Trump directs temporary halt to funding of World Health Organization

WASHINGTON, April 15 ------ US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he has instructed his administration to at least temporarily halt funding to the World Health Organization over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump, at a White House news conference, said the WHO had "failed in its basic duty and it must be held accountable." He said the group had promoted China's "disinformation" about the virus that likely led to a wider outbreak of the virus than otherwise would have occurred. Trump issued the statement as the US coronavirus deaths rose by at least 2,228 on Tuesday, a single-day record, to top 28,300, according to a Reuters tally. The United States, with the world's third-largest population, passed a second milestone on Tuesday with over 600,000 reported cases, three times more than any other country. The previous single-day record was 2,069, set last Friday. The increase of 2,228 deaths excludes a revision by New York City to include deaths presumed to be due to the novel coronavirus but never tested dating back to March 11. New York City's health department said the death toll is now over 10,000, including the 3,700 deaths added on Tuesday. Health officials have cautioned that deaths are a "lagging indicator" and do not mean that the sweeping stay-at-home restrictions are a failure. New York state and some other hard-hit areas continue to report sharp decreases in hospitalizations and patients on ventilators. Health experts had forecast deaths would peak this week and last week but there had been hopes the worst was behind the United States when new deaths reported on Sunday and Monday were about 1,500 per day, far below last week's running tally of roughly 2,000 deaths every 24 hours, according to a Reuters tally. With schools and many businesses shuttered, the measures to slow the spread of the illness have taken a painful toll on the economy. The shutdown is costing the US economy perhaps $25 billion a day in lost output, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said. Source: