By LIBBY CATHEY, ADIA ROBINSON, JACK ARNHOLZ, MEREDITH DELISO and LAUREN KING, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — Thursday marks day two of the administration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Here is how events are unfolding. All times Eastern:
Jan 21, 8:20 am
Fauci announces US will remain a member of the WHO
The United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, announced Thursday.
Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made the announcement via video link to the WHO’s executive board in Geneva, a day after Joe Biden was sworn-in as the 46th president of the U.S.
“I am honored to announce the United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization,” Fauci told the board Thursday, adding that the U.S. will also “fulfil its financial obligations” to the WHO and stop reducing its staff at the United Nations agency.
Fauci, who is Biden’s chief medical adviser on the coronavirus pandemic, also announced that the president will issue a directive Thursday that shows the country’s intent to join the COVAX Facility, a global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries regardless of income.
Within hours of becoming president, Biden had signed an executive order reversing former President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the WHO. Trump had accused the organization of failing to correctly respond to the coronavirus pandemic and of allegedly giving too much power to China.
In an interview Thursday with ABC News’ Michael Strahan on Good Morning America, Fauci said rejoining the WHO is “very important” and that the country’s withdrawal “was very disconcerting to everybody.”
“When you’re dealing with global pandemic, you have to have an international connectivity, and for us to not be in the WHO was very disconcerting to everybody, all the member countries including the health officials here in the United States,” he said. “So the official announcement that we are rejoining, we’re going to live up to our financial commitments and a whole bunch of other things, it was really a very good day. I mean, the response I’m getting from my colleagues all over the world is really very refreshing.”
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