According to the city’s health commissioner, this “terminology” is also “rooted in a racist and painful history for communities of color”.
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New York City asked the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, July 26, to rename monkeypox (monkeypox in English). “We are increasingly concerned about the potentially devastating and stigmatizing effects that messaging around the ‘monkey pox’ virus can have on [des] already vulnerable communities”, writes New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan in a letter to WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The latter had also mentioned this possible change in mid-June.
According to the Health Commissioner, this “terminology” is also “rooted in a racist and painful history for communities of color”. In his letter, he recalls the negative effects of false information during the appearance of the AIDS virus (HIV) or of the racism suffered by Asian communities after the appearance of Sars-CoV-2, which the former president American Donald Trump had called “Chinese virus”.
“Continuing to use the term ‘monkey pox’ to describe the current outbreak may rekindle these traumatic feelings of racism and stigma.”Ashwin Vasan, New York City Health Commissioner
in a letter to WHO
The manager fears in particular that “black people and other people of color”as well as “members of LGBTQIA+ communities (…) avoid using vital healthcare services” to avoid these feelings.
New York is the city most affected in the United States in number of cases, with 1,092 contaminations detected since the start of the epidemic.