The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency “of international concern”. As the Covid pandemic rages on, news of another worldwide virus will be absolutely terrifying.
While cases have hit countries such as Spain and Britain for the first time, parts of Central and West Africa have been plagued by the disease for years. Over 3,000 cases have been confirmed in these regions this year alone. The WHO had promised more than 31 million smallpox-vaccine doses.
But these have never been distributed to Africa to use against the virus. Meanwhile in the West bigots are using the latest outbreak to stigmatise gay men—disgustingly pronouncing the virus as a “gay disease”.
This foul homophobia has to be challenged. Research is presently showing that gay and bisexual men have disproportionately contracted the disease. But the answer is not to point the finger at individuals’ lifestyles, as it’s clear the disease does not affect gay men alone.
Instead of drumming up bigotry, protecting and vaccinating all those who are most at risk of contracting the disease as soon as possible is essential.
All of this must be fought for. Ordinary people must demand that the state puts in place the measures needed to stop the dangerous spread of monkeypox.