Monkeypox Here To Stay

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A recent POLITICO headline reads Monkeypox may be here to stay, and writes “the disease has gained a foothold among men who have sex with men, and experts warn that time is running out to stop the virus from spreading in the U.S. population more broadly”.

Quoting federal public health experts, the POLITICO writes that many factors were responsible for the the White House’s slow/inadequate response to the emerging virus to gain foothold in some population. Some of those include:

  • Clunky early testing protocols,
  • Slow vaccine distribution,
  • A lack of federal funding to help state and local governments respond to the outbreak, and
  • Patchy communication with communities most affected by the virus

POLITICO writes “epidemiologists, public health officials and doctors now fear the government cannot eliminate the disease in that community, and they’re warning that they are running out of time to stop the virus from spreading in the U.S. population more broadly”.

Sara Sawyer, a professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder who studies the spread of animal viruses to humans, told POLITICO “We now have so many infections in so many corners of the Earth that it will be very difficult to chase this down with vaccination campaigns. Not only do we not have enough vaccines, but if even some people go undetected or don’t have symptoms, they’re going to continue to spread it.”

Demetre Daskalakis, deputy coordinator of the White House’s monkeypox response effort, reportedly told POLITICO “We’re definitely in the boat of trying to control this outbreak. The outbreak has been full of twists and turns that have forced federal health officials to continually pivot. I’m pretty confident that we’re on the right track.”

Jay Varma, director of the Cornell Center for Pandemic Prevention and Response, told POLITICO “We just don’t have the kind of public health and health care infrastructure to eliminate this. If we can’t eliminate syphilis, which is a disease that is readily treatable with a shot of penicillin, I find it very hard to believe that we’ll be able to control monkeypox.”

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, reportedly said “This thing was out of the barn long before the barn was even built.”

Anne Rimoin, a UCLA epidemiology professor who wrote a paper in 2010 laying out the scenario, told POLITICO “People are always searching for some new answer as to why this is a problem, but the problem is because we’re just not well-resourced to be able to adequately get in front of these viruses and stay in front of them, and we’ll continue to make that mistake. This was something that needed attention back in 2010.”