The World Health Organization has been at the forefront of critics’ complaints about the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Friday, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared that the end of the global pandemic that has been ongoing since late 2019 is “in sight.”
“We are not there yet. But the end is in sight,” Ghebreyesus told reported at a virtual press conference.
The WHO Director then pressed nations to ‘run harder’ in their efforts to rein in Covid and prepare for future outbreaks.
“Now is the time to run harder and make sure we cross the line and reap the rewards of all our hard work.”
WHO’s senior epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove provided further context on the organization’s statement.
“We expect there to be future waves of infections, potentially at different time points throughout the world caused by different subvariants of Omicron or even different variants of concern,” said Van Kerkhove.
Covid researchers are nonetheless conceding that the viral pandemic is moving beyond the “emergency phase.”
“It’s probably fair to say most of the world is moving beyond the emergency phase of the pandemic response,” said Dr. Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at Southampton University.
The WHO nonetheless responded to contentions by the Lancet’s Covid Commission that it failed to adequately address the Covid-19 pandemic, which subsequently led to a major decline in public trust of alleged medical experts.
“WHO acted too cautiously and too slowly on several important matters: to warn about the human transmissibility of the virus, to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, to support international travel protocols designed to slow the spread of the virus, to endorse the public use of face masks as protective gear, and to recognise the airborne transmission of the virus,” the Lancet argued.
In summary, the Lancet ignored the widespread and egregious violations of human rights, such as the right to bodily autonomy, freedom of travel, and the right to be secure from unreasonable search-and-seizure, and argued that the Covid lockdowns and mandates did not go far enough.
The WHO responded to the Lancet in a manner predictable for a global health bureaucracy: It insisited that it needed more authority and funding.
“The Commission strongly endorses WHO’s central role in global health, arguing that ‘WHO should be strengthened’ and that reforms ‘should include a substantial increase of its core budget’,” the WHO noted.
“WHO echoes the Commission’s conclusions that COVID-19 exposed major global challenges, such as chronic under financing of the UN, rigid intellectual property regimes, a lack of sustainable financing for low- and middle-income countries, and ‘excessive nationalism,’ which drove vaccine inequity,” the organization added.
The WHO was particularly pointed in denying that it has hindered a transparent and objective investigation of the origins of SARS-CoV-2.
The WHO-Lancet debate nonetheless illustrates the narrow point-of-view that scientific researchers and bureaucrats often adopt when quarreling over issues that are more appropriately handled with public policy debate in representative democracies.
The Lancet itself published a study in March that included a model suggesting that Covid policies implemented by public health experts around the globe failed to substantially lower excess deaths.
“Estimating excess mortality due to the COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic analysis of COVID-19-related mortality, 2020–21, the magnitude and distribution of many other causes of death might have changed because of social, economic, and behavioural responses to the pandemic, including strict lockdowns,” the study noted. “Under these conditions, excess mortality can provide a more accurate assessment of the total mortality impact of the COVID-19 pandemic than reported COVID-19 deaths.”
“Our excess mortality estimates reflect the full impact of the pandemic on mortality around the world, and not only deaths directly attributable to SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the article explains about its model, which incorporated all-cause mortality reports for 74 countries and territories and 266 subnational locations.
The main finding of the study was its estimate that about three times as many people died worldwide due to the “global pandemic” than is suggested by Covid-related mortality figures.
An exhaustive Johns Hopkins University comparative analysis published in January found that strict lockdowns failed to significantly reduce Covid-related deaths.
“Lockdowns in the U.S. and Europe had little or no impact in reducing deaths from COVID-19, according to a new analysis by researchers at Johns Hopkins University,” the Washington Times reported. “The lockdowns during the early phase of the pandemic in 2020 reduced COVID-19 mortality by about 0.2%, said the broad review of multiple scientific studies.”
“We find no evidence that lockdowns, school closures, border closures, and limiting gatherings have had a noticeable effect on COVID-19 mortality,” the researchers wrote.
Global health bureaucrats appear to be unable to reach a conclusion that entails less funding and authority for their respective agencies. Bureaucrats are thus staking out an adversarial position against human freedom and democratic governance.
The sensible solution is for voters to take note that bureaucrats have become hostile to their freedom and take appropriate action to put them ‘back in their boxes.’ Health bureaucrats must be forced to return to their roles as servants of the people, rather than their dictators.
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.