Conservatives who objected to COVID-19 lockdowns expressed outrage at a new Washington Post report detailing how U.S. public health officials feel that they cannot compel people to observe similar precautions regarding monkeypox.
Monkeypox, like COVID-19 before, has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization and a public health emergency by the Biden administration. Though, as The Washington Post reported on Thursday, authorities such as San Francisco public health officials have "made no attempt to rein in festivities or warn attendees" of attending events that could spread the disease.
Monkeypox infections, as the outlet acknowledged, "are heavily concentrated among men who have sex with men," though others "can contract the virus through nonsexual contact and sharing contaminated items."
Despite this reality, and the fact that the city of San Francisco declared a monkeypox emergency among the gay community, "Thousands of gay men clad in leather, latex — and often much less — partied along Folsom Street here last weekend during the annual kink and fetish festival," the Post noted.
The paper quoted California state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, who said, "If people want to have sex, they are going to have sex," indicating a hands-off approach to regulating the disease.
"People will make their own decisions about their own risk levels," Wiener added.
The paper also noted that "health officials in San Francisco, Chicago, New York and other U.S. cities battling surges disproportionately sickening gay men are avoiding calls for sexual restraint, wary of further stigmatizing same-sex intimacy."
This restrained approach to handling the latest global health emergency angered conservatives online who viewed the approach to the coronavirus global emergency as harsh.
Conservative commentator Ian Miles Cheong ripped what he perceived as the hypocrisy of the health guidance. He tweeted, "They forced everyone to be apart from their dying parents and grandparents in hospitals, banned travel, and forced kids out of school and into Zoom calls, but ‘men who have sex with men’ can’t cool it for two weeks?"
Former Republican congressional candidate Dave Giglio observed the double standard as well, tweeting, "It's important to remember, calls for abstinence to stop Monkeypox don't work, but cloth masks and totalitarian lockdowns do, in fact, stop COVID."
Independent journalist Tim Pool mocked the health officials featured in the piece for being too politically correct to combat monkeypox. He tweeted, "you cant tell people not to have a gay orgy during a health emergency, thats discrimination. people have a constitutional right to have sex with each other, also abortions."
Conservative radio host Dan O’Donnell didn’t mince words about the report, stating, "They shut down the entire country for COVID-19 but won't shut down the gay orgies for Monkeypox because science."
Virginia state Republican delegate Nick Freitas tweeted, "Yeah, you bigots! We don’t want to do things that ‘won’t work.’ Instead, let’s pretend that everyone is at risk and shut down the economy!"
"Have we considered making grocery aisles one-way? that was a neat idea," tweeted Washington Examiner columnist Becket Adams, reminiscing about one of more memorable precautions of the pandemic.
"The government ruined the economy for 2 years for a virus with a 99% survival rate," tweeted the Libertarian Party of Tennessee’s Twitter account.
Real Clear Investigations senior writer Mark Hemingway commented on the Post report’s Twitter headline, which read, "Sex is a major driver of the global monkeypox outbreak. But health officials and longtime HIV activists say calls for abstinence don’t work."
Hemingway reworked the headline to showcase the double standard of health officials now compared to health officials at the onset of COVID-19. He wrote, "’Indoor gatherings are a major driver of the global COVID outbreak. But health officials and activists say lockdowns and social distancing don’t work.’"
"Now excuse me while I go punch a wall," he added.
The Washington Post report featured a response to similar accusations of hypocrisy, claiming, "Public health officials reject comparisons to the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, when they mandated masks and shut down public spaces. They noted that the novel coronavirus was unfamiliar, far deadlier and airborne, with hospitals overrun with patients at various points over the past two years."
It added, "Monkeypox has known treatments and vaccines, although they have been challenging to access; it also has not killed anyone in the United States, and hospitalizations are uncommon."