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Trump announced US withdrawal from the WHO. It’s unclear if he can do that.
resident Donald Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization at the White House on May 29, 2020. | Win McNamee/Getty Images Trump’s decision potentially weakens the world’s premier health body in the middle of a pandemic. President Donald Trump just announced that the United States will withdraw from the World Health Organization, a decision that will likely harm the top international health body in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking on Friday afternoon from the Rose Garden, Trump repeated his accusation that the organization had failed to warn the world of the coronavirus’s dangers in a timely manner due to pressure from Beijing. Because the president claims the global body is now beholden to China — a somewhat dubious claim — he said it’s no longer worth it for the US to remain a WHO member. “China has total control over the World Health Organization,” the president said. For that reason, the US “will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization.” Trump is right to note that the WHO did make some mistakes early on in the pandemic, such as not pushing China to allow international inspectors into the country as the coronavirus outbreak grew, and falsely asserting in January that “Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” of Covid-19. But that’s a far cry from proof of some special WHO-China conspiracy, and serves as a convenient excuse to distract from Trump’s lacking coronavirus response in the US — including ignoring months of US intelligence warning of an imminent threat to the country from the virus. Which makes Trump’s WHO decision more an act of political theater than a smart foreign policy move, which is partly what has global health experts upset. “It is a sad day when the US abdicates its leadership on global health and unconscionable that the president would take this step amid a deadly pandemic in which the WHO is coordinating the international response,” Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Thomas Bollyky told me. It’s unclear why Trump made this decision now After hearing the announcement, two major questions remain unanswered. The first is whether Trump can singlehandedly withdraw the US from the WHO. A senior White House official told me it was “doubtful” he could, but it’s possible he could indefinitely freeze money to the body and leave it to Congress to force contributions. Some of the president’s staunchest congressional critics, such as Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, have already lambasted his decision, though Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz — a key Trump ally — told me he supports Trump’s action. It was never about reforming the WHO. That was all lies. It was always about distraction and scapegoating. Leaving castrates our ability to stop future pandemics and elevates China as the world's go-to power on global health.What a nightmare.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) May 29, 2020 The law here also is tricky. Under US law, Bollyky told me Trump, as president, has the right to withdraw the country from any treaties he wants. In international law, however, there’s no provision in the WHO’s constitution for leaving the body. That may require Trump to give 12 months’ notice before the US can officially leave, per the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, the required method when there’s no official mechanism for pulling out of an international accord. But at the end of the day, some experts say, Trump’s action comes down to American politics and if anyone will hold him accountable. “No one is going keep us in if the US doesn’t want to be,” said Bollyky. The second question is why Trump made this announcement now. On May 18, Trump sent a letter to the WHO’s chief outlining the US’s grievances about the body’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and its ties to China, warning, “If the WHO does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days,” the US would “reconsider our membership.” Trump at the time said the administration was working in concert with the WHO to make such reforms, though he never specified what they were. Now, just 11 days later, he’s giving the WHO no more time to make changes. “We have detailed the reforms that [the WHO] must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act,” Trump said during his announcement. The White House didn’t respond to an immediate request for comment about why Trump withdrew weeks before the 30-day deadline. “If there is a problem, the United States should name it and fix it, rather than giving up its seat at the table,” said Amanda Glassman, the executive vice president of the Center for Global Development. What is clear is the president’s decision will be a major blow to the WHO. America’s withdrawal means the health body will lose nearly $900 million in US contributions every two years, by far the most the body receives from any nation. Trump had already frozen about $400 million of that money last month when he first froze funding during a review of US-WHO relations. The US will now be “redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs,” Trump said, without naming what those might be. Put together, Trump is making the global coronavirus response harder to coordinate, has possibly ignited a congressional firestorm, and almost surely worsened the world’s perceptions of America. Quite the trifecta. Support Vox’s explanatory journalism Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that has the power to save lives. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. Vox’s work is reaching more people than ever, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources — particularly during a pandemic and an economic downturn. Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts at the quality and volume that this moment requires. Please consider making a contribution to Vox today.
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President Donald Trump formally cuts ties with World Health Organization
President Donald Trump said his administration would withdraw from the World Health Organization and he would formally end the U.S. relationship.
