Using the COVID-19 pandemic to score political points is dangerous and will only result in “many more body bags,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday, less than a day after President Trump criticized the WHO and its relationship with China. Tedros also revealed he has received death threats in recent months.
“Please don’t politicize this virus,” Tedros said in a briefing in Geneva, after he was asked about Trump’s remarks. He later urged political leaders to “please quarantine politicizing COVID.”
“The focus of all political parties should be to save their people,” Tedros said. He added that politicizing the virus only exploits differences at the national level.
“If you want to be exploited and if you want to have many more body bags, then you [politicize the virus],” the WHO leader said. “If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it.”
Trump, whose own response to the corona crisis has been widely criticized, claimed the WHO had downplayed the coronavirus, and threatened to freeze the organization funding, only to later backtrack from the threat.
The US president accused the WHO of favoring China, while taking US money.
“I can’t believe he (Tedros) is talking about politics when you look at the relationship they have to China. So China spends 42 million, we spent 450 million and everything seems to be China’s way. That’s not right, it’s not fair to us and honestly it’s not fair to the world,” Trump said.
The WHO chief rejected Trump’s suggestion that the UN body was “China-centric”, saying: “We are close to every nation, we are color-blind.”
Tedros urged the United States to join with China in combating the pandemic rather than indulging in a blame game.
“The United States and China should come together and fight this dangerous enemy. The focus of all political parties should be to save their people,” he said.
“If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it. It’s like playing with fire,” Tedros added.
Tedros noted that Thursday would mark 100 days since China first notified the organization of cases of “pneumonia with unknown cause” on December 31.
The coronavirus has killed more than 80,000 people worldwide, while more than 1.4 million people have tested positive.
The United States recorded nearly 2,000 novel coronavirus deaths for a second day in a row as of 8:30 pm Wednesday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The figure brought the total number of US coronavirus fatalities to 14,800, with 432,000 people infected.
More than half of Americans now say that President Donald Trump’s government has done a poor job on preventing the spread of coronavirus, a CNN/ SSRS poll said.
55% of Americans Trump could be doing more to contain the contagion as the US health care system straining from the growing number of coronavirus cases
69% say the US government ought to be doing more to address the shortage of personal protective equipment and medical devices used in the treatment of coronavirus.