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President Trump blames pandemic response on WHO as US death toll approaches 15,000

iStock/MicroStockHub (NEW YORK) — President Donald Trump remains adamant that the World Health Organization is at fault for the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The president also threatened to withhold U.S. funding for the organization.

The U.S. contributes the most to the WHO.

However, ABC News reports that newly-surfaced documents claim the White House was made aware of the brewing pandemic as early as November.  The warning predicted the virus could kill half a million Americans and decimate the U.S. economy by costing it trillions.

President Trump says he doesn’t remember the warning, and says he was only briefed “about the gravity” of the pandemic until February 2, “just prior to closing the country to China.”

“I didn’t see the [November] memo but I acted as quickly as — people were shocked that I acted so quickly,” The president said, referencing the fact he restricted travel from China on January 31.

President Trump then cautioned of “terrible days ahead” but promised that “soon well be over the curve.”   He added that once the country is on the “downside of that slope” he wants the U.S. to reopen “with a big bang” — which he says will be “soon.”

Currently, the country has over 424,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 23,496 recoveries and a death toll of 14,687.  

Worldwide, there are over 1.5 million cases and a worldwide death toll fast approaching 90,000.  Of those cases, however, 328,496 have recovered.

Italy continues to have the highest death toll, with over 17,600 fatalities.

Despite the growing numbers, President Trump said it is important for Americans to celebrate the holidays over the weekend: Passover and Easter.

In addition, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo provided an update on repatriation efforts, saying the U.S. has flown in over 50,000 citizens from across the globe, resulting in over 490 flights between the U.S. and 90 countries.  

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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