On July 23, with more than 16,000 reported cases (and five deaths, all in Africa) in 75 countries and territories, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, its highest alert for a disease, raising the status of the outbreak to a global health emergency — even though the WHO’s advisory panel opposed the declaration nine-to-six.
The last time the WHO declared a public health emergency of international concern was in February 2020 for Covid, so people naturally drew parallels.
This is especially true for young people, many of whom now claim they are more scared of monkeypox than Covid.
“I had finally gotten to the point with Covid where I was starting to relax,” Lisa, a 30-year-old mother from Chicago, told Slate.
“But when I heard about monkeypox, it was like a huge pit in my stomach.Meanwhile, three US states, including California, have declared states of emergency over the monkeypox outbreak, just as they did for Covid-19, potentially allowing them to enact mask mandates, lockdown orders, and other restrictions.
And two weeks ago, a south London school sent reception classes home until the end of term after a child came into contact with a monkeypox case, sparking fears of an outbreak.It is simply baffling that anyone would willing to go down this road again — shutting down schools; denying children physical contact — with everything that we now know about the devastating effects of such measures on children’s mental and physical well-being throughout the Covid pandemic.
Today, we are seeing the first stirrings of yet another bout of mass hysteria, with politicians, the media and public health officials (including the WHO) all repeating the same mistakes they made with Covid-19: spreading misinformation about the nature of the disease, and sowing unnecessary panic and fear among those who risk little or nothing from it, while denying those who actually are at risk the kind of targeted messaging and protection they deserve.With Covid, it was known right from the start that the disease was highly selective — the overwhelming majority of people, especially children, never faced any significant risk of getting seriously ill or dying from it.
And yet public health officials systematically framed Covid as a lethal, indiscriminate threat to all human beings.
The consequences were devastating: on the one hand, it stoked terror and panic in the population; on the other, it abandoned those who truly needed protection from the virus — first and foremost care home residents, who make up a staggering 40% of all Covid deaths in Western countries.
We are starting to see this with several children already infected.” More recently, Rosamund Lewis, the WHO’s technical lead on monkeypox — in yet another claim that received much social media attention — went on to say that children in particular “are at higher risk of severe disease”, and that “every child that contracts a monkeypox virus infection will develop severe disease”.It is highly misleading — and all the worse for coming from the world’s leading public health organisations.
While it is technically true that anyone can catch monkeypox — most people can catch most diseases — the reality is that, according to the WHO data, 97.5% of cases are among gay or bisexual men, almost all of whom (91.5%) have contracted the disease through a sexual encounter.As the WHO writes: “the ongoing outbreak of monkeypox continues to primarily affect men who have sex with men (MSM) who have reported recent sex with one or multiple partners.
At present there is no signal suggesting sustained transmission beyond these networks.” So far, there has been a relatively small number of cases outside of this group: health officials have reported around 100 monkeypox cases among women worldwide — about 1% of the global total — while cases among children are even rarer.These facts are confirmed by the UK Health Security Agency, in the most comprehensive study to date on the 2022 monkeypox outbreak, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NJEM), and by a British Medical Journal (BMJ) study based on 197 cases in British men.Despite this, health authorities and media outlets have been wary of labelling monkeypox a sexually transmitted disease (STD), in part because researchers weren’t sure whether the disease is transmitted through semen or vaginal fluids.Fortunately, the data also shows that those most at risk of contracting monkeypox — adult men — tend to present non-life-threatening (though certainly painful and distressing) symptoms.
And while it is true that previous monkeypox outbreaks have proven to be especially dangerous for children and pregnant women, the strain involved in the current outbreak seems to be less of a threat to these groups: the first two paediatric cases in the US reported by the CDC are said to have been relatively mild — with more or less the same symptoms as for adults — while the infant recently born to the first monkeypox-positive mother in the US also seems to be doing well so far.
A responsible public health approach would make sure high-risk people — gay men — were made aware of the risks and offered sensible recommendations (such as practising safe sex) and access to vaccines, while reassuring everyone else that there’s no reason to panic, at least based on current data.One can be sympathetic with the reasoning behind such claims, but still believe it is unacceptable for public health bodies to bow down to such logic.
The public deserves to know the truth about the health risks posed by diseases.
Placing politics and ideology above the truth — and, even more shamefully, in the name of “The Science” — has already caused massive damage throughout the Covid pandemic, and to those most at risk from the virus.As Owen Jones has claimed, it’s not stating that it’s gay men who are overwhelmingly at risk from monkeypox that puts gay men at risk, but rather denying this fact: “the problem with the HIV/Aids response wasn’t that it was targeted, it’s that it was stigmatised.As for the homophobic discourse on social media related to monkeypox, this is arguably also a consequence of the authorities’ attempts to downplay who is most at risk.
The Covid pandemic has sown massive distrust in public health authorities, and millions of people who refused to take the vaccine are still angry at misleadingly being accused of being reckless spreaders. Seeing those same authorities today go out of their way to avoid highlighting that a specific minority group is — for real in this case — much more likely to catch and transmit the virus is unlikely to make them positively disposed towards the latter, especially if this denialism contributes to the virus’s spread.If we want to get out of this mess, and avoid a repeat of the past two years, there’s only one way forward: putting the truth back at the centre of public health.
