A year on, WHO still struggling to manage pandemic response

GENEVA (HRNW) — When the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic one year ago Thursday, it did so only after weeks of resisting the term and maintaining that the highly infectious virus could still be stopped.

A year later, the U.N. agency is still struggling to keep on top of the evolving science of COVID-19, to persuade countries to abandon their nationalistic tendencies and help get vaccines where they’re needed most.

The agency made some costly missteps along the way: It advised people against wearing masks for months and asserted that COVID-19 wasn’t widely spread in the air. It also declined to publicly call out countries — particularly China — for mistakes that senior WHO officials grumbled about privately.

That created some tricky politics that challenged WHO’s credibility and wedged it between two world powers, setting off vociferous Trump administration criticism that the agency is only now emerging from.

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