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California to HHS: LGB&T still covered here (Equality California update)

Implementation of anti-LGBTQ rule set for Aug. 18

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Harper Jean Tobin, center, speaks at a rally for transgender health in front of the White House on May 29, 2019. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

This federal announcement would be laughable if it wasn’t official. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “respects the dignity of every human being, and as we have shown in our response to the pandemic, we vigorously protect and enforce the civil rights of all to the fullest extent permitted by our laws as passed by Congress. We are unwavering in our commitment to enforcing civil rights in healthcare,” said Roger Severino, director of the Office for Civil Rights at HHS on June 12 as he declared that Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act would no longer prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The new Trump rule is scheduled to go into effect on Aug. 18.

Lambda Legal and the Human Rights Campaign immediately filed lawsuits on behalf of clients specifically impacted by the Trump administration’s callous move. The new rule would strip away the Obama administration’s May 2016 rule implementing Section 1557 that extended the legal interpretation of sex discrimination to include bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.

HHS focuses narrowly on the definition of “sex” in the healthcare program and Severino apparently decided to issue the new rule before the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which explicitly links sex discrimination to discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids,” the Supreme Court ruled.

In the name of “Protecting Civil Rights in Healthcare, Restoring the Rule of Law, and Relieving Americans of Billions in Excessive Costs,” as they announced in their June 16 press release, neither Severino nor HHS Sec. Alex Azar II has backed off implementing the new rule, despite Bostock and the global coronavirus pandemic.

“LGBTQ people, and particularly transgender people, have been under constant attack by this federal administration.”

“Our plaintiffs, Tanya Walker and Cecilia Gentili — like many others in this country — should not be treated as second-class citizens by a federal administration hell bent on removing legal protections afforded to transgender people,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, after filing the 70-page complaint on June 26 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

“It is time to end the constant fear and anxiety felt by many in the LGBTQ community that a person’s gender identity might determine the kind of medical care they receive.”

The Washington Blade reported that the HRC lawsuit on behalf of the two trans women of color, both of whom suffer from serious lung conditions, sought a preliminary injunction against the rule change “on the basis that it violated the law in the aftermath of the Bostock decision, exceeds statutory authority under the Affordable Care Act, is arbitrary and capricious and violates the right to equal protection under the Fifth Amendment.”

Lambda Legal and Steptoe & Johnson LLP also filed a lawsuit, Whitman-Walker Clinic v. HHS, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the HHS rule on behalf of four doctors and six organizations, including [email protected] Coalition and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

“The health care discrimination rule will hurt marginalized communities who already experience barriers to care, but especially those of us who are transgender, non-English speakers, immigrants, people of color and people living with disabilities and will have an even more serious impact on those of us who hold intersectional identities,” said Bamby Salcedo, President and CEO of the [email protected] Coalition.

“The [email protected] Coalition and its affiliated organizations such as Arianna’s Center in Florida and Puerto Rico and the Fundación Latinoamericana de Acción Social (FLAS) in Texas exist because of the already present challenges in our communities and because everyone deserves easy access to care that is respectful of who we are, compassionate and competent. Our lives depend on it and we’re going to fight for it,” she said.

On July 9, Lambda Legal filed for a preliminary injunction. “We are putting a stop to the Trump administration’s immoral and legally indefensible attacks on our communities. Section 1557 of the ACA is clear in its inclusion of LGBTQ people and other vulnerable communities and the law is on our side. This rule cannot be allowed to go into effect, not even for a moment,” Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Senior Attorney and Health Care Strategist for Lambda Legal, said in a press release. “The Trump administration has a dismal record of handling the COVID-19 pandemic and a well-documented score of attacking the rights of LGBTQ people, particularly transgender persons. Now the Trump administration seeks to double-down on both by limiting access to health care for LGBTQ people and other vulnerable individuals in the midst of a global pandemic.”

Equality California, which has filed or been part of numerous lawsuits against the Trump Administration, was also angry at HHS and furious about their timing – the anniversary of the mass shooting at Pulse, the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

“We’re considering all possible avenues to block this heartless, discriminatory rule from ripping healthcare away from millions of Americans during a global pandemic,” Equality California Executive Director Rick Chavez Zbur said when HHS issued the final rule on June 12.

