WHO Chief Warns of ‘Disease X,’ Pushes for Pandemic Treaty

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
February 20, 2024Health
WHO Chief Warns of ‘Disease X,’ Pushes for Pandemic Treaty
World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a press conference on the World Health Organization's 75th anniversary in Geneva on April 6, 2023. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

The chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) again issued a warning about a so-called “Disease X” pandemic, saying it’s a “matter of when, not if.”

At the World Government Summit, held in the United Arab Emirates last week, Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus claimed to members that his prior predictions about a virus like COVID-19 came true. He again said that the international community is unprepared for another pandemic.

“Today I stand before you in the aftermath of COVID-19 with millions of people dead, with social, economic, and political shocks that reverberate to this day,” the health official said to the crowd, which included controversial World Economic Forum Chairman Klaus Schwab.

“It may be caused by an influenza virus, or a new coronavirus or a new pathogen we don’t even know about yet—what we call Disease X. And as things stand, the world remains unprepared for the next Disease X, and the next pandemic.”

He did not provide any more details about the alleged next pandemic, only saying that governments around the world are not prepared.

But he did say that COVID-19 was a “disease X,” calling it “a new pathogen causing a new disease. But there will be another Disease X, or a Disease Y or a Disease Z.” The term “disease X” was first used in 2018, he said, adding that “the same time as I spoke here at this World Governments Summit, as a placeholder for a disease we don’t even know about yet, but for which we can nonetheless prepare.”

The WHO director, who received criticism early on in the pandemic for his apparently close relationship with the Chinese Communist Party, warned that “the painful lessons we learned are in danger of being forgotten as attention turns to the many other crises confronting our world.”

In January, Mr. Tedros drew headlines when he mentioned “Disease X” at a World Economic Forum event in Davos, Switzerland. He called on governments around the world to sign a WHO-backed pandemic agreement.

“The pandemic agreement can bring all the experience, all the challenges that we have faced and all the solutions into one,” he said in Davos. “That agreement can help us to prepare for the future in a better way. This is a common global interest, and very narrow national interests should not come into the way.”


Mr. Tedros also pushed back on criticism that the WHO and some governments again want to issue vaccine mandates, lockdowns, and other restrictive measures similar to what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, he argued that nation-states sign on to the health body’s pandemic treaty to prevent future pandemics.

During the government summit in the United Arab Emirates, he criticized claims that “it’s a power grab by the World Health Organization. That it will cede sovereignty to WHO. That it will give WHO power to impose lockdowns or vaccine mandates on countries. That it’s an ‘attack on freedom.’ That WHO will not allow people to travel, and that WHO wants to control people’s lives.”

Going on, the director-general claimed that “these are some of the lies that are being spread” and added that “these claims are utterly, completely, categorically false. … Anyone who says it will is either uninformed or lying.”

‘Fatally Flawed’

Critics of the WHO’s plans, which include Alliance Defending Freedom International, say that the WHO’s legally binding treaty would cede power to the global health organization.

“We underscore that the Pandemic Agreement must not undermine existing international legal obligations concerning the protection of the human right to freedom of expression, whose restrictions, including on the grounds of public health, must always be implemented with the utmost restraint and in the least restrictive manner possible,” said the organization.

“Cognizant that there can be no free societies without freedom of expression, we must not allow ever-mounting challenges to determine the veracity of information in a globalized, tech-centric world to unduly restrict free speech.”

In 2023, The Heritage Foundation, another conservative group, described the pandemic accord as “fatally flawed” and said it doesn’t deserve U.S. support “due to its failure to address the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic,” while warning: “Should the Biden Administration sign the treaty, the Senate should withhold its advice and consent necessary for ratification.”

Further, the group warned that the draft treaty lacks “any mention of consequences if a party fails to alert the international community of an outbreak or share information in a timely manner, as was the case with China during the COVID-19 pandemic.” The virus first emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, although the Chinese Communist Party ultimately stymied international attempts to investigate its origins.

The WHO has said that the deadline to ratify the treaty is May 2024.

From The Epoch Times

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.