The COVID-19 pandemic is testing the world – and humanity is failing because of a lack of leadership and unity, the head of the World Health Organization declared in a passionate speech Thursday.
“How is it difficult for humans to unite and fight a common enemy that is killing people indiscriminately?” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus asked at a briefing in Geneva, his voice rising with emotion. “Are we unable to distinguish or identify the common enemy?” he asked.
The world’s lack of solidarity — not the coronavirus — is the biggest threat we face, Tedros said, adding that divisions among countries and people give an advantage to a virus that has been holding the world hostage for months.
The WHO director-general spoke about the lack of leadership two days after President Trump began the formal process of pulling the U.S. out of the World Health Organization. That move is expected to become final next June.
Last April, Tedros had pleaded, “Please don’t politicize this virus.” Using a pandemic to score political points, he said, would only result in “many more body bags.”
In the months since, Tedros has repeatedly called for countries to fight the pandemic with unity and common cause. He has also criticized governments for failing to take measures to stop the spread of the virus.