“The Trump-Pence Administration’s response to COVID-19 has ranged from incompetent to illogical to reckless. But this is a new low. To roll back healthcare protections for LGBTQ+ patients in the middle of a global pandemic is heartless and cruel. But to do so on the fourth anniversary of the mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando is especially despicable.”

Zbur added: “Transgender and gender-nonconforming people deserve healthcare. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer people deserve healthcare. People with disabilities and people for whom English is not their first language deserve health care. No one should be denied this basic human right because of who they are or who they love. Shame on Donald Trump and his administration for saying otherwise.”

Equality California trans member Darren Stanley Lazor (photo courtesy Equality California)

On July 10, Equality California, representing trans member Darren Stanley Lazor, upped the ante in another federal court joining National Women’s Law CenterTransgender Law CenterTransgender Legal Defense & Education FundHarvard Law School Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation and the other plaintiffs in BAGLY v. HHS in Boston.

In their press release, Equality California briefly laid out the horror Lazor has had to endure:

“Darren lives in Ohio, where he has experienced extensive healthcare discrimination based on his gender identity. For example, in 2012, Darren sought treatment for symptoms that later turned out to be endometriosis and a large ovarian cyst. Darren was denied treatment by four healthcare providers because of his transgender status before finally receiving treatment for his life-threatening condition.

 

In December 2017, Darren began experiencing shortness of breath as the symptom of a recurring health problem. He returned to the emergency room closest to his home where he once again experienced a hostile and disrespectful hospital staff who discriminated against him in several ways, from misgendering his hospital bracelet as female, to making audible expressions of disgust when affixing EKG stickers near Darren’s mastectomy scars, to ignoring him in the treatment room with no explanation.

 

When the Trump-Pence Administration issued its decision to undermine LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections in the Affordable Care Act, Darren decided to step forward and share his story as a plaintiff in BAGLY v. HHS to ensure that no one else will be denied life-saving healthcare or be discriminated against simply because of who they are.”

That may have prompted the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) to ‘affirm its commitment to protect consumers’ healthcare rights, including the right to be protected from discrimination based on categories like gender identity and sexual orientation that are enshrined in California law,” according to a DMHC email distributed to LA County healthcare providers and policy makers.

“The DMHC Nondiscrimination Statement was issued in response to the finalized rule issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that eliminated regulations that protected individuals from discrimination based on categories like gender identity and sexual orientation,” DMHC’s Marisa Ramos wrote in a “Dear Colleagues” letter. “The rule also eliminated a federal requirement that health plans include information about the availability of language assistance services for people with limited English proficiency (LEP).”

The DMHC statement reads, in part: “Notwithstanding the new federal rule, all California-licensed health plans must continue to comply with California law, which protects all Californians from discrimination based on, among other things, gender identity and sexual orientation. Likewise, California-licensed health plans must continue to comply with California’s requirements to provide enrollees with notice of the availability of free language assistance services in English and the top 15 languages spoken by LEP individuals in California.”

Out California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara also re-issued the statement he sent June 15 to “All Health Insurance Companies, All Licensed Insurance Producers, and Other Licensees and Interested Parties” alerting them to comply with California’s Health Insurance Anti-Discrimination Protections – specifically noting that the HHS federal rule does not preempt state law.

Health insurance that is regulated by the California Department of Insurance (CDI) “remains subject to California’s antidiscrimination law. Consequently, health insurers must continue to comply with the existing antidiscrimination standards in California law, beyond the minimum requirements of federal law,” he said. Lara’s Notice to insurance carriers notes that state anti-discrimination requirements include the following:

  • “Anti-discrimination and language and disability assistance services notification requirements, including a that “[a]n insurer does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, marital status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or disability.”

