Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, argued that the greatest threat that the global community faces right now is not the virus itself but the lack of solidarity and leadership on both national and international levels.
In a speech that he delivered in Geneva, the head of WHO seemed rather emotional at multiple points during the speech, most evidently showed by his voice trembling with overwhelming emotions.
While he did not mention any leader by their names, many have interpreted the comments as a condemnation of US President Donald Trump, who announced this week that the US will leave WHO while the pandemic continues to sweep through the Americas.
Tedros emphasized the importance of uniting and forming a global front against the global pandemic. In one of the most emotional bits of the speech, Tedros said that people around the world will continue to lose their friends if the world remains divided.
Some commentators both in and out of the US cited the failing effort by the US government as one of the main reasons why President Trump has decided to withdraw America from the largest international organization devoted to global health.
While President Trump’s performance is one subjective to the political opinions of every individual, the numbers definitely do not look positive. America continues to set new daily records for the number of patients as it struggles to reopen its economy amidst a pandemic.
Another leader that Tedros more than likely had in his mind is Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. After downplaying the dangers of the virus since its outbreak, Bolsonaro tested positive for the virus this week. He had been holding rallies and even went so far as to hug his supporters.
At one point, Tedros seemed genuinely lost and confused as he asked how difficult it can be for people to unite against the most obvious common foe of all time – a deadly global virus.
The Director-General laid out the challenges that laid in front of the global leaders, and asked them to rise to meet their moment. He explained that the global pandemic will be a test of a leader during a national and international crisis.
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