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Trump Overstates W.H.O. Position on Lockdowns

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This week, President Trump exaggerated a place taken by the World Health Organization, saying that the company had vindicated his derision of lockdowns in the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The World Health Organization just admitted that I was right,” the president tweeted. “Lockdowns are killing countries all over the world. The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.”

Mr. Trump’s message was quickly shared by hundreds on-line, together with the commentator Lou Dobbs and Representative Andy Biggs, Republican of Arizona, who echoed the president’s rallying cry to “open up” and described the closings as “pseudoscientific” and “tyrannical.”

Since the early days of the pandemic, the president has dismissed lockdowns as pointless and dangerous, even whereas the virus continued to blaze throughout the nation.

Mr. Trump didn’t say which W.H.O. assertion he was referring to. But one of many few printed current feedback from a W.H.O. official about lockdowns got here from David Nabarro, certainly one of a number of envoys to the group on Covid-19.

“We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” Dr. Nabarro stated earlier this month to the British journal The Spectator. “The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted. But by and large, we’d rather not do it.”

“We really do appeal to all world leaders, stop using lockdown as your primary method of control,” Dr. Nabarro stated.

Dr. Nabarro described a number of potential tolls of widespread lockdowns, which have set off financial declines and better unemployment charges, and have widened disparities in lots of components of the world, together with the United States.

Dr. Nabarro has additionally famous that lockdowns could also be obligatory beneath some circumstances. In addition, he has advocated for a multifaceted method to curbing the unfold of the coronavirus — a method he just lately outlined in a written reflection that highlighted the significance of bodily distancing, mask-wearing, accessible testing and phone tracing, amongst different measures, to pinpoint and suppress outbreaks.

In a press release, Hedinn Halldorsson, a spokesman for the W.H.O., reaffirmed that the pandemic wanted to be addressed with such a “package” of protecting techniques.

“W.H.O. has never advocated for national lockdowns as a primary means for controlling the virus,” he stated. “Dr. Nabarro was repeating our advice to governments to ‘do it all.’”

Some nations, like New Zealand, used lockdowns to nice success to tame their outbreaks. Others, like South Korea, had been in a position to circumvent them by pushing arduous on testing. All success tales, nevertheless, have one factor in widespread: swift motion to acknowledge and beat again the virus.

Lockdowns are excessive, and inevitably include prices, stated Syra Madad, a public health skilled and epidemiologist primarily based in New York. But they will afford communities much-needed time to prepared different strategies of containment.

“Had the U.S. been better prepared and responded faster,” Dr. Madad stated, maybe “lockdowns could have been avoided.”





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