Now that the coronavirus has officially been declared a pandemic, let’s revisit the World Health Organization’s initial response to the virus. They initially downplayed the threat and told everyone it wasn’t much to worry about, that it was only a China issue. Ironic, because it’s now considered racist to blame China.
Spread of the new coronavirus that originated in China has not yet reached a level that would deem it a global public health emergency, the World Health Organization said on Thursday. The virus has sickened more than 600 people, and 25 have died.
“Now is not the time. It’s too early to consider that this event is a public health emergency of international concern,” Didier Houssin, chair of the WHO emergency committee, said during a news conference from Geneva.
Houssin said the decision is based on the limited number of cases worldwide, as well as efforts in China to try to contain the disease.
“Make no mistake, this is an emergency in China,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “But it is not yet a global health emergency.”
Just a week later, W.H.O. officials urged countries to keep their borders open, as Reuters reported:
Borders should be kept open and people and trade flowing in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, although countries have a sovereign right to take measures to try to protect their citizens, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
There is a “huge reason to keep official border crossings open” to avoid people entering irregularly and going unchecked for symptoms, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a Geneva briefing.
Of course since then several countries started closing their borders.
As the virus continued to spread, the WHO refused to call it an emergency. Healthcare Finance News reported:
As of Monday, January 27, the coronavirus has killed at least 81 people in China and more than 2,700 others have been infected in more than a dozen countries, including five confirmed cases in the United States, according to CBS News. More than 60 additional people in the U.S. were being tested for the disease, the report said.
WHO reconvened again on Thursday, January 23 to decide whether to declare a public health emergency of international concern over the coronavirus originating in China. Several members considered that it is still too early to declare an emergency. The International Health Regulations Emergency Committee Committee stands ready to be reconvened in approximately ten days, or earlier should the Director-General deem it necessary, WHO said.
The number of cases are increasing. Last week there were an estimated 557 reported cases in China; 17 people had died.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization stopped short of declaring a public health emergency of international concern over the deadly coronavirus that has reportedly killed 17 people and sickened 291, including the first known case in the United States.
Of course it was only a few days later when they finally declared it an emergency.
And these are the people we’re supposed to trust right now?