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.

Updated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months — Trump claims COVID "will go away" during debate.
  2. Sports: The youth sports exodus continues — Big Ten football is back.
  3. Health: How to help save 130,000 livesFDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  4. Retail: Santa won't greet kids at Macy's this year.
  5. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.
1 hour ago - Health

Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump has not attended a White House coronavirus task force meeting in “several months,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci told MSNBC on Friday.

Why it matters: At the beginning of the pandemic, the task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, met every day, but in the "last several weeks," members have held virtual meetings once a week, Fauci said, even as the number of new cases continues to surge in the country.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

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

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!