Pamela A. Zeiser By: Pamela A. Zeiser
Associate Professor of Political Science
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30 Apr 2020 : Student Responses mentioned in April 26 entry

With their permission, I share below two student responses to the course activities mentioned in my April 26 entry Teaching the Pandemic We’re Living Through.

Excerpt from a reflective essay on course content, with this section about studying global health governance and COVID-19:

Even though we were actively living and learning about complicated, swiftly-evolving, concerning material, none of the material presented made me feel anxious about the current situation. What we read in class helped me feel better prepared and curious about the current situation rather than scared and I think that is a great feat worth mentioning. I thoroughly enjoyed the material and the discussions and look forward to continuing to acquire knowledge about international law. – Annette Gonzalez

Discussion Post (with links to additional resources that should still work):

The recent U.S. decision to suspend WHO funding pending an investigation into their complicit action with China on COVID-19 comes with serious consequences, especially during a global pandemic. The U.S. is the largest contributor of donations to the WHO by far. Our absence in funding will not leave a power vacuum that China is sure to fill since China is not even the second or fifth largest donor to the WHO. The second greatest entity contribution to the WHO isn't even a state, but a private non-profit, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. China is quite low on the list and does not have significant political sway over the entire UN-based organization. 

However, now the U.S. is the most infected country on earth and it can be argued that we simply are not doing enough in terms of testing and contact tracing. The reason our funding was halted is because of the president's inability to remember what he tweeted three months ago: "China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!" (source) The transparency issues are no longer relevant now that we have surpassed the world in infections. The tactics of the current administration are simply obfuscating the fact they failed to act earlier and the current result is apparent. One day after Trump's lashing out at the WHO, its Director General publicly condemned the politicization of the virus. While the WHO operates with limited funds (less so now without US contributions halted) and has not always been perfect in its execution, it was effective at operating early to suggest potential remedies for COVID-19 and making its genetic sequence available publicly so research could begin. The WHO even offered tests before the CDC developed its own which the administration refused. – Anthony Taylor

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