Due to his gross mishandling of the COVID-19 outbreak, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) calls on Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to resign from his position as Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) within 72 hours. Dr. Tedros’ severe missteps, including prioritizing political rhetoric over combatting the novel coronavirus, proves he is unfit to lead an organization that should be apolitical and transparent in fulfilling its mission as the world’s leader on global public health.
Dr. Tedros has increasingly relied on questionable information from China for critical COVID-19 decisions, resulting in him downplaying the severity of the outbreak in January; denying that the virus can be spread via human-to-human contact; delaying far too long in declaring COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern and later a pandemic; and also delaying other important measures, including implementing travel restrictions to counteract further spread.
The WHO chief also went so far as praising China for the “extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak” after the regime destroyed samples of a sequenced coronavirus genome in late December, prohibited any publishing of the findings, and threatened and silenced doctors in an attempt to further cover up the virus.
“Dr. Tedros’ actions and comments relative to China, coupled with the incomprehensible delays in critical emergency declarations, are simply unforgivable – he must resign within 72 hours,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “The World Health Organization should be the pinnacle for global health expertise and guidance, not a champion for political agendas during a pandemic that’s so far killed a quarter of a million people worldwide.”
AHF’s call for Tedros to step down is only one of an increasing number of voices urging his resignation, including a number of U.S. lawmakers and an online petitionthat accumulated more than 1 million signers.
“The handling of this outbreak is clearly the most egregious misstep of Dr. Tedros’ tenure, but it’s by no means his only failure,” added Weinstein. “The effects we’re experiencing surrounding COVID-19 are not only the result of his recent decisions—they’re also closely tied to the mismanagement of past outbreaks—most notably the Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo. That, coupled with implementing superficial reforms within WHO that show no evidence of effective progress towards improving global public health, lead us to only one end – Tedros must go.”
While Tedros should do the right thing and resign now, allowing WHO to move forward in the future when real reforms must be implemented, AHF does not support the U.S. decision to withhold funding from the WHO.