Catch up with news: Monkeypox, Covid19/21 improving public immunity, social impasse on schools and gender/sexuality/identity issues

Capulin extinct volcano, NE New Mexico 2022-5-21

OK, coming back home from an unusual vacation in remote areas in the SW, I’ve got some news to cover or opine on.

The news about monkeypox was promulgating the day I arrived in Dallas and then set out into the countryside.  It wasn’t as easy to keep up as usual.

I think the best presentation so far is NYC’s lung doctor Mike Hansen, so well known for his videos of Covid, May 24, 2022.  He says he has not seen interpersonal spread like this before.

Dr. Mike Hansen on monkeypox

Medcram (Roger Seheult) has a video May 23.

Medcram on Monkeypox

NBCNews offers an AP story discussing two gay male fetish raves in Spain and in Belgium.  There is even a quarantine of some people in Belgium.  Dylan Housman had penned a provocative story for Daily Caller May 20.

UK Pink News has some explainers (by Patrick Kelleher), referring to information from Grindr.

When I was hearing the story break, my first reaction was to connect the dots with the recent scuffle in the Supreme Court, and the leak of Alito’s opinion (focused on abortion) undermining the idea of (not) finding modern “fundamental rights” to bodily privacy in the US Constitution.  The reports on monkeypox at gay events might underline the notion, advanced in the 1980s, that the “chain letter” aspect of gay male sex could eventually prove dangerous to society as a whole (through increasing immunosuppression allowing other diseases to incubate – and that idea has been mentioned with Covid) or the speculative idea that the disease could mutate to become more contagious.  The religious right tried (unsuccessfully) to pass a draconian extension of the Texas sodomy law back in 1983 (before the HIV virus was identified), when I was living in Dallas and could follow the news from my apartment in Harvey’s Racquet (at the time).  Possibly, one could argue, states could start passing sodomy laws again and then force a new challenge to Lawrence v. Texas (2003) in SCOTUS (although Alito warns near the end of the leaked draft, don’t count on it). 

The raves would have presented the opportunity for skin-skin contact, not necessarily sexual or genital.  The same sort of thing could have well happened in heterosexual parties.  So I would now think that the incidence in gay men may be circumstantial, and may not hold up over time.  Similar observations (in general) might have applied to Zika virus (but that is an arbovirus) a few years ago, where the most noticeable tragic result applied to serious birth defects in children from mothers who acquired it in pregnancy.

The issue of the smallpox vaccine is significant. CDC has an information page last updated in 2019.  I would check back here as it will probably be reupdated soon.  Routine vaccination for smallpox stopped in 1972.  I have a very small smallpox scar myself.

COVID19 has an epidemiology that is almost opposite from AIDS.  While at first we were hyperscared of surfaces and hand hygiene issues, the biggest problem seems to be aerosols with more prolonged exposure. Practical observations suggest that people living in congregate households are much more vulnerable to serious disease (in any age) than people living alone.  It seemed to go “against family values”.  Omicron, which arrived mysteriously (maybe from one immunocompromised person, or maybe from another animal reverse crossover) is almost another virus COVID21. 

My own hunch is that those fully vaccinated and boosted who then get a “mild” infection with Omicron probably do have pretty good practical immunity and can be out in public without much risk, as long as they have intact immune systems.  Covid is turning into an “opportunistic infection”.  I tend to agree with Chris Martenson and others that properly run trials of Ivermectin have not really been done, and this could still turn out to become a reliable treatment if allowed to. 

Bloomberg sums it up in a May 15 article by Naomi Kresge “How Omicron Infection Turbo-Charges Vaccinated People’s Immunity”,  link (paywall).  This News/Medical Sciences paper seems significant.

Do we know for sure about how people with fleeting breakthrough Omicron will fare over time?  Not with absolute certainty.  Maybe long Covid will still be a problem with those with a tendency toward other autoimmune disease.  Can repeated mild infections cause immune suppression?  Is there “original antigenic sin?”  We are not completely sure yet. But we are not seeing people with past Covid develop the secondary opportunistic infections (like PCP) that happened three decades ago with AIDS.

