by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Since its inception 112 years ago almost to the day, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been credited with the eradication of smallpox and the near eradication of other devastating illnesses, including leprosy and river blindness.
This record of success makes the current corruption of the organization all the more shameful.
On December 30, Chinese doctor Li Wenliang warned colleagues about the outbreak of an illness resembling severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which sparked a pandemic in 2003. Public-health officials rely on the acuity of doctors like Li, whose early warnings prevent the spread of deadly diseases. But Chinese authorities didn’t reward Li; they summoned him to the Public Security Bureau in Wuhan on accusations that he had made false statements and disrupted the public order.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) followed up with numerous other arrests, and publicly warned that it would punish anyone spreading “rumors” on social media. By mid January, Chinese doctors knew that COVID-19 was spreading between humans, but on January 14, the WHO stated that there was “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus.” Two weeks later, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus flew to Beijing for a meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping, who so impressed Tedros that he lauded Chinese authorities for “setting a new standard for outbreak control,” praising their “openness for sharing information.”
Dr. Li might have disagreed with that sentiment. Alas, he was never able to voice his objections: He died after contracting COVID-19.
When the WHO emergency committee discussed whether to declare COVID-19 a public-health emergency on January 23, international observers had definitively discredited Chinese health data. Yet Tedros relied on those data in arguing against declaring an emergency — over the objections of other committee members.
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