So this happened today:
The global monkeypox outbreak has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) – the strongest call to action the agency can make.
And yes yes yes we're all having the same feeling right about now:
And you know what? That's the right response! Because—and I'm not trying to be cruel or flippant here, but this cannot be stressed enough—the monkeypox outbreak is a very, very, very localized "public health emergency," one that overwhelmingly affects only a very narrow segment of the population:
All the cases were among men, including one transgender man, 98% of whom identified as gay or bisexual. This stark demographic finding is in keeping with data on the outbreak from around the world, such as a recent report from the British Health Security Agency finding that of the 699 monkeypox cases for which there was available information, 97% were in gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men.
In the new global study, the men had a median age of 38 and ranged between 18 and 68 years old. Three quarters are white, and 41% have HIV.
Accordingly, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has characterized the risk of monkeypox to the general public, in particular those not engaging in sex with multiple partners, as "very low."
Look, this isn't meant to be some sort of dig at gay men. I mean, yes, plainly many of them are engaging in, at the very least, extremely risky behavior, stuff that's just tailor-made for spreading communicable diseases. I mean, 41% of them in the study had HIV and were sexually active!
But we don't have to re-litigate the morals of sexuality and chastity to make this point. We can just note that monkeypox seems to be an extraordinarily low-risk virus for anyone who's not a sexually active gay man, in particular those "engaging in sex with multiple partners." Let's hope that particular demographic wises up and stops living such a dangerous lifestyle.
If you don't fall into this very small category of the population, meanwhile, you pretty much don't have to worry about this virus, at all.
So don't let the World Health Organization freak you out about it!
P.S. Now check out our latest video: "Highlights from Biden's speech last night" 👇