What We're Reading: WHO Funding; Stagnant COVID-19 Relief Legislation; Case Trends in Reopened States

May 18, 2020

President Donald Trump is considering whether to cut off funding to the World Health Organization; relief for the public amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic remains stagnant as Republicans and Democrats have yet to agree on a new stimulus bill; no spike in COVID-19 cases has been observed so far in reopened states.

Trump Considering Withholding WHO Funding

According to administration officials, President Donald Trump is again considering cutting off funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), signaling a potential shift away from prior plans to restore partial funding, according to The Wall Street Journal. Although officials said Trump has yet to make a final decision, he has grown skeptical of an internal proposal that would provide reduced funding to WHO aligned with China’s contributions. The move follows a resolution agreed to by more than 100 countries, which will independently review whether WHO acted to the best of its abilities to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

COVID-19 Relief Legislation Stagnant

As Americans await the next round of COVID-19 relief funding, an article posted by POLITICO indicates that the next relief checks will most likely take weeks, if not longer. There is currently no bipartisan talk among congressional leaders on a $3 trillion stimulus bill formed by House Democrats this past Friday that would provide aid for local governments and to the public. The Republican Senate has no plans to provide an alternative plan and will instead consider judicial appointments this week before heading home for the Memorial Day recess.

No COVID-19 Spike in Reopened Areas

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said yesterday that there have been no observed spikes in COVID-19 cases among states that are easing social distancing restrictions and reopening, but he cautions that it is still too early to determine resulting trends. Reported by Reuters, Azar notes that identifying and reporting new cases takes time and that vital trends to monitor include the surveillance of flu-like symptoms in the population and other hospital admissions data. According to a Reuters analysis, nearly all 50 states have started allowing businesses to reopen and eased restrictions for residents, with only 14 states meeting the federal government’s guidelines for lifting measures amid the pandemic.