by Toby Green
Friday, 21
May 2021
Reaction
14:44

We cannot let the WHO rewrite pandemic history

The organisation's about-turn on lockdowns has not gone unnoticed
by Toby Green
Millions of migrant workers returned to rural villages at the beginning of the pandemic. Credit: Getty

Yesterday the WHO issued an update on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. It’s the sort of rewriting of history one would expect from an organisation which has over the past year overseen the biggest collapse in living standards for the global poor since the end of colonialism.

The WHO issued the briefing as part of the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-Being for All (GAP). WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that “GAP partners have shown their unwavering commitment to countries during the pandemic”. Yet sadly this ‘unwavering commitment’ did not involve implementing the pandemic policies which were in place before Covid-19. These policies ensured that the livelihoods of those in poor countries were protected, whereas the policy championed by the WHO over the past year has destroyed them.

As recently as December 2019, the WHO published a report on how to approach pandemics: contact tracing, quarantine of exposed but asymptomatic individuals, and border closures were “not recommended in any circumstances”. The report also noted that there were ethical issues with virus control measures where there were populations of migrant workers (as is frequently the case in poor countries). The word ‘lockdown’ was not mentioned anywhere in this report.

WHO insiders say that these reports build on two or three years of research. Yet all this was discarded within two months. Following the reporting of the novel coronavirus, the WHO despatched a mission to visit affected areas of China from February 16-24, and then issued a report which overturned the recommendations it had just published. Instead, all countries with cases were to pursue the policies that the December report had said should never be applied: contact tracing and the quarantining of exposed people, while they were also to strategise “even more stringent measures” (lockdowns).

There were many problems with the WHO’s new approach. Scientifically, there was no control mechanism to see if China’s new policy was really effective. And there was no consideration of the socioeconomic variables and ethical considerations to the global poor that the December report had identified. Predictably, in the world’s poor countries, where the vast majority of work is informal, the impact of these policies has been a humanitarian catastrophe: a collapse in African economies, huge increases in poverty-induced migration (as seen this week in Morocco), and a humanitarian situation in India which has been compared to partition.

Who is the WHO trying to fool? All of us, it would appear. This claim that it now seeks an “equitable” rebuilding is just part of the massive rewriting of history that it is undertaking at the moment.  Just last week we were told that the world should have moved into stringent suppression measures in February — but how world leaders were supposed to do this when it was an entirely new policy is not explained. The world cannot let the WHO escape from its role in the humanitarian catastrophe of the last year.

Toby Green’s book The Covid Consensus: The New Politics of Global Inequality is published by Hurst.

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Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

Lockdowns in the West were predicted IN APRIL 2020, to lead to the deaths of 1,200,000 children in the poor nations JUST from diminished economic activity in the West! They did not get stimulus checks to sit at home streaming netflix.

All those cur flowers grown in Africa for Europe – left to wilt, people not paid, the T-shirt and cheap clothing sweat shops throughout Africa and SE Asia, closed, no pay – the West locked down on fat pay wile doing nothing wile the Poor in the world starved because of the reduced economic activity.

For every granny you saved you killed a dozen babies. GOOD FOR YOU, you masking, lockdown, money printing, SHEEP!!!!!

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

telegraph, 13 May, 2020

“Unicef warns lockdown could kill more than Covid-19 as model predicts 1.2 million child deaths’Indiscriminate lockdowns’ are an ineffective way to control Covid and could contribute to a 45 per cent rise in child mortality”

Ever seen babies starving? I have. You soft, cossetted, selfish, spoiled, entitled, weak, demanding, rich Westerners sometimes sicken me. All Rights, no responsibilities, all self loathing wile being greedy, demanding, lazy, and angry, and scared rabbits. Refusing to do what needs to be done in the World and just streaming your disgusting – degenerate, Netflix and Prime and yacking of nothing on your phone social media. Every one of you a new times, self absorbed, ignorant, Marie Antoinette.

Simon Coulthard
Simon Coulthard
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

How woke of you

David Slade
David Slade
1 year ago

No, he’s right to be angry, it has been and continues to be (both domestically and internationally) shameful.

In a reversal of the usual mammalian order of the elders protecting the young, we continue to use the young to shield ourselves.

Our ancestors would not be proud.

Trishia A
Trishia A
1 year ago
Reply to  David Slade

On a sinking ship, as people fill the lifeboats, it’s “women and children first”, but with covid we’ve said, “the hell with women and children, save the octogenarians first!”

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Trishia A

But we didn’t do “ save the octogenarians first”. We didn’t follow the GBD and locked all down prolonging the pandemic pain. .

