In this report for The Associated Press last December 22, 2020, Nicole Winfield covers the story of Dr. Francesco Zambon, a UN epidemiologist who authored the now-withdrawn report entitled, “An Unpredented Challenge: Italy’s First Response to COVID-19”. According to Zambon, chief author and World Health Organization (WHO)’s chief field coordinator for Italy and its regions during the height of the pandemic, the report was aimed at helping other countries deal with the outbreak and to prevent the same initial reaction that Italy had, which was “improvised, chaotic, and creative”. Zambon said he was pressured to “fudge the fact that Italy hadn’t updated its pandemic preparedness plan since 2006”.
WHO says that that report had “factual inaccuracies” but Zambon maintains that the only inaccuracy in the report was an out-of-date timeline of the virus which was removed immediately. These days, Zambon says that he is suffering retaliation for speaking out about the pulled report.
Editor’s Note: This is not the first time that the WHO has done this [see WHO deletes info on natural immunity on its website]. Contrary to belief, WHO is not a “clean” organization, it is not spared from office politics, and that sometimes, vested interest can prevail over public health. Was the error in Zambon’s work so great that it needed to be pulled from publication? What was the factual error it contained? Why wasn’t it revised and republished?
Information on best practices, particularly in situations of crisis, is important because it helps other countries and organizations respond more effectively. Panic could have been avoided and governments could have learned early on what works and what did not work if a comprehensive review of the Italian experience was available to the world. Even today, one year since the first lockdowns were implemented, we still have no idea why Italy registered the number of deaths it did at the height of the pandemic. We still don’t know why the United States and the United Kingdom had so many deaths, while countries in Asia registered much lower numbers. Until today, governments are still in a state of panic, unable to verify what they are doing wrong. This is the effect of WHO wanting to take leadership over a public health issue, but failing to provide appropriate guidance to get countries out of the panic. Why then is Big Tech allocating so much “trust” on WHO guidelines, if these are not immune to manipulation and personal agenda?
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