Monkeypox Disinfo Is Just Like Covid Disinfo—Plus Homophobia
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/20 ... omophobia/
But earlier this week, Berenson took aim at a new target: the growing global outbreak of the monkeypox virus. In a post titled “Is It Monkeypox or Crystalpox?” Berenson writes that public health authorities have “almost got another epidemic on the go—the perfect way to distract the shiny-haired robots in the media from the complete failure of the mRNA vaccines.” He then goes on to argue that monkeypox is strictly a disease of gay men. “Are you a gay man who likes sex with lots of other gay men?” he wrote. “Maybe in a bathhouse? Maybe names optional? Maybe with a meth bump on the side? No? Are you sure?… Okay. Don’t worry about the monkeypox thing then.”
Let’s dispense with a few facts for some context: The monkeypox outbreak isn’t even a month old; the World Health Organization reported the first cases on May 13. The total count now exceeds 250 across 16 countries. The disease, which causes flu-like symptoms and painful lesions and is fatal in about 3-6 percent of cases, is endemic in parts of Africa, where outbreaks can often be traced back to contact with animals. Though monkeypox can be transmitted between humans, it isn’t nearly as transmissible as Covid—it usually requires close contact to spread, says Derek Walsh, a microbiology and immunology professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Walsh, whose lab studies poxviruses, a class of illnesses that includes both monkeypox and its deadlier cousin, smallpox, emphasized in an email that although many of the cases in the current outbreak happen to be among men in the LGBTQ community, “There is no reason to believe now it has mutated to only spread sexually amongst men who have sex with men.”
Contrary to what Berenson claimed, Walsh said, the fact that thus far the disease has spread in this particular population is likely a coincidence. The initial patients probably “passed it on simply due to the close contact of sex, not necessarily sex itself and sex alone, before we became aware of the outbreak.” Indeed, a top adviser to the World Health Organization told the Associated Press earlier this week that he believed the outbreak was a “random event” that happened to spread at two raves in Spain and Belgium.
The rumors that monkeypox is a disease of gay men are a visceral reminder to public health experts of the terrifying early days of the HIV epidemic in the mid-80s. Gonsalves warned of this dynamic in a tweet thread on monkeypox earlier this week. “There are always people ready to use disease to stigmatize and scapegoat,” he wrote. The United Nations issued a similar warning this week saying that “lessons from the AIDS response show that stigma and blame directed at certain groups of people can rapidly undermine outbreak response.”
On May 20, Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior who was fired from his post at the University of California-Irvine for refusing to get vaccinated against Covid, suggested in a Twitter thread to his 157,000 followers that the monkeypox virus had been intentionally released by powerful global public health authorities in order to enrich the pharmaceutical companies who make vaccines and treatments. As evidence for this theory, he cited a simulation exercise conducted last year, in which epidemiologists practiced planning a pandemic response using a hypothetical monkeypox outbreak as an example. This particular conspiracy theory has been repeated widely, including by Robert F. Kennedy’s antivaccine group Children’s Health Defense and the Covid-minimizing think tank the Brownstone Institute.
So, on the one hand, unlike COVID (& other coronaviruses), monkeypox is not a respiratory virus (for human to human transmission), you can't get it from people just coughing and sneezing on you. The transmission rate (R0) is MUCH lower.
It is spread by close physical contact, from sores on the body. It's like smallpox that way. Close contact can include various forms of sexual intercourse. But to be clear, it is neither spread only by gay sex, nor any other kind. That said, you also can't get it from somebody sitting at a table that's 5 feet away from you, either.
Actual facts on monkeypox transmission:
https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/ ... ssion.html
New York currently has 7 cases. In the entire state. I believe there are under 250 cases in the entire U.S. at this point.
https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/ ... index.html
There IS a vaccine. You CAN'T necessarily assume a childhood smallpox vaccine will protect you - or the Shingles vaccine. This is not yet really either a full blown epidemic or pandemic, so CDC isn't recommending widespread vaccination -- yet.
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