U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner signed on to a letter that a dozen Senate Republicans sent to the Secretary General of the United Nations asking for an investigation of the World Health Organization’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The United States and countries around the world depend upon the WHO as a source of reliable, independent, and scientifically-based information about public health challenges,” the letter reads. “While we recognize that the WHO itself is highly dependent upon the cooperation of its member states to provide such data, the organization does have both the authority and technical capacity to conduct independent analysis and utilize third-party data, particularly in cases where transparency is in doubt.”
The senators alleged that the WHO showed “remarkable deference” to the Chinese government, and hammered the Asian nation for its actions that contributed to misinformation and the spread of the virus.
“The Chinese government appears to have under-reported cases by failing to include asymptomatic infections in its official counts, misled the international community about transmissibility, and delayed WHO experts access to affected regions for weeks,” the letter reads. “This concerted effort ultimately contributed to the international spread of a contagion that has now sickened over 2.7 million people and claimed over 186,000 lives as of April 23, 2020.”
President Donald Trump announced in mid-April that he was defunding the WHO, which coordinates international health response within the United Nations system. Democrats criticized the move, with U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette calling it a “terrible decision” that will cost lives.
“We are in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic. We need to work with our global allies, not cast them aside,” she said.
The Republican senators told the WHO that the U.S. is its “single largest donor,” and clarified that they did not intend for a review to affect the efforts of health workers.