A petition on Change.org calling for the immediate resignation of World Health Organization Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has amassed nearly one million signatures from around the globe as of Sunday morning. The petition, which began circling as Tedros has come under fire for the organization’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, has collected 853,000 signatures.
Tedros has been criticized by writers, public health experts, and politicians for his early deference to China. The WHO gave Beijing the benefit of the doubt when it came to the coronavirus numbers coming out of Wuhan, a mistake that almost certainly caused leaders in other nations to underestimate the threat developing in China.
“We strongly think Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is not fit for his role as WHO Director General,” the petition states. “A lot of us are really disappointed. We believe WHO is supposed to be politically neutral. Without any investigation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus solely believes in the death and infected numbers that the Chinese government provided with them.”
In January, WHO officials officially circulated an uncritical bit of news from China, in which they reported that authorities in Wuhan had found “no clear evidence” that COVID-19 could spread from person to person.
In a letter to Tedros this week, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee condemned the organization for its unfathomable willingness to believe Chinese propaganda.
“Throughout the crisis, the WHO has shied away from placing any blame on the Chinese government, which is in essence the Communist Party of China,” the Republicans wrote. “You, as leader of the WHO, even went so far as to praise the Chinese government’s ‘transparency’ during the crisis, when, in fact, the regime has consistently lied to the world by underreporting their actual infection and death statistics.”
The lawmakers in the House are not the only Republicans calling on Tedros to explain his actions. Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) has been among the loudest voices on Capitol Hill when it comes to criticizing the WHO for spreading China’s misinformation far and wide.
“Dr. Tedros deceived the world,” she said last week. “At one point, he even praised China’s ‘transparency during its coronavirus response efforts’ despite a mountain of evidence showing the regime concealed the severity of the outbreak. This deception cost lives.”
In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt last week, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) went even further.
“The fact that the head of the WHO was unwilling to say, for example, yes, it’s right to cut off travel from China, was unwilling to acknowledge that there was, you know, community transmission, has been touting the Chinese Communist Party line from the beginning of this, tells you that he absolutely should go,” Cheney said. “And again, you know, we’re in a situation where having somebody who is a puppet of the Chinese Communist Party running the WHO is costing lives around the world. And in order for that organization to play anywhere near the role we need it to play, it needs a new director, certainly.”
Time will tell if Tedros can withstand the growing calls for his resignation. Whether he stays or he goes, however, he and other top WHO officials will have a great many uncomfortable questions to answer when this is all over.