The Biden administration followed the World Health Organization’s lead this week by declaring monkeypox a public health emergency. Since the disease is primarily spread through sexual intercourse between men, at-risk communities are increasingly concerned about the possibility of contracting it as case numbers rise in many states across the country.
For his part, Democratic California state Sen. Scott Wiener weighed in on the issue with a candid acknowledgment about the sexual promiscuity of the individuals within his social circle.
“I know people who normally go to sex parties who will not,” the San Francisco official shared during a recent interview.
He went on to advise that individuals must “make their own decisions about their own risk levels,” conceding: “If people want to have sex, they are going to have sex.”
Over the last weekend in San Francisco, the #DoreAlley sex festival popular for its gay sex parties & street sex went ahead despite concerns from some that it will be a super spreader for #monkeypox. Some say attendees came with visible symptoms. pic.twitter.com/7jMmfsQcBQ
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) August 4, 2022
In a separate interview on Thursday, Wiener applauded the White House for taking additional steps to “open up public resources” that could help reduce the spread of monkeypox. He affirmed that gay men are making some tough decisions regarding their sexual behavior – including whether or not to attend Dore Alley, an annual fetish festival in his hometown.
“I know someone who was working the door at one of the sex parties the weekend of Dore and attendance was down by 50%,” he said. “And I’ve heard that about some of the other sex parties as well.”
San Francisco has been among the nation’s monkeypox hotspots with confirmed cases spiking by 65% over the course of the past week, reaching a total of 424 on Wednesday.
Although men make up more than 98% of all monkeypox cases reported in California and nearly 92% of infections resulted from same-sex intercourse, public health officials like White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci insist that the disease poses a risk for all communities.
Some prominent political figures are skeptical of such alarmist public health forecasts. For his part, GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that his state will not be implementing many of the restrictions and regulations being considered in Democratic-led states.
As he asserted in a speech on Wednesday: “We are not doing fear. And we are not going to go out and try to rile people up and try to act like people can’t live their lives as they’ve been normally doing because of something.”