by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Republican governors Ron DeSantis (Fla.), Glenn Youngkin (Va.), and Kristi Noem (S.D.) denounced the Biden administration’s proposed amendments to the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations.
“We in Florida, there is no way we will ever support this WHO thing,” DeSantis said Monday. “No way.”
The amendments would change WHO’s surveillance methods, allowing the organization to “develop early warning criteria for assessing and progressively updating the national, regional, or global risk posed by an event of unknown causes or sources.” WHO would provide member nations with assessments that indicate “the level of risk of potential spread and risks of potential serious public health impacts, based on assessed infectiousness and severity of the illness.”
The amendments would also change how WHO determines public health emergencies. While the previous regulations task the organization’s director-general and each member nation with determining a crisis, the amendments delegate that power solely to the director-general. The amendments also allow the director-general to issue an intermediate public health alert if he deems that a crisis requires international awareness, even if it doesn’t meet international public health emergency standards.
DeSantis is not the only governor wary of the amendments.
“South Dakota will continue to trust our people to exercise personal responsibility over their health,” Noem said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon. “That power is not President Biden’s to give away—the 10th Amendment reserves it for the states and for the people.”
A spokeswoman for Youngkin called the Biden administration’s plans “incredibly concerning” and said “giving WHO sovereignty over U.S. health decisions” is “not something Governor Youngkin condones or supports.”
WHO has a history of working against U.S. interests. Under the leadership of Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the organization repeatedly allowed the Communist regime in China to hold sway over official health decisions.