  • A  prohibition against discriminating based on an insured or prospective insured person’s actual or perceived gender identity, or on the basis that the insured or prospective insured is a transgender person, including discrimination in the following: denying, cancelling, limiting or refusing to issue or renew an insurance policy; premium rating; designating gender identity or transgender identity as a pre-existing condition for the purpose of denying or limiting coverage; denying or limiting coverage or denying a claim for the following services due to gender identity or because the insured is a transgender person; health care services related to gender transition if coverage is available under the policy for such services when not related to gender transition; including but not limited to reconstructive surgery; health care services ordinarily or exclusively available to individuals of one sex when the denial or limitation is due only to the fact that the insured person is enrolled as belonging to the other sex or has undergone, or is in the process of undergoing, gender transition.”

Lara says the CDI will continue to “vigorously enforce these and other existing provisions of California law to protect Californians against wrongful discrimination.”

Anyone who thinks they have been subject to unlawful discrimination should contact the Department’s Consumer Complaint Center at 1-800-927-4357, or submit a complaint through the Department’s website at www.insurance.ca.gov.

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Monkeypox

Monkeypox vax outages & bureaucracy impedes healthcare providers

CDC on Friday reported that the number of confirmed cases of the monkeypox virus has doubled in the past two weeks escalating to 11,177

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Photo Credit: State of California

LOS ANGELES – Frustrations are mounting as the campaign to vaccinate people against infection of the monkeypox virus is derailed by a critical supply shortage of vaccine doses with added bureaucratic obstacles in getting financial reimbursement to the healthcare providers and clinics dispensing the vaccine.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has nearly exhausted its limited supplies of the JYNNEOS and is anticipating resupply, but has paused its County-wide pre-registration link on its website, putting off scheduling new vaccine appointments.

In one notable example, Public Health’s Monkeypox Vaccination Pop-Up Clinic at the West Hollywood Library exhausted its supply of the vaccine on Friday and ceased operations. According to a press release from West Hollywood city officials, more doses of vaccine are anticipated to be delivered by the federal government in the coming days, on a date to be determined. Once supply is reestablished, then operations will resume for the Pop-Up Clinic.

Exacerbating the crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reported that the number of confirmed cases of the monkeypox virus has doubled in the past two weeks escalating to 11,177.

In Los Angeles County, the County Health Department said that the county’s monkeypox profile is similar to the national case load increase as the disease spreads.

Complicating the issue, in an action taken earlier this week, Michelle Baass, the Director
of the California Department of Health Care Services, (DHCS) announced that Medi-Cal will only reimburse Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) for monkeypox vaccine administration when provided during a face-to-face visit with a provider.

Reacting to Baass’ decision, a group of 17 healthcare providers for the LGBTQ community in California sent a letter to Director Baass expressing deep concerns regarding the seemingly arbitrary move, which ran counter to the history of state efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the letter [embedded below] the signatories representing the 17 organizations stated:

This decision will significantly hamper the ability of FQHCs to respond to the monkeypox outbreak with the speed and urgency it requires and flies in the face of Governor Newsom’s declared State of Emergency.

As health care providers who serve a significant percentage of low-income LGBTQ+ Californians, we believe this decision is a flagrant example of institutionalized homophobia and we urge the department to reverse course immediately. Monkeypox vaccine administration by FQHCs should be reimbursed in the same way as COVID-19 vaccines.”

The letter also stated:

Regrettably, DHCS’ announcement this week will only make it harder for many of our most
vulnerable LGBTQ+ Medi-Cal patients to be vaccinated. In the FQHC setting, monkeypox
vaccines are generally administered outside of a primary care visit by a non-billable provider.
This allows us to vaccinate a significantly greater number of patients on a daily basis
.

Forcing Medi-Cal patients to have a face-to-face visit with a primary care provider will dramatically slow our current vaccination effort and make it even harder to control the current outbreak. In the time it takes for one individual to have their vitals taken and engage in a face-to-face visit with a primary care provider, FQHCs have the ability to vaccinate 15-20 people. DHCS’ policy makes absolutely no sense from a public health perspective and it screams of discrimination.

Anthony Cava, a spokesman for the California Department of Health Care Services, responded to the Blade’s inquiry over the facts of the letter laid out by the Healthcare provider signatories. However Cava ignored the implications of homophobia and discrimination specified in the letter:

“In response to the monkeypox public health emergency, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) appreciates the tremendous effort, focus, and compassion that our clinic partners are bringing to the important work of combatting this virus in their communities. Their hard work and dedication make them critical partners in our response.

