Fauci says US will remain WHO member, join global coronavirus vaccine program

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Anthony Fauci (2L), director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, looks on after receiving the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at the National Institutes of Health on December 22, 2020, in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Semansky / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK SEMANSKY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

GENEVA (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden’s top medical adviser on COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Thursday announced renewed U.S. support for the World Health Organization after it faced criticism from the Trump administration, laying out new commitments to tackle the coronavirus and other global health issues.

Fauci, speaking by videoconference from pre-dawn United States to WHO’s executive board, said the U.S. will join the U.N. health agency’s efforts to bring vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to people in need, whether in rich or poor countries. He said the U.S. will also resume full funding and staffing support for WHO.

“I am honored to announce that the United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization,” Fauci said. Just hours after Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, his administration announced the U.S. will revoke a planned pullout from the WHO in July that had been announced by the Trump administration.

Fauci said the Biden administration “will cease the drawdown of U.S. staff seconded to the WHO” and resume “regular engagement” with WHO. “The United States also intends to fulfill its financial obligations to the organization,” he added.

Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump halted funding to the WHO, where the United States is the largest donor, and announced a process to withdraw from the agency in July 2021.

Fauci also said the United States would support the “ACT Accelerator” — an umbrella effort including COVAX that also focuses on distributing diagnostic tools and therapeutics for the coronavirus to countries around the world.

Other countries and the WHO chief jumped in to welcome the U.S. announcements, and pledged to work with the Biden administration.

“This is a good day for WHO and a good day for global health,” Tedros said, referring to “my brother Tony” in reference to Fauci, while congratulating Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris. “The role of the United States, its role, global role is very, very crucial.”

President Biden is set to put forth a national COVID-19 strategy to ramp up vaccinations and testing, reopen schools and businesses and increase the use of masks — including a requirement that they be worn for travel.

Biden also will address inequities in hard-hit minority communities as he signs 10 pandemic-related executive orders on Thursday, his second day in office.

This comes one year to the day after the Centers for Disease Control confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the United States. In the United States, there have been more than 24.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 400,000 dead, according to data complied by Johns Hopkins University.

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