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Daily COVID-19 Updates: May 29

May 29, 2020
Trump Pulls U.S. Out of WHO; Small Manufacturers Making Big Partnerships; New Durable Goods Orders Fell in April

In a dramatic development for the near term future of world disease prevention, President Trump announced Friday that the United States would terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization. The United States is the largest member and financial contributor to the international health group, an agency of the United Nations. According to the President, the WHO bungled its initial response to the novel coronavirus under pressure from China, which allegedly pressured the WHO to downplay the threat posed by the virus.

The move comes about two weeks after May 18, when the President wrote an open letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. In the letter, President Trump threatened to pull U.S. funding for the organization unless the WHO implemented a series of reforms to “demonstrate independence from China” within 30 days. The letter did not provide any specific suggestions for reform.

In response to the letter, the WHO has defended its response to the virus, which it said came as soon as possible. The organization has also asserted its independence from China. The move is likely to seriously harm the WHO’s cash flow, as the United States contributes almost $400 million to the WHO annually. Between 2018 and 2019, the United States’ contributions to the WHO made up about 20% of the organization’s total budget.

Small Manufacturers Making Big Partnerships

The manufacturing sector was in trouble even before COVID-19. According to a report from MForesight, the industry has lost 5 million jobs over the past two decades. With COVID-19 likely to make things worse, especially for American small- and medium-sized manufacturers, adapting may be necessary for their survival.

According to Shalin R. Jyotishi  and Sheila Martin, new partnerships may be the answer. Public research universities and federal Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEP) Centers can help small and medium manufacturers adopt new technologies and solve problems. A recent survey of universities and MEPs found that more than 75% of universities help manufacturing partners transition to new technologies. Additionally, partnering with public universities provides students at those universities real-world experience in manufacturing and hands-on experience with the field. Read the full story here.

New Orders, Especially in Transport Equipment, Fell in April

In the coronavirus pandemic, some businesses are losing more than others. New orders for durable manufactured goods fell 17.2%, or $35.4 billion. That drop advances on March’s drop of 16.2%. Transportation equipment as an individual sector within the durable-goods manufacturing field saw new orders drop by almost 50% and shipments contract by 42.7% as the pandemic ravages demand for automobiles and aircraft alike. Read the full story here.

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