Introduction to the U.S. National Statement at a UN General Assembly Special Session on COVID-19

Ambassador Richard Mills
Deputy Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
December 3, 2020


Mr. Vice President, it is my honor to introduce the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, who will shortly deliver the U.S. national statement.

Secretary Azar oversees the U.S. effort to develop safe, reliable, and effective COVID-19 vaccines, and his remarks to this special session come at a pivotal moment in the global fight against the pandemic. It was the leadership of Secretary Azar, and others in the U.S. government, that propelled vaccine development through our “Operation Warp Speed,” which has cut the development time for vaccines.

One of the most critical challenges before us all in confronting COVID-19 is a lack of transparency. It was a lack of transparency that prolonged the pandemic and compounded its death and misery. For almost exactly one year, we have been calling for full transparency and cooperation with the international scientific community.

For a year, we have waited for the World Health Organization to act as all its members intended: with transparency. And for a year, we have all suffered loss, heartbreak, and hardship, when honesty, transparency, and cooperation could have sped relief.

The United States has led in good faith and complete transparency. And now we will hear clearly from Secretary Azar, the outcome from this very distinct approach to the crisis.

Mr. Vice President, distinguished delegates, I present U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar.