The Trump administration is officially withdrawing the U.S. from the World Health Organization. Trump originally announced he was cutting ties with the W.H.O. in a speech in late May, where he said China had “total control” over the organization.
The move to officially withdraw comes as coronavirus cases in the U.S. are surging. The 5-day moving average of new U.S. cases hit 54,000 in the first week of July. The previous all-time-high hit in April was 36,000.
As of July 7, the U.S. has 2.9 million confirmed cases and more than 130,000 deaths.
The pullout will take effect in 2021.
New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez tweeted the news and admonished the decision. "Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the @WHOin the midst of a pandemic. To call Trump's response to COVID chaotic & incoherent doesn't do it justice. This won't protect American lives or interests—it leaves Americans sick & America alone," he wrote.
Brewing in the backdrop of the withdrawal is months of mounting U.S. pressure on Beijing over its role in the spread of the coronavirus, with Trump alleging that China failed to prevent the spread of the virus and that the virus originated in a Wuhan laboratory.
Trump often calls the coronavirus the ‘Wuhan Virus’ and has said China’s early inaction is to blame for the loss of more than 100,000 American lives.
On May 29, on the role of the World Health Organization, Trump said, “China has total control over the W.H.O., despite only paying $40 million per year, compared to what the U.S. has been paying, which is approximately $450 million a year. We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly, and they have refused to act. We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.”