The WHO in the Age of the Coronavirus

17 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2020

See all articles by José E. Alvarez

José E. Alvarez

New York University School of Law

Date Written: July 13, 2020


The responses of states and the WHO to the COVID-19 pandemic reveal the considerable weaknesses of international organizations. Although the Trump Administration has misdiagnosed the ills of the WHO, that organization has indeed failed to meet the public health threat posed by the coronavirus. The WHO’s responses to the current crisis demonstrate that it shares five disorders common to other UN system expert-driven organizations. It is hampered by its dependence on states, a singular reliance on ‘managerial’ approaches to enforcement, inflexible declarations of emergency, the absence of regularized systems for inter-regime collaboration, and common bureaucratic pathologies.

Suggested Citation

Alvarez, José Enrique, The WHO in the Age of the Coronavirus (July 13, 2020). NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 20-30, Available at SSRN: or

José Enrique Alvarez (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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