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A third of Americans report anxiety or depression symptoms during the pandemic
Busà Photography/Getty Images Young adults are experiencing the highest rates of mental health strain during the pandemic, according to new CDC data. How are Americans coping with the crushing realities of the pandemic, and the economic crisis forming in its wake? Not well, according to a new survey from the Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationally, around a third of Americans have reported recent symptoms of anxiety and depression since late April. For comparison, in the first three months of 2019, just 11 percent of Americans reported these symptoms on a similar survey. It’s a sign that along with all the sickness and death, the social distancing restrictions, separation from families, and the deteriorating economy, we’re facing a severe mental health crisis too. To be clear: The report isn’t saying a third of Americans haveclinical depression or an anxiety disorder. But the survey — which was conducted to better understand the impacts of the pandemic on the American public — did include four questions taken from common depression and anxiety screening tools. More than 260,000 people responded to questions like: Over the last 7 days, how often have you been bothered by … having little interest or pleasure in doing things? Would you say not at all, several days, more than half the days, or nearly every day? Select only one answer. Answers to screening questions that signal possible anxiety or depression would normally require follow-up with a mental health care provider for diagnosis. The CDC and Census Bureau data also show some groups of people are suffering more than others. Namely: women, the young, and the less educated. Some ethnic minority groups are also reporting greater mental health strain. The trend is most striking among the youngest people in the CDC survey. Upward of 46 percent of people ages 18-29 are feeling these mental health strains (the highest of any group in the survey). Each successive older age group is less burdened, according to the data. These younger people, while not most heavily impacted by the illness, are facing extreme financial uncertainty and missed opportunities from the economic crisis that could shadow them for decades, as the Atlantic’s Annie Lowrey writes. There are similar splits between people between of differing levels of educational attainment. Forty-five percent of people without a high school diploma reported depression or anxiety symptoms the last week of April — contrasted with 30 percent of people who have bachelor degrees and higher. Latinos, blacks, and people of multiple or other ethnicities also reported higher levels of mental stress compared to whites in the survey. There’s also a big gender split. Thirty-one percent of men reported the symptoms, whereas nearly 41 percent of women did. The pandemic is not over. The virus still has a great potential to infect millions more. It’s unclear what’s going to happen next, especially as different communities enact different precautions, and as federal officials and ordinary citizens grow fatigued with pandemic life. The uncertainty of this era is likely contributing to the mental health strain on the nation. As the pandemic wears on into the summer, some people may grow resilient to the grim reality they face, others may see their mental health deteriorate more. What’s also concerning, is that even pre-pandemic, there were already huge gaps in mental health care in America. Clinicians have been in short supply, many do not take insurance, and it can be hard to tell the difference between a clinician who uses evidence-based treatments and one who does not. If you’re reading this and need help, know there are free online mental health resources that can be a good place to start. (Clinical psychologist Kathryn Gordon lists 11 of them on her website here.) The Covid-19 pandemic has a knack for exacerbating underlying problems in the United States. The infection is hitting the poor and communities of color harder than white communities. And that’s also reflected here in the data on mental health strain. As the pandemic continues, it will be important to recognize the growing mental health impacts for such a large portion of Americans — and to uncover who is being disproportionately impacted. Hospitalizations, and infection rates are critical to note. But the mental health fallout — from not just the virus, but from all of its ramifications — will be essential to keep tracking too. Support Vox’s explanatory journalism Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that has the power to save lives. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. Vox’s work is reaching more people than ever, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources — particularly during a pandemic and an economic downturn. Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts at the quality and volume that this moment requires. Please consider making a contribution to Vox today.
Memoir Recalls Illegal Pot Brownies Business That Sold 10,000 a Month in '70s—Here's the Recipe
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Trump: US will end Hong Kong 'special treatment'
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Trump cuts ties with WHO, goes after China
President Donald Trump took punitive actions against China on Friday as well as terminating the U.S. relationship wiith the World Health Organization. (May 29)
7 shot at Louisville protest over police killing
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Trump announces China sanctions over Hong Kong, termination of WHO relationship
Trump announces China sanctions over Hong Kong, termination of WHO relationship. He did not mention the death of George Floyd during the White House event.
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Family gets creative to hug grandmother battling cancer
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