Malcolm Ripley
Malcolm Ripley
1 year ago

woke? He is attacking those that are woke and has every right to be angry. I think you will find the western woke brigade wear masks with glee, complain about conspiracists killing granny and are dismissive of knock on consequences for 15 months of totally disastrous decision making.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I agree with the sentiments in both your posts. Be angry, because you are correct.
Instead, we pull down statues and cancel people, it makes us feel good, better, more concerned and connected to our inner selves. We kneel for equality, hahahaha, ‘cos we think that’ll do it.
It’s all f***ed mate.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

Strange that the police stood by and let that happen , surely not a distraction for the masses?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

another study in the US predicts nearly one million deaths from the economic harm caused by the govt deep thinkers with their mandates and lockdowns. Economic harm ALWAYS has an impact on health.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Well said mate. Well bloody said.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

In Britain I think there is a difference in character in people born before & after WW11 , as before most people had to learn to fend for themselves , wheras after they seem to think there is a rich kindly uncle who will always bail them out ie the state.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
1 year ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

I’m not sure you have the date of the split right I’d be more inclined to go for the late 70s early 80s.

I agree with the sentiment though.

Walter Brigham
Walter Brigham
1 year ago

That would be the babies of WWII generation, boomers, coming into power.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I often disagree with what you say, but I’m with you on this one. I was posting about these issues on sites like Naked Capitalism over a year ago, and my comments were simply ignored, garnering almost no response at all. Instead, those supposed socialists were worrying at length about whether they might catch the virus from delivery drivers while they worked from home and so on, with little apparent concern for ‘essential’ (read, expendable) workers in their own countries, still less the poor in developing nations for whom self-isolation and social distancing are unimaginable luxuries, and the loss of income through lockdowns, at home and abroad, devastating.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Perkins
Judy Simpson
Judy Simpson
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Thank you. You have perfectly expressed how I have been feeling for the past year.

Steven James
Steven James
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Totally agree mate, I’m ashamed of least half the people I know personally and probably won’t speak to most of them again…..i’m sure they won’t be at all bothered about that but when the shit starts encroaching on their own doorstep it won’t be pretty

connieperkins9999
connieperkins9999
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven James

Absolutely.

Trishia A
Trishia A
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven James

Same here. I’ve spent my entire life “agreeing to disagree” with people, but the fascism and anti-ethical behaviours I’ve seen pushed by covid-naz1 has become a chasm with people I will never bridge.

Last edited 1 year ago by Trishia A
Trishia A
Trishia A
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Yes indeed. We have done the ethical Trolley Problem a great disservice. Visualise a new Trolley problem, with two over 70s on the straight track, and ten infants on the turn track. Society turned the trolley, populist ethics chose to kill the youth to save the seniors.

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Your anger is palpable, and entirely justified. Well said.

Alyona Song
Alyona Song
1 year ago

The WHO and the entire UN structure became nothing else but self-interested and self-servicing bureaucracy a long time ago. Shameless parasites. They are of no use to the people of world.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago

Science vs scientism.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Science vs politics

Epicurus Araraxia
Epicurus Araraxia
1 year ago

This one’s on YOU, Neil Ferguson. Your bogus mathematical modelling was a large part in the decision to abandon decades of well-established epidemiology in favour of Medieval superstition.

Niobe Hunter
Niobe Hunter
1 year ago

And he didn’t even take the ‘threat’ seriously himself (witness the lover in lockdown). So what has really been going on?

thomas Schinkel
thomas Schinkel
1 year ago

The author is being very kind to the WHO. I can imagine a time when this whole sordid mess comes before a 21st century type Nurnberg tribunal.

Joerg Beringer
Joerg Beringer
1 year ago

No one forced our governments or journalists to adopt these new, untested and completely crazy WHO suggestions and suggest and engage in censoring the old, tested and reasonable and any other ones.
No one forced the people of these countries to accept their implementation so quietly or even with enthusiasm.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago
Reply to  Joerg Beringer

I , personally, think the west went broke and has been under the rule of these institutions for years-for some reason they wanted this reaction , and if didn’t comply IMF doesn’t allow any money.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
1 year ago
Reply to  Joerg Beringer

I don’t think you can combine governments and journalists since I believe the main reason for the governments actions are the journalists.

Trishia A
Trishia A
1 year ago

And maybe not so much the “journalists” themselves, but the media institutions, who are now funded by Big Pharma, through grants, subsidies, and advertising dollars.
The Medical-Industrial complex owns us.

Trishia A
Trishia A
1 year ago
Reply to  Joerg Beringer

But politicians want re-election, and they therefore will follow wherever the fear-porn populace leads.

Lena Bloch
Lena Bloch
1 year ago
Reply to  Joerg Beringer

That is not correct – “no one forced”. Yes, there was a racket from the IMF and WEF. Financial pressure and bribes. They offered a huge bribe to Belarus to “make it like in Italy” – the president refused and Belarus is facing a “regime change”. The WHO also was only serving the global financial institutions.

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
1 year ago
Reply to  Joerg Beringer

yes, the health industry did…..