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Maria Van Kerkhove. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

A top American World Health Organization official argued in an interview with TIME that the agency has acted sufficiently throughout the coronavirus pandemic — despite the Trump administration's criticisms.

Why it matters: President Trump announced last week the U.S. would halt funding to the World Health Organization, which he blames for amplifying the pandemic's intensity. He said the group was not aggressive enough in tackling the virus early on — specifically in managing information coming out of China.

  • Trump said the WHO "failed to investigate credible reports … that conflicted directly with the Chinese government’s official accounts."

WHO's technical lead for COVID-19, American infectious-disease epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove, told TIME: "We don’t blindly accept data as-is. Things are reported to us, and then we scrutinize and ask and kick the tires. We always ask for more. That’s not unique to the situation and that’s not unique to China."

  • And Van Kerkhove noted that within the WHO, operations are more nuanced than "what is done publicly or what is done through Twitter."

Go deeper: 10 times Trump and his administration were warned about coronavirus

Go deeper

Jul 28, 2020 - World

China's consulates do a lot more than spy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Every country spies. And many countries — including the U.S. — use their diplomatic outposts to do it. But for years, China has used its embassies and consulates to do far more than that.

Why it matters: The Trump administration's recent hardline stance against China's illicit consular activities is a public acknowledgment of real problems, but it comes at a time when U.S.-China relations are already dangerously tense.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
29 mins ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden-Harris, Day 1: What mattered most

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrive at the North Portico of the White House. Photo: Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

The Axios experts help you sort significance from symbolism. Here are the six Day 1 actions by President Biden that matter most.

Driving the news: Today, on his first full day, Biden translates his promise of a stronger federal response to the pandemic into action — starting with 10 executive orders and other directives, Caitlin Owens writes.

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