Apr 8, 2020 - Health

Trump hits WHO on coronavirus: "They should've known"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump claimed at a press briefing on Tuesday that the World Health Organization "probably" knew about the dangers of the novel coronavirus pandemic months before the agency sounded the alarm.

The big picture: The WHO declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern on Jan. 30 — 9 days after the CDC confirmed the first case in the U.S. and 10 days after South Korea announced its first case. Chinese officials told the WHO's China office about cases of COVID-19 on Dec. 31.

  • Taiwan health officials say they told the WHO at the end of December that the coronavirus risked person-to-person transmission. But on Jan. 14, the WHO announced Chinese authorities had seen "no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus."
  • The WHO did not declare the coronavirus a pandemic until March 11, after 114 countries had reported cases.

What he's saying: "They called it wrong. They really, they missed the call. They could've called it months earlier, they would've known. And they should've known. And they probably did know. So we'll be looking into that very carefully," Trump said.

  • Trump initially said that the U.S. would "put a very powerful hold" on WHO funding, rebuking the organization for cautioning against imposing travel restrictions like the president did for China in early February.
  • He later denied to reporters that he said the U.S. would hold funds to the WHO. "No, I didn't, I said we're going to look at it, we're going to investigate it, we're going to look at it," he said. "But we will look at ending funding."

Of note: "We have it totally under control," Trump told CNBC in January. "It's one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine."

Go deeper ... Timeline: The early days of China's coronavirus outbreak and cover-up

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U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans Tuesday to make wearing face coverings mandatory statewide for most people over the age of 10 when inside public places. The measure is effective Friday and applies to places like retailers, on public transportation and government buildings.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from the novel coronavirus and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance over Memorial Day weekend outlining when Americans can stop self-isolating after contracting the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: Nearly all states across the U.S. have relaxed stay-at-home orders to jumpstart economic reopenings, per a New York Times analysis. As more Americans venture outside their homes, they have to decide what precautions they're willing to take, and what they'll do to protect others.

Census Bureau reports spike in signs of anxiety and depression since coronavirus

A food bank distribution line in Brooklyn, New York. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Americans are experiencing an increase in anxiety and depression amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Census Bureau survey cited by the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The findings indicate a significant uptick in clinical anxiety and depression since the onset of the virus. Despite communities and economies reopening, the COVID-19 outbreak is far from over.