The U.S. will remain a member of the World Health Organization under President Joe Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday, JANUARY 21, 2021, and intends to join a global alliance that aims to deliver coronavirus vaccines to low-income countries.
Speaking from Washington by videoconference one day after Biden was sworn into office, the U.S. chief medical advisor told the WHO’s executive board: “President Biden will issue a directive later today which will include the intent of the United States to join COVAX and support the ACT-Accelerator to advance multilateral efforts for Covid-19 vaccine, therapeutic, and diagnostic distribution, equitable access, and research and development.”
The U.S. will also remain a member of the WHO and “fulfill its financial obligations,” Fauci said. In May, then-President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the WHO, but the process wasn’t expected to be finalized until this July.
Fauci said the Biden administration planned to work with the other 193 member states to help “strengthen and reform” the United Nations health agency.
“This is a good day for WHO and a good day for global health,” said the agency’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“We are all glad that the United States of America is staying with the family,” Tedros said via Twitter.
WHO delegates “warmly welcomed” the decision, with many underlining their appreciation that the new administration would now seek to reengage with the international aid group amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, noted that his announcement came exactly one year after the U.S. confirmed its first case of the coronavirus.
More than 96.9 million people have contracted the coronavirus worldwide, with 2.07 million deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has recorded the highest number of confirmed coronavirus infections and deaths.
Fauci last month accepted Biden’s offer to join his administration and serve as chief medical advisor. He is leading a U.S. delegation at the WHO’s annual meetings throughout the week.