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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday said that President Trump was right to ask questions about the World Health Organization (WHO), which Trump shut down funding to this month over concerns about its actions in the initial days of the coronavirus crisis.
“Whose job is it to warn of us of these global pandemics? The president says it’s the World Health Organization, and that’s why he’s taken action against them,” Cuomo said at a press briefing in New York.
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Trump last week halted the United States’ funding for WHO and announced an investigation, accusing the U.N. agency of “severely mismanaging and covering up” the spread of the virus in the first days of the crisis.
“It’s not my field but he’s right to ask the question, because this was too little, too late,” Cuomo said. “And let’s find out what’s happened so it doesn’t happen again — and it will happen again. Bank on it.”
The organization has come under fire for repeating claims by Chinese officials that the virus could not be spread from person to person, and praising the country’s “transparency” and response to the virus.
Fox News first reported last week that there is increasing confidence in the U.S. government that the coronavirus likely escaped from a Wuhan laboratory, where it was being studied. Sources stressed that the virus was naturally occurring and not being engineered as any kind of bioweapon.
Additionally, the sources believe that the WHO was either complicit in the cover-up or looked the other way.
“We have deep concerns over whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible,” Trump said in the Rose Garden last week.
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The United States is the WHO’s largest single donor, and the State Department had previously planned to provide the agency $893 million in the current two-year funding period.
WHO Director Tedros Ghebreyesus said the organization “regrets” the United States’ decision to pause funding. “When we are divided, the virus exploits the cracks,” he said.