Suddenly, the liberal press is worried about disease-related stigma.
During the Covid hysteria, the press, including National Public Radio, pushed mask and vaccine mandates and contributed to the liberal dehumanization and banning from public spaces of the unvaccinated via vaccine passports, while pushing for school closures that deprived public-school children of education and milestone events.
But when it comes to the gay community, the emphasis is on reserving judgment and preserving personal freedom: No shaming, no lectures about even temporarily reining in promiscuous behavior, or else you risk “stigmatizing people” with homophobia.
Rachel Treisman, an NPR writer for Morning Edition, warned on Tuesday: “As monkeypox spreads, so do concerns about stigma.”
The lead, relying on the unreliable World Health Organization, was just as anti-science.
When the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency over the weekend, it also warned of another threat to society:
“Stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus,” said WHO Director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
In fact, the WHO emergency committee that had previously considered whether to issue such a declaration was unable to reach a consensus in part because of concerns about the risk of stigma, marginalization and discrimination against the communities hit hardest by the virus.
The global monkeypox outbreak appears to mostly affect men who have sex with other men. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 98% of people diagnosed with the virus between April and June in more than a dozen countries identify as gay or bisexual men, and the WHO says that 99% of U.S. cases are related to male-to-male sexual contact.
That means that the public health systems can target their messaging and interventions to the specific communities most at risk. But it also carries the risk of stigmatizing those populations, while sowing complacency in others that could still be vulnerable.
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