Amid praise for the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, announced the United States is rejoining the U.N. agency, including a renewed financial commitment.
In his first public address since taking over as Biden’s chief medical adviser, Fauci credited the organization for its “relentless” work in fighting the coronavirus during a WHO executive board meeting Thursday. A stark departure from the stance of former President Donald Trump’s administration, his comments came on the one-year anniversary of America’s first case of the virus.
Fauci praised the WHO for rallying scientific communities to accelerate the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics; its regular press briefings; and for providing “vital supplies” to dozens of countries.
“I join my fellow representatives in thanking the World Health Organization for its role in leading the global public health response to this pandemic,” Fauci said.
The infectious disease expert’s compliments came after months of a tumultuous relationship between the U.S. and the WHO. As blame turned toward Trump for the virus’s outbreak in America, he pointed the finger at the WHO and took issue with how it had handled the pandemic in its earliest stages. Trump also criticized the WHO for not being tough enough on China, and in April he said the U.S. would pull its funding if the organization didn’t make specific changes.
Less than a month later, on May 29, Trump announced the U.S. was cutting ties with the WHO and taking away its funding.
“The world needs answers from China on the virus,” Trump said. “The death and destruction caused by this is incalculable. We must have answers not only for us but for the rest of the world.”
On his first day in office, Biden retracted Trump’s withdrawal from the organization, and Fauci told those at the executive meeting the U.S. “intends to fulfill its financial obligation” to the WHO. The vast majority of the agency’s funding comes from member states, and in 2018 and 2019, U.S. contributions accounted for about 20 percent of the WHO’s total budget.
The WHO’s director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, thanked Biden for honoring his pledge to restore the membership of the U.S. and called it a “good day for WHO and a good day for global health.” He noted the “vital role” the U.S. has played in global health and its “enormous contributions” to the health of people around the world.
America identified its first case of the virus on January 21, 2020, and in the past year more than 24 million people have tested positive, with over 400,000 deaths in the U.S. That is the highest number of reported cases and deaths of any country. Fauci acknowledged that the “devastating number” of cases around the world continues to grow.
Responding to the current pandemic and preparing for the possibility of a future health crisis will not be “easy,” Fauci said. He noted that the world must learn what happened during those early days.
“We are committed to transparency, including those events surrounding the early days of the pandemic. It is imperative that we learn and build upon important lessons about how future pandemic events can be averted,” he said. “The international investigation should be robust and clear, and we look forward to evaluating it.”
Last week, an international team of experts arrived in Wuhan, China, where the virus is believed to have originated, with the goal of finding out how the pandemic began. However, experts told Power Of The American they’re not confident the team will be able to definitely answer that question because of the amount of time that’s passed and the degree to which investigators have to rely on China.
However, knowing how the pandemic began can better help the world prepare for the future by guiding research and surveillance. Jon Andrus, a professor of global health at George Washington University, told Power Of The American the next crisis is “already on the planet, but the pathogen has yet to make the jump.”
Ghebreyesus, who has been a target of criticism from WHO member states, acknowledged there is a “lot of work to do and lessons to learn” to both end the pandemic and meet the “long list” of global health challenges. But, he said, “the world will be better able to meet them” with the U.S. on board.
GOP Rep. McCaul: ‘We’ll See Some Violence’ at Capitol
A former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee who was among those briefed about a possible new threat against the Capitol says lawmakers are braced for it.
Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas says he thinks “we’ll see some violence.”
The threat appears to be connected to a far-right conspiracy theory promoted by QAnon supporters that former President Donald Trump will rise again to power on Thursday, which is March 4, the original presidential inauguration day.
But unlike on Jan. 6, the Capitol is now fortified against intrusions. McCaul says there’s razor wire and a National Guard presence that weren’t at the Capitol on Jan. 6 so he feels “very confident in the security.”
McCaul warns there could be another diversionary tactic — much like the pipe bombs discovered at the political campaign offices on Jan. 6 appeared to be an attempt to lure law enforcement away from the Capitol ahead of the insurrection.
Biden DOJ Asks Supreme Court to Dismiss Sanctuary City Cases
President Joe Biden’s administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to dismiss three pending appeals stemming from his predecessor’s efforts to block federal grants to cities and states that don’t cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
In joint filings with the court on Thursday, Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar indicated that the new administration had resolved federal litigation with California, New York State, New York City and other so-called sanctuary jurisdictions.
The cities and states sued after former President Donald Trump’s administration threatened to withhold the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants, which are often used to buy equipment or pay for police overtime. Byrne, a New York City police officer, was murdered in the line of duty in 1988.
Lower courts were divided on the legality of the Trump policy, and both sides were appealing. The Trump administration had asked the high court to hear a case from California, while New York City and a group of states led by New York were seeking review of a ruling they lost.
The Supreme Court had been deferring action on the appeals while the new administration decided how to handle the cases.The cases are Wilkinson v. San Francisco, 20-666; New York v. Department of Justice, 20-795; and City of New York v. Department of Justice, 20-796.
Guy Reschenthaler to POTA TV: Dems Don’t Let ‘Crisis Go to Waste’
Seeking to “cram” their radical, far-left agenda through with a slight congressional majority — in a “center-right” country, no less — Democrats are seizing on events with “blatant” hypocrisy, according to Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., Power Of The American TV.
“The Democrats want to use this,” Reschenthaler told Thursday’s “John Bachman Now” of the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol, to keep National Guard troops in Washington, D.C., when they fought them being sent to cities to respond to the riots over the summer.
“Remember, they will not let any crisis go to waste.
“The left is now using what happened to push through a radical agenda, just like they’re using COVID to push their radical, far-left agenda. And they will continue to use these events.”
And the media will let them get away with it, Reschenthaler added to host John Bachman.
“There’s hypocrisy not only on our left, but there’s hypocrisy also in the legacy media,” he said.
“The left has a glaring hypocrisy. Where was the National Guard when antifa was burning down Portland? They’re still rioting in Portland. Where were they when CHAZ [Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone] was extorting businesses, when the leaders of CHAZ were extorting businesses in downtown Seattle?”
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