KEY POINTS

  • Trump sets his sights on the World Health Organization, calling the UN body a "China centric" organization
  • He announced then reveresed his plans to withdraw all U.S. funding for WHO
  • New York recorded a new horrific milestone with 727 deaths in 24 hours

On Tuesday when the United States reported 12,805 deaths due to COVID-19, president Donald Trump continued to absolve himself from any failings in the federal government's mishandled response to the pandemic. This time, Trump singled out the World Health Organization (WHO) -- which leads the global fight against the disease -- and assailed it as a "China-centric" body that failed to effectively respond to the pandemic.

"The W.H.O. really blew it," Trump tweeted. "For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?"

Trump's renewed hostility towards WHO follows an attack on the UN body by Sen. Rick Scott, R-FL, who blasted WHO over its "work for Communist China" and called for a congressional investigation.

Trump also claimed WHO's flawed response was the result of its coziness with the Communist Party of China. Because of this, Trump said he'll reassess how much the U.S. contributes to WHO. Voluntary U.S. contributions to WHO have ranged from a low of $102 million in 2014 to a high of $401 million in 2017.

Trump during the White House press coronavirus press briefing earlier on Tuesday said he'd discontinue the U.S.' contributions to the WHO.

“We‘re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO," declared Trump. "We're going to put a very powerful hold on it and we‘re going to see."

Trump walked back on this ill-advised statement a few minutes later. Instead, he said he was “looking into it.” He also admitted a global pandemic “maybe not” the best time to freeze funding for WHO.

“I mean, I‘m not saying I‘m going to do it, but we are going to look at it,” said Trump who astonishingly denied having made the comments to cut WHO funding he made a few minutes earlier.

A picture taken on March 9, 2020 shows the sign of the World Health Organization (WHO) at the WHO headquarters in Geneva A picture taken on March 9, 2020 shows the sign of the World Health Organization (WHO) at the WHO headquarters in Geneva Photo: AFP / Fabrice COFFRINI

Trump, however, can't blame WHO for the awful casualty count being inflicted by the coronavirus on Americans. The U.S. toll stood at 395,739 confirmed cases and 12,805 deaths as of 00:21 GMT on Wednesday, according to Worldometer. This compares to Monday's 367,004 cases and 10,871 deaths.

There is, however, evidence China did try to cover-up the existence and spread of the coronavirus. China also silenced whistleblowers (mostly Chinese doctors in Wuhan) that discovered the new disease and misled WHO about the disease's spread. One study concluded that if the Chinese government had acted more quickly, COVID-19’s global spread might have been greatly curtailed.

New York City, whose 72,324 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday morning is the seventh highest in the world, recorded a new horrific milestone with 727 deaths in 24 hours, its largest single-day death toll.

The Big Apple remains the hardest hit city in the U.S. as deaths go, and its peak daily death numbers are expected to occur next week. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) revealed the city is mouring 3,202 deaths as of 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, an unprecedented jump of 727 fatalities from 24 hours earlier. On Monday morning, DOHMH reported the casualty toll at 67,820 cases and 2,475 deaths.

The city accounted for 52% of New York State's total confirmed cases (138,863) and 58% of the state's total deaths (5,489), based on Worldometer data. If New York State were a country, it would be the second most coronavirus infected country in the world after the United States (367,004 cases), and ahead of Spain (136,675 cases) and Italy (132,547 cases).

“Each passing day brings more tragedy and this is one of the hardest yet," said Mayor de Blasio in a statement. "My heart goes out to everyone who has lost someone during this ongoing battle. Please hear me when I say: I will give my all fighting for every New Yorker until our city is through this.”

Tuesday’s historic death toll means the number of people in New York City falling victim to COVID-19 now surpasses the 2,977 killed at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and four hijacked planes on September 11, 2001.

Bodies are moved to a refrigeration truck serving as a temporary morgue in New York, the main focus of the US outbreak, with more than 4,750 deaths Bodies are moved to a refrigeration truck serving as a temporary morgue in New York, the main focus of the US outbreak, with more than 4,750 deaths Photo: AFP / Bryan R. Smith

New York State's terrible casualty count has allowed the development of a more accurate profile about the disease's victims. Among the findings according to Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) data:

  • The majority of New York’s COVID-19 deaths are men, especially elderly men.
  • Of the 4,758 deaths since the first one was recorded on March 14, 61% are men and 39% are women
  • 86% of all deaths are among people with underlying illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes.
  • 4,089 of those that died had at least one other chronic disease.
  • The leading underlying illness was hypertension, which occurred in 55% of the deaths. Diabetes was involved in 1,755 deaths, or 37% of the cases.
  • 63% of deaths were among those 70 years-old and older
  • Only 7% of the cases involved persons 49 years-old and younger.
  • Illnesses that also contributed the most to the deaths were hyperlipidemia, coronary artery disease, renal disease and dementia.