DHCS is committed to working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to respond to monkeypox. DHCS will broadly seek federal approval to reimburse vaccine administration and applicable laboratory testing at 100 percent of the Medicare rate, once established. As part of this request, DHCS will seek federal approval to reimburse Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), and similarly situated clinics that are paid an all-inclusive rate, the vaccine administration fee for vaccine-only visits, consistent with how we are reimbursing for COVID-19 vaccine-only visits. The requested federal approvals will also include reimbursement for vaccine administration performed by non-clinic providers.

At this time, DHCS has not yet received federal guidance regarding reimbursement policies for the administration of the monkeypox vaccine. However, DHCS has communicated with CMS about the urgent need for clarity. Pending the release of such guidance, we informed FQHC providers that we will reimburse them for care provided, which may include the administration of the vaccine if it is done as part of a clinic visit that includes addressing this virus.”

Aaron Fox, the Director of Government Relations for the Los Angeles LGBT Center responded to the DHCS statement:

“Our community cannot wait for DHCS and CMS to continue talking. We must have action on this yesterday and we are in a Public Health crisis and government bureaucracy and inaction is unacceptable and will only result in increased suffering in our community,” Fox told the Blade in a phone call late Friday.

Fox added that his perception of the government response is that while the Biden-Administration and California have declared a Public Health Emergency, in terms of immediate action taken thus far it is little more than saying, “oh look there’s a house on fire,” but neglecting to dial 911 and get the fire dept rolling.

The Blade also had a conversation by phone late Friday with Jim Mangia, President and CEO of St. John’s Community Health, a network of community clinics in the greater Los Angeles region:

“While I applaud the spirit of the DHCS response, however, spirit alone will not stop this outbreak. DHCS has the power to make decisions about reimbursement rates and services allowable under Medi-Cal so they can set an interim rate for monkey-pox administration at the same rate it was set under COVID-19. I’ll note though that it took DHCS over a year to reimburse clinics for the COVID-19 community clinic programs. We urge them to do the right thing now before its too late.”

At a federal level, this last week on Tuesday, as part of a decision by Secretary of Health & Human Services Xavier Becerra to issue a determination under Section 564 of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to justify emergency use authorization of vaccines, the FDA also ordered a new vaccine approach.

This would change injections of the JYNNEOS vaccine from the subcutaneous route (delivery of the vaccine under the fat layer underneath the skin) to the intradermal route (delivery of the vaccine into the layer of skin just underneath the top layer).

This would allow for healthcare providers to squeeze five doses out of what used to be just one dose, which the FDA said should increase the number of vaccine doses in the national stockpile from 441,000 to more than 2.2 million.

In a letter first obtained by the Washington Post and later by the Blade, [embedded below] Paul Chaplin the President & CEO of Bavarian Nordic A/S, the sole manufacturer of the JYNNEOS Monkeypox vaccine expressed grave misgivings over HHS Secretary Becerra’s plan to dilute the dosage.

“Bavarian Nordic (BN) is dedicated to assisting Governments around the globe to control the current monkeypox outbreak and is fully supportive of dose-sparing approaches, such as delaying the second vaccination. However, we do have some reservations on the ID approach, due to the very limited safety data available,” Chaplin wrote.

Addressing both the reimbursement issues raised by the community clinic networks as well as the supply chain issues, California State Senator Scott Wiener told the Blade in an email,

“The Administration has been a strong partner in our effort to fight monkeypox, and we’re working closely and collaboratively to ensure our response is as effective as possible. I’m confident we’ll be able to resolve this issue.”

Wiener (D-San Francisco) was appointed by California Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) to chair the newly-formed State Senate Select Committee on Monkeypox. Also appointed as members of the committee are Senators Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa), Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), and Richard Pan (D-Sacramento).

LADPH reported Friday that the total Monkeypox / Orthopox Confirmed Cases were 797 which
included Long Beach and Pasadena
which have separate independent health departments.

Los Angeles County (excl. Long Beach and Pasadena)753
Long Beach36
Pasadena8

Long Beach data as of August 11, 2022 at 12:00 AM.
Pasadena data as of August 10, 2022 at 5:30 PM.

