the pandemic, the World Health Organization is currently conducting research and clinical trials vital to the development of a vaccine. The WHO is also coordinating efforts to deliver personal protective equipment and ventilators to hospitals worldwide.
Trump has recently threatened to end the relationship with WHO and stop sending financial aid, up to $500 million. He has also accused the organization of enabling China in allegedly covering up the pandemic’s origins.
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden has vowed to reverse the action “on day one” if elected in November.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
The U.S. has hit another milestone, reporting more than three million confirmed infections nationwide. Efforts to slow the spread of the virus appear to be failing as cases in some states double within weeks. Hospitals in hard-hit states are facing shortages of ICU beds and doctors are warning that protective gear is again close to running out.
California, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma and Texas broke their previous daily record highs for new cases this week. The biggest increases occurred in Texas and California, with more than 10,000 each on Tuesday.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced it was adding short-term “surge” testing sites in three areas in Florida, Louisiana and Texas as people wait in line for hours to get tested.
In response to the Trump administration’s guidelines to deport international college students if schools offer classes exclusively online this fall, Harvard and MIT have sued the administration. The lawsuit argues that the guidelines violate the Administrative Procedures Act.
Harvard announced its plan to deliver classes online earlier this week as coronavirus cases continue to rise. In an interview with CNN, Harvard’s President Larry Bacow said the new guideline’s cruelty is “surpassed only by its recklessness.”
In a statement, MIT president L. Rafael Reif said the measure “disrupts our international students’ lives and jeopardizes their academic and research pursuits.”