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Monkeypox in the Sunshine State?

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

As my mother used to say, “can’t we just have something nice?” Can’t we have a summer where we aren’t all on pins and needles about catching some dreaded virus, whether it will make us sick or not?

No one needs to be reminded of the last couple of years. Covid has left a permanent scar on the nation and the world. Did it have to? That’s a totally different question, but what’s next?

While Covid is still spreading and an ever-present “threat,” most people seem to be moving on with their lives. What now?

Oh, monkeypox? Cool! I’m going to put my complete ignorance on display here; until recently, I wasn’t sure what monkeypox even was, and I MAY have thought you had to be around monkeys to get it.

Guess not. The New York Post reports:

Florida health officials are investigating a “presumptive” case of monkeypox — making the Sunshine State the third possible US state to be hit by the disease after cases were reported in Massachusetts and New York City.

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The Florida Department of Health in Broward County announced Sunday that the case is related to international travel and the infected person has been isolated.

So assuming that person wasn’t traveling with a monkey, what next? How do we protect ourselves?

“Human-to-human transmission generally requires prolonged, face-to-face contact, direct contact with lesion materials, or indirect contact with lesion materials through contaminated items, such as contaminated clothing,” it said.

“Therefore, the risk of exposure remains low,” the department added.

Well, that’s a good thing, at least—low risk of transmission and requiring prolonged face-to-face exposure. Also, as a general rule, I try not to have prolonged contact with anyone with visual “lesions,” but I’m fussy like that.

The question is, how big a deal will our government make of it? With the dwindling amount of control the administration sees in Covid and the general public’s unwillingness to go back to the restrictive measures that only had dubious efficacy, will the Biden administration attempt to scare citizens with gloom and doom language?

The Post concludes:

On Sunday, President Biden said the increasing spread of monkeypox is “to be concerned about.”

“They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet, but it is something that everybody should be concerned about,” he told reporters at Osan Air Base in South Korea before boarding Air Force One for a flight to Japan.

Biden later sought to calm concerns about the recent cases, saying he did not see the need to institute strict quarantine measures.

”I just don’t think it rises to the level of the kind of concern that existed with COVID-19,” he said in Tokyo on Monday.

Great! Something everybody should be concerned about? From what I have seen and read, monkeypox, while not harmless, only causes flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash on the face and body. Gross, yes. Deadly, no. Cause for concern? It doesn’t seem to be. A little common sense behavior, like maybe not getting nose to nose with someone exhibiting ANY of these symptoms, will keep you safe and allow for a somewhat normal summer.