ABOVE: CBN News Medical Reporter Lorie Johnson appeared on the Wednesday afternoon edition of CBN's Newswatch to talk about the US's withdrawal from the World Health Organization. Newswatch is seen weekdays on the CBN News Channel.
The Trump administration has formally notified the United Nations that it will withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO) because it misled the world about the coronavirus under pressure by China.
The move makes good on President Trump's promise in late May to pull out of the WHO which he harshly criticized for its delayed response to the coronavirus, accusing the WHO of bowing to Chinese influence after China covered up the severity of the disease which allowed it to spread around the globe with deadly effect.
The White House notified UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of the US government's decision on Tuesday. The withdrawal will become effective on July 6, 2021. The US currently pays the multinational health organization more than $450 million a year, which is 15 percent of the WHO's operating budget.
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CBN News Medical Reporter Lorie Johnson believes Trump is simply using the pullout threat to force changes at the WHO. "We need to remember President Trump is a deal-maker and what he's doing here is putting pressure on the WHO to get rid of the Director-General Tedros within the next year. He is the problem, as the president sees it, because of Tedros' ties to China."
"The president says every step of the way Tedros has sided with the Chinese at the expense of the rest of the world by not presenting accurate information early. For example, Tedros put out a tweet saying the coronavirus wasn't easily transmitted from person to person when he likely knew that was not the case," Johnson explains.
Meanwhile, the US has just hit a few unhappy milestones. On Tuesday, the country set a new record of 58,000 coronavirus cases in a single day. And Wednesday, confirmed coronavirus cases in the country hit 3 million with many more people probably infected.
Still, the death rate remains low for now, according to health officials.
Vice President Mike Pence said, “We are encouraged the average fatality rate continues to be low and steady and at days early this week it was 90% lower than at the height of this pandemic. It’s a credit to the sacrifice the American people have made and the work the healthcare workers are doing.”
But Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases warns the US cannot rest easy.
"It's a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death," Fauci said during an online event held by Reuters with Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) on Tuesday. "There's so many other things that are dangerous and bad about the virus. Don't get into false complacency."
Still, Fauci explained there's a positive reason for the lower death rate – treatments and therapies for those with advanced COVID-19 symptoms have improved in the US.
"The idea that the virus is mutating and so is less damaging to people has not yet been proven at all," he said.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director also told local officials not to send mixed signals to their citizens about wearing masks. "The message should be, 'Wear a mask, period'," Fauci warned.
Many states have been rolling back their re-openings due to the surge in virus cases. Texas passed 10,000 new cases on Tuesday.
In some places, hospitals and health care systems are being pushed hard. But reinforcements are on the way. The US military is sending both specialists and nurses to San Antonio, while 100 nurses are on their way to help in hospitals in Miami, FL.
Now comes a startling new prediction about the spread of the virus. A new University of Washington model predicts 200,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 by November.
As of Wednesday, Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center reported more than 126,000 deaths so far in the US.