According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of confirmed monkeypox cases in the United States climbed by more than 500 over a five-day period.
New York, California, and Illinois accounted for nearly 50 percent of all U.S. monkeypox cases as of July 20, CDC officials report. The top five hotspots include New York (581), California (356), Illinois (208), Florida (208), and Georgia (158).
New York City health officials report the number of cases just in that city stand at 778 — up from 639 on July 19. The most current report shows 68 percent of the cases involve people under 40. In addition, the report shows 97.7 percent are men while one is attributed to a woman. The remainder is reported under transgender or unknown categories.
By sexual orientation, NYC health officials report 98 percent as LGBQ+ or unknown. Only nine cases are attributed to people classified as heterosexual.
Protests by gay activists against the Biden Administration’s handling of the monkeypox outbreak are spreading across the country, ABC News reports. The protesters claim the federal government is not doing enough to provide outreach to vulnerable communities. Many are comparing the response to the current outbreak to that of HIV/AIDS, adding that shame and stigma stifle efforts in combating the illness.
“The stark and clear parallels are the lack of investment and the negligence,” Jason Rosenberg, an activist at ACT UP NY, said in the ABC report. “We saw little to no investment when we saw the few outbreaks that were happening in May. AIDS activists told the federal government back in May that we need to act on this, we need quicker investment in our stockpile of monkeypox vaccines. And time and time again, they refused that call to action.”
Los Angeles Times columnist Anita Chabria blames homophobia for the government’s botched response to monkeypox.
“Sadly, such feelings of isolation and frustration are being borne out by a so-far sluggish and botched response to monkeypox, mostly at the federal level, as the disease spreads among bisexual, transgender and communities of men who have sex with men,” Chabria wrote. “In the midst of a pandemic during which we supposedly learned the value of quick action to educate and vaccinate, the response to monkeypox is appalling and suggests a collective indifference that stems from the disease largely hitting LGBTQ communities.”
California State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) told the columnist, “Once again we have a public health failure for a disease affecting my community. As a gay man, it is really terrifying.”
In San Francisco, hundreds wait in line for hours for a “chance” at getting the vaccine, Chabria explained. Many are turned away when supplies hit zero.
In addition to inadequate vaccine supply, California Assembly Leader Anthony Rendon reports that Medi-Cal does not cover testing for monkeypox — leaving a financial barrier for the most vulnerable in the state. Those who test positive are required under threat of a misdemeanor criminal charge to remain in isolation for weeks without any kind of compensation or support.
In New York City, lines also stretched for blocks waiting for the opportunity to get the vaccine that could prevent the contraction of the virus, Breitbart News reported.
“Vaccine supply remains low,” officials stated late last week. “NYC is receiving a limited number of doses from the federal government, and we are making them available to New Yorkers as quickly as possible.”