Despite cases of monkeypox being identified in humans stretching back more than 50 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) is acquiescing to pressures for a rebrand of the virus – because racism.
While speaking at a press conference Tuesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged that he had heard the apparent concerns of the international community after a group of scientists penned a letter with their grievance. As they see it, the current classification of monkeypox was both “discriminatory and stigmatizing.”
“WHO is also working with partners and experts from around the world on changing the name of monkeypox virus, its clades and the diseases it causes,” the director-general stated in complete fealty to the woke demand of a small number of outspoken groups.
Tedros appeared to be putting the name change at the same level of priority as determining whether the virus should be treated as a highest-level public health emergency for the international community after announcing the convening of an emergency meeting when, during the press conference he said, “We will make announcements about the new names as soon as possible.”
The letter that prompted this response from the WHO was issued by a group of 30 scientists primarily based out of Africa, Europe, and Seattle, Wash. In their collective statement they wrote, “Given the increasingly rapid communication of, and attention to, the international human MPXV outbreak, it is important to consider an appropriate, non-discriminatory, and non-stigmatizing nomenclature and classification of MPXV clades.”
The scientists apparently drew the conclusion that between the name and the regular use of photos of African patients by the media in reporting on the virus endemic to Africa, the public would begin to negatively respond to African culture with the continued use of the monkeypox name.
“In the context of the current global outbreak, continued reference to, and nomenclature of this virus being African is not only inaccurate but is also discriminatory and stigmatizing,” they went on to say. “The most obvious manifestation of this is the use of photos of African patients to depict the pox lesions in mainstream media in the global north. Recently, Foreign Press Association, Africa issued a statement urging the global media to stop using images of African people to highlight the outbreak in Europe.”
The Foreign Press Association, Africa registers its displeasure against media outlets using images of black people alongside stories of the #monkeypox outbreak in North America and the United Kingdom. pic.twitter.com/u32yWLELJg
— FOREIGN PRESS ASSOCIATION, AFRICA (@FPA_Africa) May 21, 2022
In that statement, Foreign Press Association, Africa noted, “As any other disease, it can occur in any region in the world and afflict anyone, regardless of race or ethnicity. As such, we believe that no race or skin complexion should be the face of this disease.”
MSNBC hosts pounded with mockery after claim that calling coronavirus the ‘Wuhan Virus’ is ‘racist’ https://t.co/zXQH6T4TfE
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 10, 2020
This move by the WHO is wildly inconsistent with the pushback from COVID-19 being called the Wuhan Virus because of its reported origin from Wuhan, China. On the contrary, the upset groups seemed to suggest it would be less stigmatizing to Africa by referring to monkeypox’s origin in West Africa or the Congo Basin, belying their own feelings on the zoonotic history of the animal-to-human transmission outlined by the WHO.
A WHO spokesperson told Bloomberg News in an email that naming diseases “should be done with the aim to minimize the negative impact and avoid causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups.”
But, with over 1,600 people currently infected in countries around the world, perhaps their focus should be on containing the spread.
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