There were over a dozen American officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) in January who were working on COVID-19 and had raised the alarm to President Donald Trump’s administration of the danger of the pandemic.
The Washington Post reported on Sunday that the officials had told the administration about the coronavirus as it began spreading in China early in the year, thereby torpedoing Trump’s accusation that the WHO had been “covering up” the origins of the virus.
Health and Human Services (HHS) spokesperson Caitlin Oakley confirmed to the Post that 17 department officials worked at WHO on several issues, “including covid-19,” in January and were “providing technical assistance.”
However, Oakley argued that such assistance “does not change the information you are getting from WHO leadership” and that China’s “lack of transparency aided and abided by WHO leadership hampered understanding of the virus and delayed the global response.”
The White House did not respond to request for comment at the time of writing.