President Donald Trump's announcement this July of a U.S. withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO) set into motion a process that will have a dramatic impact on the future of global public health policy – and on the fortunes of one of the world's richest people.
The US abandonment of the WHO means that the organization's second-largest financial contributor, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is soon to become its top donor, giving the non-governmental international empire unparalleled influence over one the world's most important multilateral organizations.
Bill Gates has achieved a hero-like status during the pandemic. The Washington Post has called him a "champion of science-backed solutions," while the New York Times recently hailed him as "the most interesting man in the world." Gates is also the star of a hit Netflix docu-series, "Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak," which was released just weeks before coronavirus hit the U.S., and was produced by a New York Times correspondent, Sheri Fink, who previously worked at three Gates-funded organizations (Pro Publica, the New America Foundation, and the International Medical Corps).