I hope your life is returning to a semblance of normal.
Fears of COVID-19 are subsiding, although the disease is not gone. But officialdom may be poised to impose a new round of masking and lockdowns to fight off an emerging threat: monkeypox. Maybe if we shut down the economy sooner, it would work better.
So far there are only a few hundred cases, but we have learned about the horrors of an exponential increase, if cases start doubling every few days or weeks as they did with COVID-19.
There was a March 2021 tabletop simulation of a hypothetical deadly outbreak of monkeypox predicted to occur in May 2022. Could some sinister forces be preparing to release the monkeypox virus or a genetically modified variant as a bioweapon? Should we rush to get a vaccine as quickly as possible?
Here are some facts about monkeypox:
· It is not new. It has long been endemic in Africa. Because it has an animal reservoir, including prairie dogs and some other rodents, it will never be eradicated.
· It is caused by a pox virus, related to the smallpox virus.
· The pox virus is a DNA virus. Unlike RNA viruses, DNA viruses mutate very slowly.
· Monkeypox is similar to smallpox but far less lethal and less contagious.
· There is some cross immunity between monkeypox, other pox viruses, and smallpox. People who have had smallpox vaccine likely have some protection.
· Because of this threat, the U.S. has maintained stockpiles of vaccine. And vaccine makers are gearing up to profit. The U.S. government has already placed a $119 million order to convert existing smallpox vaccine into a freeze-dried version.
Routine smallpox vaccination was discontinued in the U.S. in 1971, and it is only available now for persons at high risk because of serious adverse effects including myocarditis.
There is no evidence of asymptomatic transmission of monkeypox, and all current cases in the West appear to be in men having sex with men, writes Dr. Robert Malone, who warns against “FearPorn.”
Promiscuous sex or sex with strangers places people at high risk for any disease that can be transmitted by physical contact: syphilis, HIV, hepatitis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, etc., not just monkeypox.
The systemic symptoms of monkeypox (swollen lymph nodes, myalgia, asthenia, back pain, and headache) are also listed adverse effects of COVID-19 vaccines. An image of a rash attributed to monkeypox appears to be a photograph of a shingles rash. (Incidentally, shingles outbreaks have been reported after COVID vaccination.)
Monkeypox should be easily controlled by classic public health measures of isolating symptomatic individuals and temporary quarantine of those with close physical contact with an infected person, writes Dr. Malone. Good hygiene and common sense are essential for good health. Panic is always harmful.
Jane Orient, M.D., Executive Director, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons