Monkeypox continues its global assault as governments do nothing to bring the pandemic to an end

It has been more than 10 days since the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, declared the multi-country global outbreak of the monkeypox epidemic a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on July 23, 2022.

The overruling of the emergency committee’s majority opinion against such a declaration was unprecedented. However, the response to the monkeypox pandemic on the part of countries hardest hit has been characterized by continued inaction and paralysis, mirroring the crisis in the international health agency.

In the three months since the global outbreak commenced, almost 23,008 cases have been confirmed. The global seven-day moving average of monkeypox infections is approaching 1,000 per day, according to the detailed tracker by @antonio_Caramiaan Italian data scientist who has used the Our World in Data site for his data set and provided this writer permission to use his work.

Currently, the US is the largest epicenter in the monkeypox pandemic with close to 5,200 confirmed cases. Canada has seen 818 monkeypox cases. Brazil (1,377) and Peru (307) are leading in Latin America. In Europe, Spain (4,300), Germany (2,677), the UK (2,359) and France (1,955) make up the lion’s share of cases. On a per capita basis, Spain’s rate of monkeypox cases is six times higher than in the US and the highest in the world. Some 87 countries and territories have documented monkeypox within their borders.

Daily confirmed cases of monkeypox across the world and select countries. Source: Our World in Data [Photo by Our World in Data / CC BY 4.0]

At the WHO press brief July 27, 2022, Director-General Ghebreyesus said during his opening remarks, words reminiscent of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, “This is an outbreak that can be stopped if countries and communities and individuals inform themselves , take the risk seriously, and take the steps needed to stop the transmission and protect vulnerable groups.”

Deep frustration and fatigue punctuated his warnings and call to action, with many powerful national governments refusing to act on the WHO’s warnings. Specifically, in the US, the White House has failed to declare a national emergency and has used the corporate media to tamp down public concerns about the WHO action by claiming to have increased testing and placed orders for more vaccines.

Despite this posturing, however, there is a repeated refrain from states that there are insufficient quantities of vaccines to administer, and testing is being conducted predominately within clinics for sexually transmitted infections (STI).

Meanwhile, the White House is pushing back against these complaints, with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra stating at a Thursday press brief that state and local governments “ultimately are the ones that determine how health care is administered in their jurisdictions.”

More concerning, there continues to be a severe lack of awareness on the part of health care workers and physicians on the signs and symptoms of monkeypox, which means that community transmission is occurring undetected.

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