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URGENT ALERT: Virologists issue urgent new Monkeypox warning about .... racism
ALARM DEATH DEATH ALARM VIRUS DEATH ALARM VIRUS DEATH ALARM
African and European virologists have posted a gravely stupid Monkeypox screed to the Virological discussion board, warning against the danger of stigmatising nomenclature, because this is totally their field and we have nothing else to worry about right now.
There are so many risible passages to choose from, I guess I’ll just go in order:
The prevailing perception in the international media and scientific literature is that MPXV is endemic in people in some African countries. However, it is well established that nearly all MPXV outbreaks in Africa prior to the 2022 outbreak, have been the result of spillover from animals to humans and only rarely have there been reports of sustained human-to-human transmissions. In the context of the current global outbreak, continued reference to, and nomenclature of this virus being African is not only inaccurate but is also discriminatory and stigmatizing.
Monkeypox is a virus that is endemic in animal hosts in Africa, and to an unknown degree probably also among people in Africa. Monkeypox is an African virus; Africa is where Monkeypox comes from. I never cared that much about this fact before, but I do now. Good job idiot virologists.
Although the origin of the new global MPXV outbreak is still unknown, there is growing evidence that the most likely scenario is that cross-continent, cryptic human transmission has been ongoing for longer than previously thought. However, there is an increasing narrative in the media and among many scientists that are trying to link the present global outbreak to Africa or West Africa, or Nigeria.
What is even the argument here? The fact that we did not notice that Monkeypox (which is an African virus) had come to Europe from Africa, until a few years after it arrived in Europe from Africa, does not mean that it gets to not be from Africa now. The sequences published so far are all related to a virus introduced to the West from Nigeria (an African country) before 2019. Monkeypox is an African virus.
Further, the use of geographical labels for strains of MPXV, specifically, references to the 2022 outbreak as belonging to the “West African” or “Western African” clade, strain, or genotype. We therefore believe that a nomenclature that is neutral, non-discriminatory and non-stigmitizing will be more appropriate for the global health community.
There is no European privilege I treasure more, than the ability to speak of the Marburg Virus or the Spanish Influenza without it ever occurring to me for a nanosecond that I should take offence or care about these names.
The authors proceed to propose a “novel classification of MPXV that is non-discriminatory and non-stigamtizing and aligned with the best practices in naming infectious diseases,” by which they mean ridiculous naming schemes dreamed up yesterday by the WHO, lest honesty about the geographical origins of specific SARS-2 strains embarrass anybody. A classic sign of truly stupid academics, is that they’re always clamouring to include unnecessary graphical illustrations and tables, and our woke virologists do not disappoint:
By supporting a non-discriminatory and non-stigmatizing classification, we can encourage African and other researchers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to advance genomic surveillance, share sequence data, and minimize negative impacts. Failure to support and adopt the proposed nomenclature and classification may result in loss of interest in sustaining active surveillance and rapid reporting of pathogens with epidemic and pandemic potentials, by scientists and national public health institutions in Africa and other LMICs.
If we have learned anything from the past two years, it is that “active surveillance and rapid reporting of pathogens with epidemic and pandemic potential” are massively destructive enterprises with the potential to crash the world economy and perhaps even to end civilisation as we know it. Maybe there should be substantial disincentives to engage in these activities.
Every case of MPXV infection should be treated with the same attention and sense of urgency as the ones now in European countries and North America. The entire epidemic of hMPXV regardless of the location needs to be halted, not just this Northern hemisphere outbreak. A practical and neutral system of nomenclature allows efficient communication without the risk of further misconceptions, discrimination and stigmatisation.
Word games aren’t going to stop Monkeypox, but a two-week moratorium on gay sex just might. Why is nobody suggesting we give that a try? It was fine to close most of society for months on end, to condemn our elderly relatives to die alone, and to socially isolate our children to the point of depression, so this should be a total no-brainer. Somebody get Neil Ferguson to fire up his models and tell gay men when they can plan on banging again.