From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
By Helena Oliviero, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
12 hours ago
Monkeypox in Georgia is infecting an overwhelming number of Black people compared to other races—a disproportionate effect not anticipated just a few weeks ago, new data from the Georgia Department of Public Health show.
Dr. Jonathan Colasanti, an infectious disease specialist, says it’s important people know the virus is most heavily affecting communities of color—and that those already infected have access to testing, treatment, and vaccines.
“A few weeks ago when this was circulating in Europe, this wasn’t even being talked about in our communities of color. And I think there was an initial perception that this was in, largely white communities and white, gay and MSM (men having sex with men) communities,” said Colasanti, who is also the medical director of Grady Memorial Hospital’s Ponce De Leon Center, a comprehensive program dedicated to serving those living with or affected by HIV.
“But I just want our folks here at home to know that that’s absolutely not the case. … And at this point in Atlanta, (monkeypox is) very heavily concentrated within communities of color, based on the early epidemiologic data we have.”
By Wednesday, confirmed cases in Georgia had climbed to 749 and includes eight women, according to DPH. The actual number is likely far higher.
Data from DPH, available for 74% of the cases, shows this racial breakdown: 82% Black people, 14% white, under 1% Asian; multiracial and “other” accounted for a total of about 3%. The total includes 6% Hispanic people.
The spread of monkeypox apparently is kind of like AIDS was: at first, white gays, by traveling more, spread it around a lot (e.g., the French Canadian flight attendant “Patient Zero”), but eventually black gays took the lead from sheer quantity.
… In Georgia, the overwhelming majority of cases are in metro Atlanta, but cases have been diagnosed in 25 counties outside metro Atlanta. Nearly 99% of the cases are among men, and the majority of the cases are among men who have sex with men, according to DPH.
My impression is that the term “men who have sex with men” that has elicited so much baffled comment among readers of monkeypox articles is a term long used by public health officials regarding AIDS and other venereal diseases to deal with black and Latino men who deny being gay but who will admit to partying with other men.
UPDATE: And from North Carolina, which is 22% black.
NC killing it with the first disparity report I’ve seen on MPX vaccine disparities.— Katelyn Jetelina (@dr_kkjetelina) August 10, 2022
70% cases are Black/African American men and 19% in White men; however, only 24% of vaccines have gone to Black/AA recipients, while 67% have gone to White recipients.
We have to do better.
Yes, as Dr. Jetelina bravely points out, despite blacks getting a slightly higher percentage of monkeypox vaccines (24%) than blacks are of the population in North Carolina (22%), blacks make up 70% of the monkeypox cases. As she says, black gay men have to do better!
The North Carolina health department reports:
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today released a report of the state’s monkeypox data, including how many vaccines have been administered across the state since July. This data shows that while 70% of cases are in Black men, Black North Carolinians have received less than a quarter of the vaccinations so far.
North Carolina today is reporting 122 monkeypox cases—all in males and nearly all in men who have sex with men, consistent with findings from other states and countries.
The report analyzes case and vaccine demographic data as of Aug. 8, which includes 111 cases. The data shows 70% of cases are in Black/African American men and 19% in White men; however, only 24% of vaccines have gone to Black/AA recipients, while 67% have gone to White recipients.
Hopefully, the gay black men of North Carolina will take Dr. Jetelina’s advice to heart and realize they have to do better and not infect each other with monkeypox so ridiculously much until more can be vaccinated.
In other monkeypox news, from the Washington Post:
By Jennifer Hassan
August 10, 2022 at 10:12 a.m. EDT
With cases of monkeypox surging around the world, it’s not a good time to be a monkey.
The primates have, in recent days, been physically attacked — and even killed — by poisoning and stoning attacks in Brazil, according to local media reports that cite police officials.
In the last week, at least 10 animals of the marmoset and capuchin types were found displaying signs of intoxication or aggression, leading to fears that they had been poisoned, according to Brazilian news site G1. Seven of the monkeys died, while the others are under observation at a zoo in São José do Rio Preto, a municipality in the state of São Paulo.
The assaults have led to the World Health Organization—which declared monkeypox a global health emergency last month—issuing a reminder that despite the virus’s name, monkeys should not be blamed for its transmission. …
Brazilian officials believe it is possible that the recent outbreak of the virus is driving anti-monkey sentiment and behavior, although they also noted that the “deliberate” attacks could also be linked to animal trafficking.
Following the attacks, environmental military police officers are patrolling the forest of Rio Preto to prevent attacks on the animals, local media reported, as the National Network to Combat Wildlife Trafficking blamed the “persecution” of monkeys and attacks on “a lack of information” in Brazilian society.
OK, I have to say that I’m dubious of this story. It sounds about as plausible as when we were told by the American media in early 2021 that the cases of blacks attacking elderly Chinese on the streets were due to Trump using the term “China virus” 9 months earlier. If somebody finds drunken monkeys, it would seem more likely that somebody else thought that giving alcohol to monkeys would be funny (which it probably was).
But who knows?