‘Critically important’: Here’s why Dr. Ashish Jha praised President Biden’s effort to rejoin WHO

"Walking away at this moment deeply hurt our moral standing."

Dr. Ashish Jha. Jonathan Wiggs / The Boston Globe

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Rejoining the World Health Organization was one of the first things President Joe Biden hours did after his inauguration.

And it’s a move that public health expert Dr. Ashish Jha says is “critically important” to ending the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden’s order announcing the country’s recommitment to WHO, along with the Paris Climate Accord, were just a couple of the actions taken via executive orders the new president signed on Wednesday. He also helped reverse many other facets of now-former President Donald Trump’s legacy, including stopping the U.S.-Mexico border wall construction.

Trump had announced in October that he intended to have the United States pull back from WHO by July 6. It’s a decision John Oliver criticized during a segment of “Last Week Tonight,” noting that where the pandemic is concerned, “we’re only as strong as our worst-prepared country.”


For Jha, who serves as dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, the U.S. remaining in WHO is crucial because of the “deeply interconnected” nature of the world, according to a thread he posted on Twitter. Ending the pandemic across the planet saves lives not just internationally, but in this country as well.

“@WHO is critical to that mission of improving global health,” Jha said. “No it is not perfect — and I have been clear-eyed about how WHO needs to be reformed. But walking away at this moment deeply hurt our moral standing, and made America weaker. And there is a lot to do.”

Here’s all of Jha’s comments on Twitter:

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