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by Kevin Bardosh
Friday, 22
September 2023
Analysis
10:00

When will the WHO acknowledge its Covid policy failures?

The organisation missed another opportunity at this week's UN summit
by Kevin Bardosh
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised the ’49 theses’. Credit: Getty

This week world leaders approved a new political declaration to combat future pandemics at the UN General Assembly in New York City.

In the aftermath of Covid, the document’s 49 theses range from lofty ideals of global health solidarity to a shopping list of investments and actions, all composed in the elegant language of technocratic governance. 

Front and centre were calls to strengthen the authority and financing of the World Health Organization, including through a revision of the International Health Regulations (IHRs) and a new Pandemic Accord, or Treaty, by next year’s World Health Assembly in May 2024. 

The WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, praised the “historic milestone in the urgent drive to make all people of the world safer and better protected from the devastating impacts of pandemics”.

Others expressed more sceptical views. Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former Irish President, stated that the UN as a whole — not the WHO — should coordinate the pandemic response because “pandemics affect the whole economy. It has an incredibly devastating impact that drives countries into debt.”

Yet much of the language of the declaration and the political manoeuvring that accompanied it continue to muddy the waters between the impact of the pandemic and the harms of overzealous policies in response. The difference may seem trite, but is very important.

For example, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed called the global response to Covid-19: 

A story of human ingenuity and human failure. On the one hand, tests created at lightning speed, and vaccines developed in record times. On the other, a lack of preparation, the vulnerable hit the hardest, and vaccines hoarded by rich countries, as people in poorer nations went without.
- Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed

She then went on to acknowledge the negative impact of the pandemic on rising hunger and poverty, growing government debt, and gender inequality. But did the pandemic really cause this? 

Global agency staff have generated some critical work on the harms of pandemic policies. A World Bank estimate found 409 million more people fell into poverty in 2022. A UNICEF analysis and World Bank report discussed the erosion of human capital for the 771 million children who missed 1.5 years or more of school; their estimates suggest school closures erased all global educational gains achieved since 2000. A joint UN report led by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimated 350 million more people were pushed into food insecurity, especially in Africa.

But the WHO, and indeed most of the global public health establishment, has not yet produced a serious postmortem that shines a light on the consequences of Covid policies. Instead powerful funders, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are laying the groundwork for a new lockdown doctrine for the next pandemic. The social and political consequences of draconian Covid measures are whitewashed; such impacts are all too often blamed on “the pandemic”. 

A recent analysis from Simon Rynn in the world’s oldest security think tank, the Royal United Services Institute, stated that: 

In much of the developing world, Covid restrictions were seen as a cruel imposition from the get-go […] Unless searching debate takes place and a diversity of perspectives and evidence is brought to bear, there is a risk that future pandemic handling might worsen rather than improve the lives of many worldwide.
- Simon Rynn

The hubris of global development agencies and the harm of utopian impulses have an unfortunately long history. Those who advocate for global plans in the halls of Geneva or New York need to be more linguistically accurate, despite the political discomfort. Differentiating between “the pandemic” and “pandemic policies” is one important step in ensuring accountability and reasoned debate for the next pandemic. We need more of it.

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AC Harper
AC Harper
2 months ago

When will the WHO acknowledge its Covid policy failures?
Never. They will just be archived, out of sight, in the darkest corner of the deepest cellar.

Last edited 2 months ago by AC Harper
Nik Jewell
Nik Jewell
2 months ago

Putting the worries about the WHO/UN/WEF/Gates axis and the totalitarian provisions in this appalling Accord and IHR changes to one side (I have written about these ad nauseum on this site in the past!), the WHO’s failure to acknowledge that they, and governments, got just about everything wrong is depressing. Wrong about masks, wrong about lockdowns, wrong about transmission, wrong about deaths caused by Covid, wrong about vaccines, wrong about early treatment protocols …
They will likely be wrong about everything next time, too, but you won’t hear so much about their mistakes because social media and the internet will be locked down so hard that you will only hear the mono-narrative.
The biggest problem, from a scientific point of view, is that in the future, they will push for a ‘one size fits all’ approach that will leave us without control groups. We wouldn’t know everything we know about COVID-19 measures if Sweden hadn’t been different if NZ and China hadn’t been different.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
2 months ago
Reply to  Nik Jewell

Which is why most people will ignore them. Public health officials in America have started mask mandates in a few places. They’re not working. The public health establishment blew its credibility with the masses for at least a generation. Another “2 weeks to slow the spread” campaign would be laughed out of the room at this point.

At least in America. Whether that would be the case in the UK, I’m not sure.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
2 months ago

The WHO is a proxy organisation for the Chinese Communist Party. The Party couldn’t have got away with suppressing international information on a lab virus epidemic over winter 2019-20 if it hadn’t installed their man at its head.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
2 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

The CCP was not the only people invested in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Fauci channelled US government funds into their programmes and none of the usual WMD suspects including own government have ever demanded an answer as to how Covid was created.

j watson
j watson
2 months ago

That’s not quite correct CB as you well know. Fauci had to answer questions in Congress on this and anyone truly interested should just google and listen. The funding routes etc and what was ‘gain of function’ much more complicated than a grossly over-simplified comment here.
The overwhelming main reason we can’t get to the bottom of how was Covid created is the secrecy of the CCP.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
2 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Fauci had to answer questions in Congress on this

And it’s pretty clear by now that he lied through his teeth, which is why Rand Paul wants him impeached. If only 10% of the evidence that RFK has produced in his book on Fauci’s career is true then he should certainly be jailed for a long time.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
2 months ago

The role of the WHO is to give permission for governments to imprison their populations in the name of science and then to allow governments to forcibly vaccinate and microchip their subjects.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
2 months ago

the elegant language of technocratic governance

Hemingway’s language is elegant, James Baldwin’s language is elegant. The outpourings of supranational NGOs are uniformly ugly, obfuscatory and pretentious.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
2 months ago

Even in the outlier country of Sweden, despite repeated FOI requests from a group of doctors, the government has simply refused to let them have access to all the metadata from the pandemic.

What could they possibly be frightened of ?

Whether the vaccines were of any use whatsoever?

David Kingsworthy
David Kingsworthy
2 months ago

I’m tempted to say “Who takes them seriously anyway?” but am nauseatingly aware they are one of the mechanisms ready and empowered to run roughshod again over our governments, when the “need” arises.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago

The WHO is a toothless tiger. It has no power to enforce anything. If the CDC says we don’t agree with the WHO directive, the US and much of the west will simply ignore it. There is a possibility – however remote – that competent political leadership resumes in the west. The WHO will reflect that.

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Not toothless enough, really. They had the power to sideline and silence Taiwanese public health officials who were among the first to raise the alarm.

Rich Thompson
Rich Thompson
2 months ago

I co-published peer reviewed research during the pandemic, that showed who was most at risk from covid19 and also highlighted the dangers of treatments for other diseases being interrupted. The research pre-dated but supported the Great Barrington and Swedish approaches.
Recently, I analyzed the all cause mortality % change data, 3 years since the pandemic for OECD countries, a few sobering takeaways.
Sweden had the lowest 3 year excess deaths % at 3.7%, UK at 11.9%, Germany at 10.2%, Denmark at 7.4%.
If we take Sweden and Denmark as comparable populations, with the main differentiator being pandemic strategy, we see a 50% decline in all cause excess deaths %.
Project this to all OECD countries and two million lives would have been saved.
This is just looking at deaths without all the other huge factors brilliantly mentioned in the article – hunger, education, etc.
It scares me that there seems to be no recognition of what went wrong with lockdowns. I am happy that the immortality of vaccine hoarding was acknowledged, though it was also highlighted at the time and nothing changed. Then we wonder why the Global South are not jumping into bed with the West.

Last edited 2 months ago by rich.thompsonuk
Emily Riedel
Emily Riedel
2 months ago

They won’t, they’ll do it again, anc they’ll be BETTER at it.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
2 months ago

“Searching debate” would be far too damaging to the people are are organizing the debate. Won’t happen.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
2 months ago

the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are laying the groundwork for a new lockdown doctrine for the next pandemic” – I knew we needed to confiscate all that Foundation’s assets.

Robbie K
Robbie K
2 months ago

The medical community consider lockdowns to be a valid intervention and it’s expected their use will be introduced very shortly for children with measles, mumps or rubella. (21 days).

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
2 months ago

When will the Tories acknowledge their Brexit failure?
It’s been a balls-up.
When are you going to own it?