World Health Organization: Bad guy or fall guy?

I am only interested in the science and the facts, and that means checking original documents, e-mails, reports and statements to see if they match the claims. In this video I show which claims stack up and which have been fabricated. Sources were too long to fit into the video description, so I’ve pinned them in the comments section.

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WHO Director-General’s statement on the advice of the IHR Emergency Committee on Novel Coronavirus:

Trump tweet:
Wuhan mayor admits ‘withholding’ information about outbreak, scientists fear 100,000 have already been infected

AP report on recordings of frustration at WHO:

WHO Jan 12 statement:

“Chinese researchers reveal draft genome of virus implicated in Wuhan pneumonia outbreak”

Novel 2019 coronavirus genome:

WHO travel advice Jan 12:
“430,000 People Have Traveled From China to U.S. Since Coronavirus Surfaced”

Feb 29 WHO advice on travel:—3-march-2020
Seasonal flu R-rate:
“Modeling influenza epidemics and pandemics: insights into the future of swine flu (H1N1)” — Coburn et al.

That evidence was available to tedros at the time of his speech, so his statement was incorrect.
“Advances on presymptomatic or asymptomatic carrier transmission of COVID-19” — Gao et al. 6 March 2020

“Presumed Asymptomatic Carrier Transmission of COVID-19”
Yan Bai et al.

“Asymptomatic spread of coronavirus is ‘very rare,’ WHO says” – Jun 8 press conference by Kerkhove.

“WHO walks back comments on asymptomatic coronavirus spread, says much is still unknown” — Jun 9 press conference by Kerkhove.

“WHO official clarifies position on asymptomatic COVID-19 spread”,a%20’considerably%20lower%20rate’.

Study on asymptomatic spread:

“COVID-19: in the footsteps of Ernest Shackleton”
Ing et al., 27 May 2020

“Advice on the use of masks the community, during home care and in health care settings in the context of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak – Interim guidance”
W.H.O. 29 January 2020

Problems of Taiwan joining the WHO as a sovereign country:

Written by potholer54

The main purpose of this channel is to explain in simple terms the conclusions of scientific research, and correct some of the unsourced crap we hear from bloggers, politicians and the media. I am a former science journalist (see the "Who I am" video) with a degree in geology.Feel free to post. The only rules are :DON'T...1) ...plagiarize2) racist abuse3) ...advertise (i.e. just post links to other videos or websites without context)4) ...disable 'replies' 5) ...edit posts after they've been commented on, 5) ...spam and troll. The purpose of the fora is to promote discussion, not have people disrupt it. So...DO...instigate discussion, debate, criticize, point out errors so that I can correct them (with a time and a verbatim quote)Please note I don't have a Twitter account. The 'Potholer54' on Twitter is not me.


  1. CORRECTION: At 33:22 I said that evaluating economic and business effects was not the WHO's job. I stand corrected. In its UN mandate the WHO is obliged to consider "health measures that, on the basis of a risk assessment appropriate to the circumstances, are not more restrictive of international traffic and trade and are not more intrusive to persons than reasonably available alternatives that would achieve the appropriate level of health protection."


    Jan 9 WHO statement

    "Chinese doctor recalls first encounter with mysterious virus" Zhang Jixian describes first encounter

    Chinese researchers reveal draft genome of virus implicated in Wuhan pneumonia outbreak

    Criticism of pandemic declaration

    Taiwan govt e-mail to the WHO

    TIME explanation of what Taiwan did

    Dr. Li weibo messages

    China silences critics

    Caixin article on Li Wenliang

    White House letter to WHO:

    Congressional Research Service report:

    China didn't warn for 6 days:

    Vlog claiming Taiwan warned of human-to-human transmission:

    11 Feb WHO travel advice

    29 Feb WHO travel advice

    Yicai first report of outbreak:

    Sina picks up Yicai story:

    ProMed picks up on Sina report:

    Xinhua news report of Wuhan Municipal Health Commission press release:

    Caixin report on Li Wenliang

    "Chinese doctor recalls first encounter with mysterious virus"

    April 16 interview with Zhang

    Taiwan statement:

    Wall Street Journal criticism of WHO:

    Financial Times report:

    Taiwan CDC explanation of human-to-human transmission

    WHO statement Jan 9:

    Wuhan Municipal Health Commission "No clear evidence":

    WHO Jan 5 statement:

    Maria Van Kerkova statement reported on CNA TV:

    "W.H.O says new coronavirus could spread, warns hospitals worldwide"

    January 14: Reuters

    "Wuhan virus has limited human-to-human transmission but could spread wider: WHO"

    Straits times, Singapore, January 14th

    "World on alert for potential spread of new SARS-like virus found in China."

    Science magazine, January 14th

    "W.H.O says new coronavirus could spread, warns hospitals worldwide"

    NBC January 15th

    "W.H.O says new coronavirus could spread, issues warning to all hospitals "

    TRT World, the Turkish state broadcaster, January 14th

    "On Tuesday, Maria Van Kerkhove, acting head of the World Health Organization’s emerging diseases unit, said that the virus could have limited human-to-human transmission but spread fast." — The leaders Jan 15:

    April 13 Maria Van Kerkhove describing notes sent to health authorities:

    Jan 10 WHO notice sent to Health authorities:

    Jan 23 virus stats from:

    deaths from H1N1

    Ebola outbreak 9 countries

    CDC figures for H1N1 on April 25

    Mexico figures

    outbreak was declared a PHEIC after just over a month. 25 April 2009:

    8 August 2014, the WHO declared the epidemic an international public health emergency.

    WHO presser Jan 24:

    WHO guidelines:

    WHO declares PHEIC Jan 30:

    Feb 24 — WHO says not yet a pandemic:

    International health regulations 2005

    World Health Organisation. International Health Regulations (2005), Third Edition.


