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

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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.

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.

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