Mr. Trump unleashed a tirade against the organization on Tuesday, accusing it of acting too slowly to sound the alarm, and of treating the Chinese government too favorably. While the president, who threatened to withhold American funding for the W.H.O., spoke in unusually harsh terms, he was not alone in such criticism.
Asked about Mr. Trump’s comments on Wednesday, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus , the W.H.O. director-general, said, “We want to learn from our mistakes,” but added, “for now, the focus should be on fighting this virus.”
“Please don’t politicize this virus, ”Dr. Tedros said. “If you want to be exploited and you want to have many more body bags, then you do it. If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it. ”
He emphasized that the disease was new, adding,“ there are many unknowns and we don’t know how it will behave in future. ”
While some critics have called on Dr. Tedros to resign, he said he was not deterred and could withstand “three years” or “three hundred years” of personal attacks. He did not cite Mr. Trump by name.
He said for the first time that for months he has been targeted by racist comments and death threats.
Critics say the WHO has been too trusting of the Chinese government , which initially tried to conceal the outbreak. Others have faulted the organization for not moving faster in declaring a global health emergency.
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