Quote of the Week: WHO is on First?

Yup, it took until March 11th to make that assessment. That is less than a month ago. Hmmm. Something fishy here.

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Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  7 comments for “Quote of the Week: WHO is on First?

  1. arf
    April 10, 2020 at 8:11 pm

    Think of all the stuff you bought from China over the years, all made with slave labor.
    Think of all the money you saved over the years, buying Chinese goods, which would have been significantly more expensive had it been made in the USA.
    Because all that money you saved, you lost, and then some, thanks to that same country.

  2. arf
    April 9, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Again, from the Wall Street Journal. Their take on the WHO has been scathing. As far as I’m concerned, reform the WHO or scrap it.

    Lost in Beijing: The Story of the WHO
    China broke the World Health Organization. The U.S. has to fix it or leave and start its own group.
    By Lanhee J. Chen
    April 8, 2020 12:58 pm ET

    The World Health Organization isn’t just “China centric,” as President Trump called it on Tuesday. It is also broken and compromised. The WHO fell short in its dithering reaction to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which claimed more than 11,000 lives. Now its response to the coronavirus pandemic shows it is willing to put politics ahead of public health. The way the WHO has consistently acted to placate China’s leaders makes clear the need for fundamental reform.

    The U.S. is the biggest financial contributor to the WHO—more than $400 million in 2019, when China sent only $44 million, according to the U.S. State Department. Mr. Trump suggested that the U.S. might hold its funding while his administration takes a “good look” at what the country is getting for its money. He and Congress should go further.

    While Washington pays, Beijing works behind the scenes to influence WHO leaders. The current director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was backed strongly by the Chinese government during his campaign for the job. Mr. Tedros was a controversial pick, dogged by allegations of having covered up cholera outbreaks in his native Ethiopia, where he served as health minister (2005-12) and foreign minister (2012-16). During those years, China invested in Ethiopia and lent it billions of dollars. Shortly after winning his WHO election, Mr. Tedros traveled to Beijing and lauded the country’s health-care system: “We can all learn something from China.”

    Under Mr. Tedros’s leadership, the WHO has accepted China’s falsehoods about the coronavirus and helped launder them into respectable-looking public-health assessments.

    On Jan. 14, before an official WHO delegation had even visited China, the group parroted Beijing’s claim that there was “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.” Two weeks later, after China had reported more than 4,500 cases of the virus and over 70 people in other countries were sick with it, Mr. Tedros visited China and heaped praise on its leaders for their “transparency.”

    Recall that China waited six weeks after patients first saw symptoms in Wuhan to institute a lockdown there. During this time Chinese authorities censored and punished physicians who tried to sound the alarm, repeatedly denied that the virus could be transmitted between humans, and held a public banquet in Wuhan for tens of thousands of families. In the meantime, more than five million people left or fled Wuhan, according to the city’s mayor. This included the patient with the first confirmed case of the virus in America.

    The WHO finally declared a public-health emergency on Jan. 30, after nearly 10,000 cases of the virus had been confirmed. China’s reported figures rose in early February to more than 17,000 infections and 361 deaths, yet Mr. Tedros rebuked Mr. Trump for restricting travel from China and urged other countries not to follow suit. He called the virus’s spread outside China “minimal and slow.” It took until March 11 for the WHO to declare a pandemic. By that point the official world-wide case count was 118,000 people in 114 countries.

    China’s influence is also apparent in the WHO’s exclusion of Taiwan. The WHO didn’t even bother replying to Taiwanese inquiries in December about whether the coronavirus could, contrary to Beijing’s claims, be transmitted between humans.

    Last month a Hong Kong TV reporter asked Bruce Aylward, who leads the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus, if the organization would reconsider its refusal to allow Taiwan to join. Dr. Aylward, on a remote video connection, sits silent and expressionless for nearly 10 seconds before the reporter prompts him again: “Hello?”

    “I’m sorry,” he finally says, “I couldn’t hear—I can’t hear your question, Yvonne.”

    “Let me repeat the question,” she says.

    “No, that’s OK. Let’s move to another one then.”

    When she presses him on Taiwan, he terminates the connection. The reporter calls back and tries a different tack: “I just want to see if you can comment a bit on how Taiwan has done so far in terms of containing the virus.”

    His reply: “Well, we’ve already talked about China, and, you know, when you look across all the different areas of China, they’ve actually all done quite a good job.”

    The exchange demonstrates how the WHO prioritizes politics over public health. It has internalized Beijing’s view of Taiwan and seeks to praise China’s leaders at every turn. And at no point during the crisis has the WHO substantively investigated the Chinese regime’s claims about the virus or been transparent about the thinking behind its decisions.

    As the biggest financial contributor to the WHO, the U.S. has the leverage to push for radical reform. Congress should condition all future funding on the WHO’s explaining in detail how it reaches its public-health decisions and rigorously and independently investigating the extent of disease outbreaks.

    The U.S. should work aggressively to change the culture and leadership of the WHO. The Trump administration took a good first step in January by creating a special envoy at the State Department focused on countering China’s attempts to control international organizations. The WHO’s next director-general must not be a rubber stamp for Beijing.

    If efforts to transform the WHO are ineffective, the U.S. may have no choice but to walk away and start over. That could mean creating an alternative organization open to any country willing to abide by higher standards of transparency, good governance and the sharing of best practices. The world needs an organization that can be trusted to address public-health problems that transcend borders—if not the WHO, then something else.

    Mr. Chen is a fellow at the Hoover Institution and director of domestic policy studies in the public policy program at Stanford University.

    • Cliff Norman
      April 9, 2020 at 2:49 pm

      Thanks for posting the details from WSJ!

      • arf
        April 9, 2020 at 4:21 pm

        A subscription is about a hundred bucks, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s money well spent. There will, almost certainly, be a strong rebuttal from the WHO in the near future, and the WSJ will run it. What I mean is, the paper is considered one of the most balanced in the market. The late Robert Bartley said it’s one of the few papers that sells, based on their editorial pages. I strongly encourage a subscription.

        • arf
          April 12, 2020 at 5:16 am

          Speaking of internalizing China’s view on Taiwan. Back in the 1990’s, I was looking at a WHO publication. It was a compendium of what all the world’s nations call a physician. In other words, what degree they award to physicians. What are their recognized medical schools. What is their medical board. So, if a physician from another country immigrates to the USA and presents to be licensed, and you are the licensing board, how to contact the medical school, how to contact the medical board, etc., to verify that the person is even a doctor in the first place.

          The USA has two systems, MD and DO, so two different national organizations to consider, and different licensing exams over the years, and licensure is state-by-state. That was all summarized.

          Perusing the different countries, and how they did things.

          I ran into the chapter on Taiwan. One sentence.

          “The World Health Organization has no data on the province of Taiwan”

          There is only one country that calls Taiwan a “province”.

          That was in the late 1990’s. This has been going on for a long time.

  3. John Hayes Jr
    April 9, 2020 at 9:33 am

    Totally Doug! The patient reports from Italy on social media were sounding the alarm days before. Very sad state of affairs.

    • ARF
      April 9, 2020 at 10:34 am

      I find it more than a coincidence that two countries that signed on to China’s “Belt and Road” were Iran and Italy.

      How’s that working out?

      I can understand Iran sticking their middle finger to the USA, but Italy is supposed to be a NATO ally.

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