CDC Monkeypox data table for August 12, 2022, 11,177 total cases:

LocationCases
Alabama30
Alaska2
Arizona170
Arkansas15
California1,945
Colorado111
Connecticut59
Delaware8
District Of Columbia328
Florida1,085
Georgia851
Hawaii12
Idaho9
Illinois771
Indiana78
Iowa15
Kansas3
Kentucky11
Louisiana103
Maine3
Maryland275
Massachusetts202
Michigan92
Minnesota66
Mississippi11
Missouri20
Montana2
Nebraska15
Nevada74
New Hampshire15
New Jersey293
New Mexico16
New York2,295
North Carolina138
North Dakota2
Ohio89
Oklahoma12
Oregon95
Pennsylvania298
Puerto Rico48
Rhode Island31
South Carolina60
South Dakota2
Tennessee67
Texas815
Utah69
Vermont2
Virginia175
Washington251
West Virginia4
Wisconsin31
Wyoming0

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Monkeypox

Right-wing media exploit monkeypox- retread anti-vax misinformation

These anti-vax talking points are intended to stigmatize LGBTQ people by framing promiscuity as the primary driver of the disease

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Graphic by Andrea Austria for Media Matters

By Mia Gingerich | WASHINGTON – As monkeypox presents an ever-increasing threat to Americans, predominantly gay and bisexual men, conservative media figures are exploiting the global health emergency to stoke fears of the COVID-19 vaccine and related health measures and to attack queer men. 

These anti-vax talking points are often invoked alongside AIDS-era rhetoric intended to stigmatize LGBTQ people by framing promiscuity as the primary driver of the disease and gay and bisexual men as culprits in — rather than victims of — the growing outbreak. This stigmatization has already reportedly resulted in violence against gay men.

During the last week of July, the U.S. reported both the fastest rise in and highest number of monkeypox cases worldwide, leading the Biden administration to declare a public health emergency on August 4. The virus, which is endemic in certain African countries, is usually rare in Europe and the U.S. However, the virus recently found its way to men who have sex with men (MSM), where it has proliferated primarily through sexual contact. The gay community has emphasized the need to warn about the risk the virus poses to MSM while not feeding into anti-gay rhetoric that depicts gay sexuality as immoral. 

Despite this plea from those most affected by the ongoing health crisis, right-wing media quickly responded to the spread of monkeypox with homophobia – recalling the vilification that gay men experienced during the AIDS epidemic. In addition to being impacted by the latest right-wing media smear campaign risking targeted violence against LGBTQ people, queer men are also less likely to seek medical care for monkeypox in countries where their sexuality is stigmatized.

Conservative media figures invoke COVID-19 conspiracy theories and criticism of health measures in coverage of monkeypox

From early on in their coverage of the monkeypox outbreak, right-wing media figures used the story to renew efforts to sow vaccine hesitancy and undermine COVID-19 health measures. Some far-right figures have even spread conspiracy theories that falsely assert the COVID-19 vaccine is directly responsible for the monkeypox outbreak. 

On May 24, The Daily Wire’s Candace Owens said on her show that “the first person who lines up to get a monkeypox vaccine, I’m going to laugh in your face.” Owens then suggested the World Health Organization, Bill Gates, and Dr. Anthony Fauci were involved in the spread of both diseases as part of “attempts at authoritarianism” and “globalism.” This claim coincides with the recent conservative conspiracy theory claiming the U.S. was ceding power to the WHO.

From the May 24, 2022, edition of Daily Wire’s Candace

Fox News’ Sean Hannity brought anti-vax conspiracy theorist Dr. George Fareed onto the August 8 edition of his radio show, where Fareed falsely claimed “the mass vaccination with these gene therapies, COVID vaccines, have the ability to weaken the immune system and make people more vulnerable to viral infection,” suggesting the vaccine could precipitate the spread of monkeypox. 

Far-right blog American Greatness posted an article on August 3 promoting the work of Shmuel Shapira, an Israeli scientist pushing similar claims as Fareed. The article claimed “Twitter censored Shapira” after the platform flagged a tweet of his as misinformation. Shapira’s tweet read, “It is well established the mRNA vaccines affect the natural immune system. A monkey pox outbreak following massive covid vaccination: Is not a coincidence.”

