On his first day in office, President-elect Joe Biden plans to try to get the US back into the world arena in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, aides told reporters.
How will Biden reset the US position? An immediate reversal of President Trump’s decision to leave the World Health Organization, according to Biden’s counselor and Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients.
“America's withdrawal from the international arena has impeded progress on the global response and left us more vulnerable to future pandemics,” Zients told reporters in a telephone briefing Tuesday afternoon.
“He will take action to cease the previous administration's process of withdrawing from the World Health Organization, and the Biden-Harris administration will participate in the WHO executive board meeting this week.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was the most prominent medical professional speaking about the coronavirus pandemic under the Trump Administration, will speak to the WHO executive board in an official capacity Thursday.
“In addition, tomorrow, the President will fulfill his campaign promise of immediately restoring the National Security Council's Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense.” That office, established in 2015 under the Obama administration, was disbanded in 2018, although the Trump Administration denied that meant it had abandoned all pandemic preparedness.
“Moving forward, we will focus on immediate and emerging domestic and global biological threats, and play a critical role in stopping this pandemic and preventing future biological catastrophes,” Zients said.
It won’t be a Day One executive order, but Zients also said, in response to questions, that the administration would reverse the so-called Mexico City policy – a policy denying US federal funding to any organizations globally that support abortion rights. The policy is regularly reversed by Democratic administrations and restored in various forms by Republican presidents.