Monkeypox hysteria, just like the Covid hysteria that came before it, won’t save lives.In May 2021, an “independent” panel recommended that the WHO member states should “strengthen the authority and independence of the WHO Director General” and “empower the WHO to take a leading, convening, and co-ordinating role in operational aspects of an emergency response to a pandemic” and that that “future declarations of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the WHO Director General should be based on the precautionary principle.”.
If that happens, Tedros will – depending on exactly how the agreement is drafted – potentially have the power, if he sees fit to use it, *legally* to require all of the governments of the world to coerce their citizens in to staying at home, masking, taking pharmaceuticals – and perhaps, more – all on the basis of HIS OWN unilateral declaration of a “public health emergency of international concern” – just like the one that this wicked man has declared over monkeypox.I can see the public health messaging now: “No orgies or gay sex with strangers for 2 weeks to slow the spread.” (Yeah, right. The intersectionally privileged may never be inconvenienced in the slightest… they’re victims… always.).The account of Lisa the 30-year old, Slate.com reading, mother from Chicago is so sad: “I had finally gotten to the point with Covid where I was starting to relax, but when I heard about monkeypox, it was like a huge pit in my stomach.
After all, if experts could be so wrong on the most important public health issue of our day… what else could they be wrong on?
Even if, like Lisa, they insist they fear it; they fear the truth more.
Let’s reserve every last ounce of the energy we have for tirelessly, fearlessly, relentlessly calling out those in power who continue to bend, manipulate, and bury the truth, and extend our love and compassion to those innocents, like Lisa, who have sadly succumbed to their propaganda.Anybody that gets any portion of their news and information from cretinous lefty cesspools like Slate.com deserves whatever happens to them.It doesn’t help when people like “Lisa, a 30-year-old mother from Chicago” gets her information from Twitter – and guess what, she found total nonsense there, and appears to believe it.I read gazillions of Lisa like comments in the Covid New York Times page.
Fazi: The hysteria is profitable to a number of less-than-benevolent actors: MSM(sensationalism boosts ratings), WEF(perpetual fear is crucial to building the Great Reset), Big Tech(Metaverse as well as social media addicitions caused by poor mental health), Big Pharma(endless vaccines & pills sold to reluctantly loyal customers), and of course unscrupulous mad scientists such as Fauci, Walensky, Ferguson & Michie who use this opportunity to gain public attention and tax money to advance their own agenda, and of course authoritarian types i.e.
those who like to shove their views down others’ throats and control others’ lives e.g.“As Owen Jones has claimed, it’s not stating that it’s gay men who are overwhelmingly at risk from monkeypox that puts gay men at risk, but rather denying this fact: “the problem with the HIV/Aids response wasn’t that it was targeted, it’s that it was stigmatised.
Just like radical feminists denying that they are victims of the “gender” garbage they invented, Jones wants to reform the hysterical exaggeration of bigotry he has been promoting in the Guardian for decades.
I had a great time at it like a rabbit in my 20s, 30s and early 40s.
This meant that I always johnnied up or made sure the guy in the driver’s seat did (rarer than you might think – not everyone’s into full penetrative sex) and regularly tested for relatively innocuous and widespread STDs like chlamydia, telling partners on rare occasions I had it and satisfying myself with onanism until the medication had taken its course and it was safe to saddle up again.
I hate to agree with anything Owen Jones has to say (he’s definitely some hung leather daddy’s bottom b***h) but he’s right – we need to be clear about which segment of the population is at heightened risk and ensure they have access to all available medications and modify their behaviour until the coast is clear, not panic the vast majority of people, and let them get on with their lives.Not only is the hysteria similar to the response to Covid, it bears a close resemblance to the politically-correct errors during the AIDS crisis.“Today, we are seeing the first stirrings of yet another bout of mass hysteria, with politicians, the media and public health officials (including the WHO) all repeating the same mistakes they made with Covid-19.”.“Despite this, health authorities and media outlets have been wary of labelling monkeypox a sexually transmitted disease (STD), in part because researchers weren’t sure whether the disease is transmitted through semen or vaginal fluids.”?The media won’t tell the truth about monkeypox because that doesn’t suit their agenda.I’m currently in The Netherlands where the government fined and locked people away for breaking 9 o’clock curfew during COVID because it ‘saved lives’I am not that up on the details, but one fairly obvious suggestion (as per this article) would be that monkeypox spreads (mainly?) through skin-to-skin contact or sex, whereas COVID spreads through the air, by inhaling other people’s breath
Since it is much easier to avoid skin-to-skin contact than to avoid breathing the same air as other people, monkeypox would seem to be a much more containable threat – and much easier for individuals to protect themselves fromFor once it sounds like Fazi has a point: Monkeypox seems to be a lot less threatening that COVID was, so the reactions to it are overblown
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