Politics

Lauren Boebert suggests monkeypox was made up by Democrats to win the midterms

Rep. Lauren Boebert
Rep. Lauren BoebertPhoto: Gage Skidmore

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) continued her suspicion of public health measures to fight infectious diseases by suggesting that Democrats made up monkeypox to win in the midterm elections on BlazeTV’s The News & Why it Matters yesterday.

“We know exactly what causes this monkeypox,” she said as she and host Sara Gonzales laughed, “and they’re not doing anything, no actually you’re a bigot if you talk about it.”

She said, “They’re not canceling exactly where the outbreaks are taking place,” while some local and state governments briefly shut down churches and restaurants during the COVID pandemic.

“And I think it’s interesting, we have midterm elections coming up and suddenly there’s a new health emergency from the federal government,” she said sarcastically. “President Ronald Reagan – I’m not looking for zombie Reagan to come and save America – but he really did say it best.”

“He said the most dangerous words are ‘I’m from the federal government and I’m here to help.'”

Boebert got a lot wrong in that short segment.

First, her giggling about “we know exactly what causes this monkeypox” was a suggestion that it is spread through gay sex. Monkeypox isn’t an STI; the disease is spread through direct contact with lesions, prolonged face-to-face contact, touching items like clothes and linens that an infected person used, or via the placenta to a fetus.

While it’s currently mostly being spread through close contact among men who have sex with men, the World Health Organization has already suggested that gay and bi men may be “the canary in the mine that’s alerting us to a new disease that could spread to other groups.”

Then there’s her complaint that COVID measures haven’t been taken in response to monkeypox, even though she doesn’t seem to support such measures anyway. Monkeypox isn’t spread as easily through the air or in public spaces like churches that can easily be shut down.

“Respiratory spread is not the predominant worry,” said Dr. Jennifer McQuiston of the CDC. Asymptomatic spread is not documented for monkeypox either. Moreover, there’s already a vaccine for monkeypox, which is what brought about the end of the more severe restrictions in the case of COVID.

Last, she got the quote from Reagan wrong; he didn’t say “federal government” but just “government.” Reagan’s opposition to doing anything to help fight HIV has been the subject of criticism for decades.

Boebert isn’t the only Republican who is worried that the government might take monkeypox seriously. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) called it a “scam” last month and said people should “laugh at it, mock it, and reject it.”

“Of course, monkeypox is a threat to some people in our population,” she said, suggesting that because it has mostly affected LGBTQ people, it’s not worth much of a response from the government that could include testing, education, and vaccines.

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