In one of his first acts after taking office on Jan. 20, President Joe Biden announced the United States was rejoining the World Health Organization (WHO).
The following morning at 4 a.m., Dr. Anthony Fauci used Zoom in Washington to assure WHO officials in Geneva that the U.S. was looking forward to working with the United Nation’s body on a variety of global health issues.
Both Donald Trump’s withdrawal from WHO and Biden’s recommitment to the organization took place in the long shadow cast by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was WHO’s statement from mid-January 2020 that COVID-19 could not be transmitted from human to human and the organization’s close ties to China, the source of the virus, that prompted Trump to freeze U.S. funding for WHO and announce on May 29 that the U.S. would terminate its membership. WHO also condemned Trump’s decision to slap a travel ban on China, a move later credited by Fauci with saving American lives.