The U.S. decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization in the midst of a pandemic is "disappointing" and "inexplicable," said the World Health Organization's special envoy for the coronavirus.
"We've now got the biggest communicable disease challenge that I've ever known, and we really need every single nation working together on it, including the U.S.," Dr. David Nabarro told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Monday.
For years, the WHO has benefited from the support and leadership of the U.S., which has helped the world handle massive challenges, according to Nabarro, one of the six special envoys on Covid-19 for the WHO Director-General.
If Washington were to step away from its commitments to the WHO, it would be a "really strange thing to do right in the middle of fighting the pandemic," Nabarro said.
"It's as though you're in the middle of fighting a forest fire and suddenly 15% of the fire trucks are taken away just at the time when you need them the most," he added. The U.S. is the single largest donor to the health agency and contributed above $400 million in 2019, or about 15% of the WHO's annual budget.
The departure of the world's largest economy from the intergovernmental organization means it would be up to the remaining 193 countries that still support the WHO to "work out how to plug the gap," Nabarro said.
He hopes that the American people will be able to persuade Trump to rethink the decision, given Washington's participation in response efforts in previous outbreaks such as Ebola, polio, HIV and smallpox.
On Saturday, the European Union issued a statement urging the U.S. to reconsider its decision to leave the WHO, Reuters reported.
Nabarro said the world was still at the beginning of a pandemic, and many countries are starting to experience immense challenges.
That calls for all the countries in the world to work together "absolutely in unity" to help people overcome it — "otherwise the consequences could be far worse," he said.
"The one thing the general public wants is united efforts by everyone — bringing together the best scientists, the best leaders to work on this issue together," he noted.
A majority of nations are supporting global efforts and backing the WHO because they know that united action is key, he said.
"Of course, there will be questions about why on earth we have this terrible pandemic — they should be asked and they should be dealt with — but later, when we've got on top of it," Nabarro said.
Detailed examinations, or after action reviews are expected following outbreaks, he noted. "But we really do ask all of those who are concerned about world health not to do a forensic examination right now, not to withdraw support right now."
Since the WHO's declaration of the coronavirus outbreak as a global pandemic in March, Covid-19 has infected more than 6.1 million people and killed more than 370,000 across at least 180 countries and territories, according to Johns Hopkins University's latest data.