World Health Organization Approval Rating Tanks by 29 Points in Less Than a Month: Poll

The World Health Organization's (WHO) net approval rating has plunged by 29 points since the start of April amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a new poll has found.

Morning Consult pollsters revealed on Tuesday that the global health group's net approval rating slumped from 54 percent at the start of April to 25 percent at the end of last week.

According to the new poll conducted between April 17 and April 19, 55 percent of registered U.S. voters either "strongly" or "somewhat" approved of the WHO's handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Thirty percent disapproved while a further 14 percent had no opinion.

When the same poll was conducted between April 3 and April 5, 71 percent of voters said they approved of the WHO's work and just 17 percent disapproved of its actions.

Morning Consult reported that the WHO's approval rating was hit by a huge shift in Republican opinion on its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

World Health Organization HQ in Geneva
The World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

In the earlier April poll, 67 percent of GOP voters said they approved of the WHO's work on tackling coronavirus while only 21 percent disapproved—giving the organization a 46 percent net approval rating among the demographic.

But in the latest poll that rating flopped by 56 points to a net disapproval rating of 10 percent. Pollsters said it was the first time Republican voters had given the group a net disapproval rating in its tracker surveys.

The WHO's approval rating also slumped by 19 points among Independent voters, while remaining steady with Democrats—who gave the health body a 62 percent net positive score.

The World Health Organization's falling approval rating has come as its actions faced international scrutiny and severe criticism from President Donald Trump in his coronavirus briefings.

At one briefing on Tuesday last week, the commander-in-chief announced that the U.S. would be freezing payments to the WHO while the administration conducted a review of its response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

He told reporters that the WHO would have to "be held accountable" if it had not "independently" told the truth about the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"The U.S. government has put a hold on funding to the WHO pending a review of the organization's cover-up and mismanagement of the coronavirus outbreak," President Trump said at a later briefing.

"Over the objections of the WHO, we took decisive action and early lifesaving action to suspend travel from China. They didn't want to do it. They were angry that we did it. Took them a long time to realize what was going on, but I have a feeling they know exactly what was going on."

The president has taken particular issue with the WHO's decisions to relay information supplied by Chinese authorities—most notably tweeting in January that the disease was not transferred from human to human.

According to the latest Morning Consult poll, a larger share of voters now blame China and the WHO for the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S.

A total of 1,995 voters were surveyed for the latest poll, which has a 2 percentage point margin of error.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.