One NEV (AP) – When the World Health Organization declared an epidemic of coronavirus on Thursday a year ago, it did so only after a week of fighting, claiming that the highly contagious virus could still be stopped.
A year later, the UN agency is still struggling to keep COVID-19 at the forefront of science, to persuade countries to give up their nationalist leanings, to help get vaccines where they are most needed.
The agency made costly wrong steps on the way. He advised people not to wear masks for months, to insist that COVID-19 is not widely available in the air. It also refused to publicly call on countries, particularly China, to address the mistakes made by top WTO officials in private.
It created a complex policy that challenges the credibility of the WTO, “it confuses the two world powers,” intensifying the Trump administration’s outspoken criticism of the agency, which is only now emerging.
President Biden’s support for the WTO may provide some breathing space, but the organization still has a monumental task ahead of it as it seeks to establish some moral authority in the face of a global vaccine scandal that has left billions of people vulnerable.
“The WHO is a little behind, being more cautious than cautious,” said Luca Burtzi, a former WHO lawyer now at the Geneva Graduate Institute. “In times of panic, crisis, or other moments, it might be better to take risks and take risks.”
The WHO waved its first major warning flag on January 30, 2020, calling the outbreak an international health emergency. But many countries ignored or ignored the warning.
Experts say that only when the WHO Director General Tedros Adanom Gabrius six weeks later, in 2020. On March 11, he declared an “epidemic.” By then it was too late for the virus to reach all continents except Antarctica.
A year later, the WTO still seems distorted. The WHO-led team that traveled to China in January to study the origins of COVID-19 has been criticized for failing to refute China’s marginal theory that the virus can be spread through contaminated frozen seafood.
It came after the WTO repeatedly praised China for its rapid and transparent response last year. However, recordings of private meetings received by The Associated Press showed that high-ranking officials were disappointed with the lack of cooperation from the country.
“Everyone was wondering why the WTO was praising China so much back in January,” Burchin said, adding that the praise was back to “a great time to pursue Azerbaijan.”
Some experts say that the WHO’s blunders are costly, it’s highly dependent on iron-rich science, rather than taking calculated risks to keep people safer, be it a masking strategy or COVID-19 often being blown up.
“Without a doubt, the WHO’s failure to approve the masks early has claimed lives,” said Dr. Trish Trinh Grenhallg, a professor of primary health care at Oxford University, who chairs several WHO expert committees. Other health agencies և Many countries did this, and long before June, the WHO advised people to wear masks regularly.
Greenhalch noted that he was less interested in the WTO repaying past mistakes than in reviewing its policies and continuing. In October, he wrote to the top head of the WHO Infection Control Committee, expressing concern about the lack of expertise among some members. He never received an answer.
“This scandal is not just in the past. “It is in the present, it is evolving into the future,” said Greenhalg.
Raymond Teller, an associate professor at McGill University in Canada who specializes in coronaviruses, says the WHO’s continued reluctance to acknowledge how often COVID-19 spreads in the air could be more dangerous than it was first found in Britain և South Africa They are even more contagious with the advent of new virus versions.
“If the WHO recommendations are not strong enough, we will see that the epidemic will last much longer,” he said.
With several licensed vaccines, the WHO is now working to ensure that people in the world’s poorest countries receive doses through the COVAX initiative, which aims to provide COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries.
But COVAX has only a fraction of the 2 billion vaccines it hopes to make by the end of the year. Some countries, which have been waiting for months for the filming, have become impatient, opting to enter into personal transactions for faster availability of vaccines.
WHO President Tedros has largely responded by urging countries to act “in solidarity”, warning that the world is on the brink of “moral catastrophe” if vaccines are not distributed fairly. Although he called on rich countries to immediately share their quotas with developing countries, not to enter into new deals that would jeopardize the supply of vaccines to poorer countries, no one is obliged.
“The WTO is trying to be guided by moral authority, but by constantly repeating ‘solidarity’ when it is ignored by countries in their own interests, it shows that they do not recognize the reality,” said Amanda Glassman, executive vice president of the Center. Global development. “It’s time to call a spade a spade.”
However, throughout the epidemic, the WHO has repeatedly refused to criticize rich countries for their flawed attempts to curb the virus. Internally, WHO officials described the approaches of their largest member states to COVID-19 germination as a “failed virus testing laboratory” or a “macaroni”.
Recently, it seems that Tedros has found a slightly harsher voice. Speaking the truth to leaders like the German president about the need to distribute vaccines to rich countries or criticizing China for not issuing quick visas to pull on its heels, the WTO-led investigation team.
Colin University’s Irwin Redlener said the WHO should be more aggressive in instructing countries on what to do, given the extremely unequal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
“The WTO can not order countries to do anything, but they can direct very clearly, which makes it difficult for countries not to follow,” said Redler.
Senior WTO officials have repeatedly said that it is not the agency’s style to criticize countries.
In a briefing with reporters this month, WHO senior adviser Dr. Bruce Aylvard simply said: “We can not tell individual countries what to do.”
This was reported by AP medical writer Maria Cheng from London.
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