WHO fears for world’s vulnerable if US cuts off funding for good, warns on risks of hydroxychloroquine
The head of emergencies at the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that an end to US funding for the UN health agency would have a “major implication for delivering essential health services to the most vulnerable people in the world.”
The WHO also warned earlier today against prophylactic use of hydroxychloroquine, the antiviral medicine commonly used to treat malaria and lupus but currently, and very controversially, being taken by Donald Trump against his own federal regulators’ guidelines.
The WHO’s Michael Ryan warned that hydroxychloroquine has potential side effects and the WHO advises it be reserved for use in clinical trials only, in relation to coronavirus.
In a briefing today, reported by Reuters and The Associated Press, Ryan responded to questions from reporters about a letter sent by Trump, the US president, threatening an end to funding from the United States, its biggest donor, unless the agency reforms. Trump froze funding to the WHO earlier in the pandemic, claiming the agency was too deferential to China, where the outbreak started.
The latest comments came on a day when a total of 106,000 Covid-19 cases were reported to WHO over a 24-hour period, the most in a single day since the outbreak began.
The world is about to surpass five million confirmed cases, while the US accounts for 1.52 million of those and is approaching the grim milestone of 100,000 US deaths from the disease.
Ryan said the US funding that reaches the WHO emergencies program was “on the order of $100 million a year” and much of it goes to “humanitarian health operations all over the world, in all sorts of fragile and difficult settings.”
Nevada governor calls Trump’s funding threat ‘inappropriate and dangerous’
Black Americans dying of coronavirus at much higher rate
New figures compiled by the non-partisan APM Research Lab and released on Wednesday under the title Color of Coronavirus provide further evidence of the staggering divide in the Covid-19 death rate between black Americans and the rest of the nation.
Across the country, African Americans have died at a rate of 50.3 per 100,000 people, compared with 20.7 for whites, 22.9 for Latinos and 22.7 for Asian Americans.
More than 20,000 African Americans – about 1 in 2,000 of the entire black population in the US – have died from the disease.
At the level of individual states, the statistics are all the more shocking. Bottom of the league table in terms of racial disparities is Kansas, where black residents are dying at seven times the rate of whites.
“This is a call to action for our county commissioners, our state and our city officials,” the Kansas state representative Gail Finney told local TV channel KWCH12 recently.
Today so far
Senate committee approves subpoena in Biden-related investigation
Trudeau noncommital about holding G7 in person
While secretary of state Mike Pompeo was talking this morning, Politico published the latest in a stream of reports about what state department inspector general Steve Linick had been investigating.
This time it was a senior official under scrutiny for allegedly failing to report workplace bullying.
Pompeo only took two questions on the Linick firing before ending the press conference. Normally, correspondents for foreign news organisations have to wait until the end to try to get their questions in. The wire agencies normally go first, then the major TV networks and major US print media, before others are called on.
Today, with Pompeo under pressure, the order was reversed, with foreign correspondents called on first with questions about Taiwan and Israel-Palestinian issues.
Pelosi says Pompeo should testify about IG