NewsWorldWhite House declares monkeypox a public health emergency -...

White House declares monkeypox a public health emergency – WSWS


On Thursday, US Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra formally declared a public health emergency over monkeypox. It is a long overdue announcement that comes two and a half months after the first case of monkeypox was detected in the United States on May 18 and twelve days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an emergency. of Public Health of International Importance (PHEIC) on July 23. Disturbingly, there was a clear attempt to downplay the announcement and the profound dangers of monkeypox. Neither the White House YouTube channel nor major news outlets chose to show the briefing live. For the past three months, the Biden administration and the corporate press have adopted the same response to monkeypox as Donald Trump has to COVID-19. As the former president explained to journalist Bob Woodward on March 19, 2020: “I always wanted to play it down. I still like to play it down because I don’t want to create a panic.” Of course, Trump was referring to a stock market panic that would affect the financial interests of his Wall Street cronies. Biden has similar concerns that the Democrats are in the service of the financial oligarchy just like the Republicans. But in the ordinary sense of the word, there are deep reasons for widespread panic in the population at the collapse of any attempt to head off a second pandemic on top of the first. Action is urgent, but the impetus must come from the working class. No section of the ruling elite will lift a finger. Monkeypox advances across the world as omicron’s BA.5 subvariant drives the latest wave of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths. Due to the disastrous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed some 22 million lives and disabled tens of millions globally, it appears that monkeypox will be allowed to rage in the coming months despite of formal declarations of a “state of emergency.” As of Thursday, there were more than 26,250 confirmed infections in at least 80 non-endemic countries, with a seven-day average of 1,268 new daily cases. Since testing is very limited worldwide, it must be assumed that even these alarming figures are highly incomplete. Monkeypox is a dangerous disease with symptoms similar to, but less severe than, smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980. The virus causes lesions to form anywhere on the body, which can lead to blindness, suffocation, and scarring of the face or any other part of the body in some people. Patients often describe the progression of monkeypox lesions as the most painful experience of their lives, causing them to lose the ability to sleep or perform basic bodily functions without excruciating pain. About 10 percent of cases have required hospitalization, primarily to manage this intense suffering. Historically, the death rate from infection with the strain of monkeypox that is spreading around the world has been estimated at about 1 percent, similar to that of COVID-19. A recent study estimated the current global reproduction number (R-value) to be approximately 1.29, while in the United States this rate is 1.55, the highest value of all non-endemic countries. Monkeypox can be infectious for more than a month, even before the appearance of lesions, and the person must be isolated for this entire period of time after confirmed exposure. The virus can spread through aerosols, droplets, and fomites, and the dominant modes of transmission are thought to be respiratory droplets and skin contact. One of the main concerns of scientists is the ability of monkeypox to spread through contaminated tissues and surfaces. A July 12 report from the Department of Homeland Security noted that the virus “can be stable for days to weeks in water, soil, and refrigerated food.” Although the corporate media has largely portrayed monkeypox as affecting only men who have sex with men, with the implication that it is a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it is actually a disease infectious disease that threatens the entire society. A 2016 study on monkeypox found that men accounted for just 57 percent of all infections. It is entirely a coincidence that the disease was initially spread among men who have sex with men, and is now rapidly spreading throughout society through non-sexual transmission routes. Ignoring these scientific facts, the extreme right has immediately used fascistic rhetoric to scapegoat homosexuals and bisexuals. mono has the potential to spread rapidly, particularly when classes resume internationally after the summer or winter break. There have already been 96 confirmed infections in children around the world, five of them in the US, as hundreds of millions of children will gather inside schools around the world in the coming weeks. Children cannot receive any vaccine against the virus and have historically been at higher risk of severe illness and death than adults. The virus is already spreading through factories and other workplaces, and a worker at the Sterling Heights assembly plant outside Detroit, Michigan, told the World Socialist Web Site that a co-worker tested positive this week. week. Both the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and company management are trying to cover up the infection. Given the ability of the virus to survive on surfaces for long periods of time, all auto factories, warehouses, grocery stores and gas stations could