As comparisons are made to the early days of the AIDS epidemic, San Francisco Mayor London Breed last week announced a state of emergency in the city due to the spread of monkeypox. The state of emergency takes effect Monday.
“San Francisco showed during COVID that early action is essential for protecting public health,” Breed said in a news release on her website.
“We know that this virus impacts everyone equally — but we also know that those in our LGBTQ community are at greater risk right now. Many people in our LGBTQ community are scared and frustrated. This local emergency will allow us to continue to support our most at-risk, while also better preparing for what’s to come.”
Once monkeypox is detectable in the wastewater, it’s game over for eradication; the sewers are swarming with rats. It will become endemic. We will need to resume universal vaccination against smallpox/monkeypox.
Monkeypox has been found in the wastewater in San Francisco.
— Denise Dewald, MD 🗽 (@denise_dewald) July 27, 2022
The release said the San Francisco Department of Public Health has confirmed 261 cases of monkeypox in the city out of 799 in California.
As of Friday, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there are 5,189 cases of monkeypox in the U.S.
“San Francisco is an epicenter for the country. Thirty percent of all cases in California are in San Francisco,” San Francisco Public Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip said. “We have always been on the forefront of advocacy and action for LGBTQ+ health and I’m issuing this declaration to reaffirm our commitment to the wellbeing of these communities and to allow us to move more quickly to obtain and distribute the resources needed to help those disproportionately impacted.”
Monkeypox began to spread in Europe in the spring at events involving the gay community. It has been spreading in America throughout the summer, most notably within the LGBTQ community. Breed said that has been a factor in too little being done to respond.
“If there were any other community that was disproportionately impacted by monkeypox the way the gay community has been impacted, this whole country would be up in arms,” Breed said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“By sounding the alarm, what we’re saying is this is not going to be ignored. That this is a public health crisis,” Breed said, according to KABC-TV.
Monkeypox is becoming a problem appearing out of thin air, but after what?
AFTER the vaccination…
Why aren’t we looking at why it is most prevalent in the MASS vaccinated LGBT community and MASS vaccinated cities such as New York and San Francisco?
— Samantha Marika (@samanthamarika1) July 28, 2022
Not everyone is happy with the speed of the federal response. Among the critics is Democratic state Sen. Scott Weiner, who is gay, according to the Associated Press. Weiner likened the response to the beginning of the response to AIDS.
“I feel like this is like deja vu — that once again, gay men are getting attacked and demonized and blamed as we get sick, and that we can never tolerate that,” he said.
“This is an infuriating moment for our community that is being caused harm by the lack of urgency in this moment of crisis,” Tyler TerMeer said of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, according to KABC.
The San Francisco Aids Foundation (@SFAIDSFound) has released a guide to having sex ahead of the #DoreAlley gay sex festival. The guide says if you have bumps on your skin & don’t know what they are, to cover them up & go have sex anyway. #Monkeypox https://t.co/fMlOaeMdC2 pic.twitter.com/8DXT6KS1SW
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) July 30, 2022
Although strictly speaking, monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, the disease that is related to smallpox is spread by skin contact. San Francisco public health officials suggest avoiding skin-to-skin contact as well as sharing bedding with strangers during efforts to curb monkeypox.
The disease is usually not fatal but causes those with it to suffer lesions on the skin.
“We need to be prepared, and this declaration will allow us to serve the city better,” San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax said in a news release. “Our COVID-19 response has taught us that it is imperative that we mobilize city resources. The declaration helps us ensure we have all the tools available to augment our outreach, testing and treatment, especially to the LGBTQ+ who remain at highest risk for monkeypox.”