  2. Im sorry but why didnt Dr.Bruce Aylward just come straight out and say "Taiwan is a Chinese province according to the WHO and UN". Why play this stupid and silly game of "Im gonna pretend I didnt understand the question and switch to a different subject". I think this dishonesty and dodging uncomfortable questions is what really annoys people.

  3. Each new installment of @potholer54 is an oasis in a desert of opinions, an active exercise in figuring out what’s true or not, and I don’t even have to do the work myself! Well, OK, I’ll settle with ’the amount of cross check needed to get the full picture after watching any one of his videos very, very small’. And there’s the thrill of following an interesting investigation. Long live!

  4. I just wanted to say thanks for the deep dive. I have been watching you since the halcyon days of pwning flatards so I did admittedly come in with you filed as a "trusted source of intellectual honesty" but you have clarified for me things which were sensationalised at the time and then never revisited in my mind.

  5. For those saying it was just liberals who opposed Trumps travel restrictions: various conservatives opposed the restrictions. For example, the Cato Institute did; they're a libertarian think tank known for peddling denialism on climate science. Their stance could have represented a break between the libertarian wing of conservativism that seeks less government involvement, with the more ethnonationalist/protectionist wing that likes keeping foreigners out. In any event, it wasn't only liberals pointing out objections:

    "The pre-COVID-19 research is unanimous that governments cannot expect to rely on travel restrictions to prevent the spread of pandemics similar to influenza. Travel restrictions do not prevent the spread of disease and may only delay it for a few days or weeks if implemented prior to the international transmission of the disease. The Trump administration’s travel restrictions waited until after the virus had already entered the United States, and they exempted many travelers from China, not to mention the rest of the world.[30]

    The research shows that the Trump administration should have known that it needed to focus on domestic measures to stop the disease, not international ones, yet it did not.[31] Cato’s Alex Nowrasteh argues that the “travel ban created a false sense of security that delayed other more effective methods of containing COVID-19, such as instituting social distancing sooner.”[32] In 2014, the CDC has also cited the concern that travel bans could incentivize foreign governments not to report or underreport cases.[33] While its motivations remain unclear, China did in fact downplay the extent of the crisis in both the case of SARS and COVID-19—decisions that remain far more damaging than any other.[34]

    The research also shows that the international travel restrictions have virtually no effect today once the outbreak has become an epidemic here. There is no basis in the research for continuing a blanket ban on travel between countries."

  6. Hey potholer54. I know this is somewhat unrelated but I found this video:

    Apparently its conclusion was that the reason people believe the world is flat is because humans are not naturally used to an impersonal way of understanding the world. I was wondering if the same conclusion could be applied to the reason why people distrust large organizations like the WHO and why people would rather believe things that they could feel with their own senses rather than large institutions and scientist whom they would never meet?

  7. Funny how a factual approach clarifies … just about ANY subject; this, climate change, creationist non-science, hyped loops, other sh1t. @Potholer54, you de man.

  8. Thx for the informative video poth but I still gonna put eye on china.
    Cant trust a nation that treats some part of their nation like Germany treated mine in ww2

  9. While I can find no fault with the narrow field of analysis presented here (with the exception of mask science) it is self evident that Trumps attitude toward China is political and not rational and the limited scope is thus prone to be seen as a distraction from the draconian restrictions that have not only persisted for months but are actually multiplying. I on the whole give much merit to Potholer videos however there is a notable lack of analysis of the rationality of individual Governments responses, the value of their actions and the quality of their scientific evidence for these actions. In the UK the link between government ministers / scientific advisors and the pharmaceutical industry is truly shocking with Matt Hancock a major player in Babylon healthcare and Patrick Vallance (cheif scientific advisor) recently arrived from the board of GlaxoSmithKline. Given the more than £100billion of contracts the government has signed with GSK and others, the negilible death rates from covid, and the fascistic nature of impositions on our civil liberties a video on the Trump administration's spat with WHO is trivial. Far more important is how Bill Gates uses well established tax avoidance methods masquerading as philanthropy to control WHO and GAVI. Perhaps you might use your unparalleled sleuthing of facts to show just how Bill Gates uses the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, the financial arm of the BMGF, to make their private investment portfolio (which mirrors that of BMGFT) return over double their "philanthropic " donation/investment. Or perhaps you are not willing to rock that boat.

  10. It’s no wonder so much bullshit circulates on the internet about the UN, WHO and EU when you think who is against them: China, Russia and US—the greatest bullshit and manipulation artists in existence

  11. And as usual, it's worth pointing out that Donald Trump's (and his White House) tenuous relationship with the truth is that it says nothing about left vs right, progressive vs conservative etc. It's just a fact that Donald Trump tells a lot of lies – even moreso than a typical politician. When people try to deny that obvious fact, it makes me suspect that they have a broader agenda and that right and wrong, truth or lie, it's not relevant to them.