The Trump Administration has officially begun to formally withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization (WHO), having had notified Congress and the United Nations, according to officials.

The withdrawal, which is expected to go into effect June 2021, comes after President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to cut ties with the WHO for alleged bias toward China and its initial missteps in response to the pandemic. At the end of May, Trump announced they would be “terminating” U.S. relationship with the WHO.

The State Department confirmed that the White House submitted a withdrawal notice to the UN Secretary General. The spokesperson for Secretary General António Guterres said he had received the notice.

Democrats and health experts, however, did not approve of the decision, expressing concern with its negative impact on the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said on Tuesday that he would reverse the decision “on (his) first day” if elected.

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“I disagree with the president’s decision,” Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chair Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said in a statement. “Certainly there needs to be a good, hard look at mistakes the World Health Organization might have made in connection with coronavirus, but the time to do that is after the crisis has been dealt with, not in the middle of it.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the White House decision “an act of true senselessness” on Twitter.

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted that he stood by the decision, blaming the WHO on inefficient coronavirus response and criticized Biden’s vow to restart ties with the organization in the case of his election.

The withdrawal decision comes amid a rapid surge of new confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., with three million Americans having tested positive and at least 130,546 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University’s data. More than 31 states have recorded an increase of daily new cases, with total of nearly 50,000 daily new cases reported nationwide.


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