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COVID-19

Trump threatens to end WHO funding over “repeated missteps” in COVID-19 response

David Brancaccio, Victoria Craig, and Alex Schroeder May 19, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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In a late-night tweet, the president warned the WHO it has 30 days to make "substantive improvements" in becoming more independent. Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images
COVID-19

Trump threatens to end WHO funding over “repeated missteps” in COVID-19 response

David Brancaccio, Victoria Craig, and Alex Schroeder May 19, 2020
In a late-night tweet, the president warned the WHO it has 30 days to make "substantive improvements" in becoming more independent. Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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President Donald Trump late Monday night criticized the World Health Organization and called it a “puppet of China.” He set a short deadline for changes, threatening a permanent freeze on U.S. funding for the WHO.

Following that, China accused the United States of trying to shift the blame for what it called an incompetent virus response by the U.S.

Trump has accused the WHO of lacking independence from China based on a review his administration has carried out. In his late-night tweet, the president warned the WHO it has 30 days to make “substantive improvements” in becoming more independent, or risk permanently losing American funding, which the president froze back in April.

Last year, U.S. contributions accounted for just under 15% of the WHO’s overall funding. If the president follows through on his threat, that would leave a fairly large operational hole for the organization.

The WHO works to tackle not just the COVID-19 pandemic, but HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, polio, measles — and it carries out a number of informational health campaigns around the world.

There’s been no response from the WHO itself, but back in April when the president announced the funding freeze, the UN’s chief said it was “not the time” to cut funds from the WHO.

China’s foreign ministry on Tuesday accused the U.S. of trying to mislead the public to smear China and distract from its own handling of the crisis.

This all comes amid a meeting of the World Health Assembly this week where member states have agreed to conduct an independent investigation into how the pandemic was handled “at the earliest appropriate moment,” though no timeline for that has been set.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?

The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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