Is WHO chief right that ‘time has come’ for global pandemic treaty?
- As of Wednesday, June 2, 2021, there have been 171.6 million coronavirus cases in the world, with 3.5 million reported deaths.
- In the United States, coronavirus cases reached 34.1 million by June 2, with nearly 610 thousand deaths.
- The World Health Organization was established in 1948 for “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.”
- On the last day of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, “An international treaty would connect countries in ways that strengthen the world’s health security. A treaty would make countries more accountable to one another.”
- March 30, 2021, over 24 world leaders supported the idea of a global treaty to work on “pandemic preparedness and response.”
The WHO chief is right that the 'time has come' for a global pandemic treaty because we need to strengthen world health security to end the COVID-19 pandemic and help prevent future pandemics. The current pandemic, which has devastated nations worldwide, has clearly demonstrated the need for some sort of global pandemic treaty that will make countries more accountable and connected. An agreement of this sort will strengthen world health security. Such a treaty reflects the reality, particularly in the 21st century, that we are global citizens who are connected without borders and can easily transmit infectious diseases. As WHO chief Tedros further commented, 'A [pandemic] treaty would foster improved sharing, trust, and accountability, and provide the solid foundation to build global health security.'
A lack of sharing crucial information, technology, resources, and data was a significant factor in causing COVID-19 to escalate so quickly. A global pandemic treaty would make it possible to correct this error and help prevent future epidemics. However, before we can move forward to focus on prevention, we must first end the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO is facing a serious challenge right now to maintain its COVID-19 response at the current level and end this pandemic without a treaty of this kind that would provide more sustainable and flexible funding. Pandemics are a deadly common enemy that all human beings will have to continue to face. We will be much more successful in defeating this enemy quickly and effectively by working together with a global pandemic treaty to strengthen world health security.
In a case of bad timing, the announcement from the WHO's Director-General Tedros calling for a global pandemic treaty comes on the heels of a Forbes magazine article pointing out that the WHO was wrong on the spread of COVID. COVID has taught us that the last thing we should put our faith in is a global organization to 'protect' us from a pandemic. In fact, Tedros' remarks contained more disinformation, including labeling COVID as 'a common enemy that is killing people indiscriminately.' Tedros should know that risk of harm from COVID is localized to those in poor health with compromised immune systems (elderly with multiple existing health conditions classified as co-morbidities such as obesity, hypertension, respiratory illness, etc.).
The WHO has a glaring conflict of interest re: COVID (and by association, future pandemics), as it is a partner in a global initiative called COVAX to support the research, development, and manufacture of vaccines. Vaccines are big business (estimated revenues of $59.2 billion in 2020), and the WHO relies on funding from pro-vaccine benefactors. Two of the four largest donors to the WHO are Bill Gates-funded entities, each with the stated purpose of accelerating access to vaccines.
The US should never surrender its sovereignty to a global collective, regardless of its lofty ambitions to wage war against the next global pandemic. The US chose its form of government carefully to ensure that our leaders are accountable to the voting public to act in good faith for the public interest. We should not be held hostage to the agenda of a large, bureaucratic global organization of 7,000 people funded by corporate and foundation grants.