The Perfect Enemy | NYC monkeypox madness repeats ugly COVID story
August 17, 2022

NYC monkeypox madness repeats ugly COVID story

NYC monkeypox madness repeats ugly COVID story  New York Post

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New York City loves to trash science and embrace politics when it comes to public health. Just witness its insane monkeypox saga. 

Mayor Eric Adams this weekend declared monkeypox a “public-health emergency” on the heels of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s similar call.

Sounds serious! Yet in mid-July the city issued advice on monkeypox (which spreads through close physical contact, in this outbreak mostly among gay men) bizarrely saying that merely covering up lesions and avoiding kissing would suffice to slow the spread.

Don Weiss, a city Health Department veteran who’s served on the frontlines of various outbreaks, disagreed and said so publicly, arguing instead that gay men should temporarily reduce their number of sexual partners to help control infections. He was then, he alleges, punitively reassigned; the city later repudiated his ideas.

It’s the whole ugly story of COVID, all over again. 

Of course people (gay or straight) should rein in sexual activity to curb a disease spread by close physical contact. Even the World Health Organization agrees!

Don Weiss alleges he was reassigned after arguing that gay men should temporarily reduce their number of sexual partners to help control monkeypox infections.
Stephen Yang
Ashwin Vasan.
New York City health commissioner Ashwin Vasan speaks to members of the media during a press conference before the opening of a monkeypox mass vaccination site.
Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

But worries about “stigmatizing” gay men plainly moved city health czar Ashwin Vasan and his flunkeys to spurn Weiss’ sensible advice, and their guidance is so far unchanged despite the “emergency.”

The truth is stigma has nothing to do with it. As Weiss emailed colleagues, “If we had an outbreak associated with bowling, would we not warn people to stop bowling?” And fears around stigma make awful policy: Remember how public-health “experts” implied, at the pandemic’s very start, that it was racist (against Chinese people) to worry about COVID at all

The contrast between the city’s messaging on COVID and its monkeypox talk is amazing. In this “emergency,” people are free to manage their own risk of the latter disease — while schools, businesses and life in general had to be shut down for more than a year over COVID. 

It’s clear that our public-health establishment worries too much about politics, not protecting the public it supposedly serves.