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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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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

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Science

COVID time warp

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic seems like a lifetime ago to some, and just yesterday to others. Scientists are beginning to unpack the way people processed the passage of time amidst the stress, uncertainty and isolation of the 1 year, 8 months and 21 days since WHO declared a pandemic.

Why it matters: The pandemic's global effects on how people experience time could provide new insights into the brain's ability to perceive and predict time — a fundamental feature of life.

Mitt Romney calls Ray Dalio's China investments a "sad moral lapse"

Sen. Mitt Romney walks to a Senate Republican caucus meeting at the Capitol on Oct. 7. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Thursday criticized billionaire Ray Dalio's investments in China, writing in a tweet that "his feigned ignorance of China's horrific abuses and rationalization of complicit investments there is a sad moral lapse."

Driving the news: Romney's comments come after Dalio's firm, Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world, raised $1.3 billion in November for a new private fund in China, Bloomberg reports.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California — America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron — CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers.
  2. Politics: Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come — Meta removes accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  4. World: Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people — Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.