soon become vectors of transmission, as well as other workplaces. The long period of isolation necessary to keep workers safe will not be tolerated by large companies, which will force workers to return while they are infected under the threat of plunging them into economic ruin. Everything seems to indicate that monkeypox is it will be handled with the same indifference and recklessness as COVID-19, with the same ruinous focus limited only to vaccines. The company that produces the only approved vaccine, Nordic Bavarian, has refused to relinquish intellectual property rights to enable its mass distribution globally, causing the company’s share price to rise nearly twofold. three since the first case was detected in May. Testing has been deliberately stymied over the past two months, while data reporting has been abysmal, leaving the true extent of the outbreak largely unknown. Thursday, the Biden administration named Robert Fenton as the national monkeypox coordinator, and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis as his deputy. Fenton has no background in medicine or public health, and prior to this appointment he was regional director for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). While Dr. Daskalakis has a public health background working on HIV/AIDS prevention, he was also one of the people who downplayed the outbreaks of COVID-19 and monkeypox from their early stages. On January 29, 2020, at a time when SARS-CoV-2 was already spreading undetected in the United States due to a complete lack of testing, Dr. Daskalakis stated at a press conference in New York : “Science says you should go have fun, be a New Yorker. There is no reason to avoid any part of the city.” Within weeks, the city became the global epicenter of the pandemic, experiencing what remains one of the highest death rates from COVID-19 worldwide. In June 2022, when cases of monkeypox were beginning to skyrocket in the United States, Daskalakis falsely claimed that “the overall risk to the American public is low.” In the corporate media, there is already an effort to portray monkeypox as endemic or soon to be. In describing its article on Thursday’s state of emergency declaration, the New York Times wrote: “Many experts fear containment may no longer be possible.” On August 1, The Daily Beast published an article titled “It may be too late to prevent monkeypox from becoming endemic in the United States and Europe.” On July 17, in a prominent Sunday interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Scott Gottlieb proclaimed, “We are now on the brink of this happening.” become an endemic virus. Two days later, STAT News ran an article headlined “With monkeypox spreading across the globe, many experts believe the virus cannot be contained.” All of these claims are unscientific and should be dismissed with contempt by the working class. .Workers cannot allow a repeat of the criminal mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is still entirely possible to eliminate monkeypox in the US and eradicate the virus worldwide, including in African countries where the virus has actually been endemic for decades and has killed more than 70 people this year. Now that monkeypox is spreading along with COVID-19, workers in all industries and all countries must adopt a global strategy to eliminate both pandemics. Similar public health measures must be applied around the world, both for both monkeypox and COVID-19, including mass testing, rigorous contact tracing, universal mandatory mask wearing, safe isolation of all infected patients, and quarantining of exposed individuals. All schools must switch to remote classes and non-essential workplaces must temporarily close, guaranteeing workers and small business owners full income protection. If these measures were applied globally, monkeypox could be eliminated worldwide in a matter of weeks and COVID-19 by the end of this year. An essential lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic is that basic principles of public health are incompatible with the decadent capitalist system, which subordinates all social needs to the profit interests of the corporate-financial oligarchy. In the first year of the coronavirus pandemic alone, the world’s billionaires accumulated more than 5 trillion dollars while millions died around the world. The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) is the only political tendency in the world that is it has continuously opposed the murderous policies implemented by almost every government in the world and has fought for a socialist response to stop the pandemic globally. In May 2021, the ICFI started the International Workers’ Alliance of Base Committees (AIO-CB) to organize the struggles of the international working class against the pandemic, independently of the unions and capitalist parties that imposed the brutal campaign of return to work on behalf of corporations. Today, the AIO-CB is fighting to stop the monkeypox and COVID-19 pandemics, as well as climate change, the skyrocketing cost of living and the threat of a nuclear war. This world network of action committees, democratically controlled by the workers themselves, must be expanded in all industries and in all countries to organize an effective struggle in defense of the social interests of the working class, including a life free of infectious diseases that they can be controlled.(Article originally published in English on August 4, 2022)Sign up for the WSWS newsletter


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