The Monkeypox Fiasco Shows We've Learned Nothing From COVID
We're really doing this again, I guess.
An awful virus has spread across the world. The official response has been disturbingly slow. People are stuck in ridiculously long lines waiting for vaccines. There is fear and misinformation coursing around. Governments have been caught completely flat-footed.
This is, as you already know, the story of the COVID pandemic over the last two-plus (!) years. But it is also the much more recent story of the outbreak of monkeypox, a hellishly painful virus that, in just a few weeks, has infected 16,000 people worldwide—overwhelmingly queer men—and been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization. This is despite the widespread agreement by experts that such an insidious outbreak should have been fully preventable, particularly in the United States.
The disastrousness of the monkeypox response clearly raises grim questions about institutionalized homophobia. But it also underscores an equally grim truth: that living through the worst pandemic in over a century appears to have taught our political and public health leaders precisely nothing about how to handle a serious viral outbreak. It would seem that the mechanics of government dedicated to such matters are too fundamentally broken to lead to anything other than indifference, incompetence, and chaos. I know, don’t all cheer at once.
The parallels between the COVID response and the monkeypox response are so thuddingly clear that you almost have to laugh.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Discourse Blog to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.