As a whole, Covid has refocuses some moral thinking, about the idea of “carrying” a virus that will not seriously hurt the infected person but which can jeopardize others more vulnerable (the original “Typhoid Mary” problem — she got locked up for years because of her danger to “contaminate” others, almost the thinking we see in China today with its Zero Covid).  Here’s a related perspective by Matthew Crawford on a UK “conservative” site called the UnHerd: “Covid was libearlism’s endgame”.

“Typhoid Mary: Most Harmless and Yet the Most Dangerous Woman in America”

I wanted to take a “non position” on the furor of school boards and “don’t say gay” bills. 

First, I tend to look at both sexual orientation and gender dysphoria as a set of inclinations, desires, and sometimes “chosen” behaviors.  I don’t think of myself or as others in my cohort as a group or pseudo-enthnicity. That is true even when these “traits” may have genetic or epigenetic explanations in many people.  Gender dysphoria in small children does happen but is quite rare (like one in several hundred) and I can’t believe it is appropriate to belong in lower grade school curricula, especially in conjunction with “indoctrination” as part of Social and Emotional Learning. But I also don’t think states should pass laws against it.  School boards and active parents should work this out.  Parents need to run for school boards.  

In my own childhood, I developed dyspraxia, which is thought (in boys) to be associated with Asperger’s or “mild” autism.  I was “teased” for my inability to compete like a normal male physically.  That came to a head when I was assigned to Special Training Company for a few weeks during Army Basic in the spring of 1968 at Fort Jackson SC.  Possibly measles in 1950 before my seventh birthday contributed to this.  But I don’t think this makes me into a separate intersectional group of “people”.

I do like the idea of using new singular pronouns for persons or animals when non-binary or, more commonly, gender is unknown (that is, instead of “he or she”).  I think the Left does not like singular pronouns for non-binary persons because the singularity reinforces individual “failure” to conform.  Nevertheless, there is no reason why individual non-binary persons will not be “good at things” (like changing their own tires or oil, for example) in prepper-like situations.

Indeed, much of the cultural debate over gender identity (which is overrunning – like rain on top of snow —  the previous historical controversies about sexual orientation [that is, over not having one’s own kids and maybe over public health] has to do with the idea that non-binary persons often don’t satisfy the yearning of others to see sexual attractiveness (of either gender) in a conventional way. 

(Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at 1 PM EDT by John W. Boushka)

Author: Jboushka

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5 thoughts on “Catch up with news: Monkeypox, Covid19/21 improving public immunity, social impasse on schools and gender/sexuality/identity issues”

  1. John Timmer has a Feb. 2022 article in Ars Technica that discusses Omicron and T-cell protection pretty well. https://arstechnica.com/science/2022/02/for-t-cells-omicron-is-nothing-unusual/ It does seem that people with very strong cellular immune systems often have only very mild illness when faced with substantially new variants (esp. if properly vaccinated first). We would have to see what the connection between healthy T-cells and avoiding long COVID will be.

  2. Medcram (Seheult), June 3, explains the Monkeypox variants and possible mutations, and notes that in Nigeria it (the milder variant) had been associated with male homosexual activity, like back around 2017. Nigeria, as we know, has been very homophobic in policy for years (with worsening of laws around 2014). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QstOeAdBHiY . The video also discusses the two classes of vaccines, one of which “takes” and poses some risk of transmission, but the more modern one does not pose this risk.

    The video refers to an Atlantic article by Sarah Zhang, June 3, 2022, “We Should Have Seen Monkeypox coming”. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2022/06/monkeypox-virus-research-global-spread/661177/

  3. John Campbell discusses the mutations shown in the new monkeypox, unusual for a DNA virus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjJoc5wqk8E But it’s conceivable that this is a quasi-separate virus that had developed in animals and spilled over recently in Africa. The possible “political” ramficiations for gay men are disturbing; but in this case, the same intimacy among heterosexuals (quite likely) will produce the same transmission. We need to get our vaccines ready.

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