A petition demanding the immediate resignation of World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic has gathered more than 1 million signatures, according to the Korean Times.
The petition, which was started by an individual using the handle 'Osuka Yip' on Jan. 31, blamed Tedros and his 'poor leadership' for the spread of the pandemic, which has killed more than 200k people around the world. And as the FT noted last night, the true death toll could be more than 350k.
The exact timeline of when the virus first began spreading from person to person in Wuhan remains unclear, as China has withheld reams of critical information about the early days of the pandemic. The Dr. Tedros-led WHO initially tried to help with the coverup by praising China's response and claiming Beijing's handling of the situation should be a "model" for countries all over the world.
In reality, Chinese officials suppressed news about the virus, punished doctors who initially warned about the outbreak, grabbed up all the PPE and other vital equipment, while unleashing the virus on the world by failing to stop millions of Chinese travelers from leaving the country, and hundreds of thousands of people from leaving Wuhan and Hubei.
Over the weekend, the WHO endured its latest gaffe when it said that 'immunity passports' wouldn't be helpful because it's unclear whether those who have recovered from the virus are truly immune. The WHO the next day offered a clarification, saying that the exact levels of immunity for former COVID-19 patients have yet to be closely studied. Dr. Scott Gottlieb said on CNBC Monday morning that almost every coronavirus patient would develop some level of immunity, despite preliminary research suggesting that some patients can quickly become reinfected because their bodies don't produce enough antibodies.
President Donald Trump accused the WHO of failing in its basic duty to warn the world of the virus and suspended US funding to the WHO - technically an arm of the UN - earlier this month. Two days later, 17 other Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee backed Trump's decision, saying they had also lost faith in Tedros.
Disapproval of Dr. Tedros over his kowtowing to Beijing is particularly intense in Taiwan, as the government and the people accuse the WHO of ignoring the great accomplishments of local public health officials in suppressing the outbreak in the 'renegade province'.
The petition to oust Dr. Tedros had garnered more than 1,018,453 signature as of Monday morning.
After announcing his plans to cut US funding for the WHO, Trump was asked at a White House press briefing whether he would reconsider the decision if Dr. Tedros was forced out. Trump refused to answer, though one of his aids called it a "good question."