Is he right?
Yes, the WHO declared a global health emergency on the same day that confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed SARS and Italy reported its first cases. The Trump administration declared a public health emergency the next day and created the current coronavirus task force.
In February, Donald Trump received critical intelligence though from Jared Kushner and Steve Schwarzman and other billionaire donors to “ride it out” and treat it as “just the flu.” This was the narrative for weeks on FOX News. The WHO never advised Trump that it was “just the flu.” It is not the WHO’s fault that six weeks passed with virtually no testing capacity for the virus in the United States or that Trump was furious with Nancy Messonnier for spooking the markets when he got back from India.
The countries which took the virus seriously like Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and many others haven’t had nearly as many deaths as the United States. China officially declared war on the virus, locked down Wuhan and over 700 million people. The first death in China from coronavirus occurred on January 11 and Wuhan was locked down on January 23. China sequenced and revealed the genome of the virus to the world on the same day as its first death.
The WHO isn’t entirely blameless here. Taiwan notified the WHO about the virus in December. The WHO was slow in officially declaring a pandemic even by its own criteria. It is not responsible for the way that Donald Trump responded to the virus. Mongolia and Vietnam listened and got it right. Donald Trump didn’t want to listen though because he was too busy cheerleading for the stock market. He didn’t pay much attention to the virus at all until the stock market began tanking in early March.
Here is the original press conference on January 30: