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
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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

When does the expanded COVID-19 unemployment insurance run out?

The CARES Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in March, authorized extra unemployment payments, increasing the amount of money, and broadening who qualifies. The increased unemployment benefits have an expiration date — an extra $600 per week the act authorized ends on July 31.

Which states are reopening?

Many states have started to relax the restrictions put in place in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Although social-distancing measures still hold virtually everywhere in the country, more than half of states have started to phase out stay-at-home orders and phase in business reopenings. Others, like New York, are on slower timelines.

Is it worth applying for a job right now?

It never hurts to look, but as unemployment reaches levels last seen during the Great Depression and most available jobs are in places that carry risks like the supermarket or warehouses, it isn’t a bad idea to sit tight either, if you can.

You can find answers to more questions here.

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