WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Trump’s top aide Kellyanne Conway said an ambiguous remark during an interview with Fox & Friends on Wednesday, suggesting that COVID-19’s name came from the known number of coronavirus diseases.
- President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that he’s freezing the funding to the World Health Organization because of its negligence in curbing the virus.
- Conway further criticized the international group for being reluctant to support travel bans while the virus continues to spread globally.
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway said a confusing statement during an interview with Fox & Friends show on Wednesday, implying that COVID-19’s name came after as the most recent-known coronavirus diseases discovered.
“This is COVID-19 ― not COVID-1, folks… And so you would think the people charged with the World Health Organization would be on top of that,” she said during the show.
However, COVID-19 is the acronym for “coronavirus disease 2019” and is reflective of the year it was discovered — not the number of identified diseases in the past.
It was uncertain whether Conway was alarmingly unaware or just posed ignorance. The White House did not respond quickly to a request for comment.
President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that his administration will investigate his so-called “mismanagement” of the WHO on the outbreak, and the US is freezing its funding to the international group while doing the investigation.
“The WHO failed in its basic duty and must be held accountable… “So much death has been caused by their mistakes,” the president said in a news conference. Trump has been earning the ire of the public for initially downplaying the severity of the outbreak.
The WHO came under fire for its preferential treatment to China, despite the country had concealed the severity of the coronavirus during the early stage and its misinformation of confirmed cases among healthcare workers.
The organization was also criticized for its reluctance in making sound recommendations. The current guidelines suggest that people don’t need to wear face masks in public, except for sick people, while the CDC recommends everyone to put on mask when going out. Some experts also said that the WHO’s declaration of a pandemic in mid-March was already too late. Public health officials think, though, that freezing funding to the WHO is alarming.
On Wednesday, Conway further attacked the agency for being hesitant to support travel bans to mitigate the spread of the virus.
“The president took decisive and immediate action in the end of January to shut down flights from China that was criticized by the WHO, it was criticized by other people, as xenophobic and racist and ’travel bans don’t work… Well, this one sure did,” she said.
Experts believe that most COVID-19 cases that came into the US were from Europe and not Asia. Trump did not impose travel bans on Europe until March 11.