Right-wing media figures have also taken advantage of the recent health crisis to reignite their crusade against public health measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. Conservative commentators claim that a double standard exists between government reactions to monkeypox and COVID-19, ignoring differences in how the two diseases spread. 

Podcaster Steven Crowder, amid a longer homophobic rant suggesting gay men were engaging in bestiality, claimed on August 2 that COVID-19 health measures were “politically motivated” and that masking and social distancing “didn’t make any difference whatsoever.” Crowder then contrasted those measures with the fact that Pride events still took place this year despite the spread of monkeypox, saying, “They won’t even cancel their gay San Francisco fuckfest.”

From the August 2, 2022, edition of Louder with Crowder, streamed on YouTube

An article for The Federalist titled “Americans Lost Fundamental Freedoms During Covid — But Halting Gay Orgies To Stop Monkeypox Is Too Far?” bemoaned COVID lockdowns and claimed, “We shut down the world for a virus that had no traceable transmission, it was entirely random. It really isn’t too much to ask for gay men to stop engaging in orgies and public sex events for their ‘mental health,’ their ‘self-esteem,’ and to continue ‘having fun.’”

On Twitter, right-wing personalities expressed a similar sentiment. 

Alt-right troll Mike Cernovich tweeted his criticism of public health advocate Dr. Gregg Gonsalves:

Far-right YouTuber Ian Miles Cheong continued his online anti-gay tirade on monkeypox:

Right-wing radio host Dan O’Donnell similarly tweeted:

Gay men are targeted with violence while right-wing media continues to depict them as threats

After the first cases of monkeypox were found among children in the U.S., LGBTQ advocates reported right-wing figures were using the news to falsely claim that gay men were guilty of abuse. This was a part of a larger attempt by right-wing media to use the monkeypox outbreak to depict LGBTQ people as a threat to society. By attempting to evoke the sort of stigmatizing rhetoric pushed during the AIDS epidemic that frames the MSM community as vectors of disease, right-wing media is feeding a culture of prejudice that has already resulted in violence against gay men. 

The above-mentioned article from The Federalist fearmongered that “as gay men spread the virus within their population at startling rates, the chances of it escaping into the mundane world through close contact in stores, crowded streets, or buses increases,” claiming that gay and bisexual men were spreading the disease through “truly selfish behavior [that] is endangering the rest of us.”

Right-wing talk show host Erick Erickson tweeted, “‘My orgy doesn’t affect you,’ said the man who spread monkeypox to the lady who worked at the gas station. Two weeks of no orgies to stop the spread is just too much to ask.”

On Hannity’s August 8 radio show, guest Dr. Brian Tyson said the virus would “spread to the heterosexual community if we don’t get a handle on the gay community to stop the transmission,” and claimed “the CDC and the NIH, they’re afraid to come out and tell the gay community to stop having intercourse until this pandemic goes away.”

On the August 5 edition of his show, Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk characterized the government response to monkeypox as an attempt to avoid offending “the alphabet mafia” of the LGBTQ community, saying, “You can’t go after the gay community for maybe doing something they shouldn’t be doing,” before declaring he would “not live through another lockdown or an erosion of our civil liberties by a corrupt or usurpatious government because we’re afraid to offend people. Don’t care, and you shouldn’t either.”

From the August 5, 2022, edition of The Charlie Kirk Show, streamed on YouTube   

The effects of right-wing media’s misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine put their audience at serious risk. However, these conservative figures are now jeopardizing the health of millions of LGBTQ Americans as well by seeking to stigmatize their sexuality during a public health crisis.

**********************

Mia Gingerich is a researcher at Media Matters. She has a bachelor’s degree in politics and government from Northern Arizona University and has previously worked in rural organizing and local media.

********************

The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished by permission.

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Monkeypox

Monkeypox virus cases in U.S. double in two weeks: 10,768 confirmed

“To date, there have been 738 cases of monkeypox identified in L.A. County, which is double the number of cases we had 12 days ago”

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Screenshot/YouTube KABC 7 LA

LOS ANGELES – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday reported that the number of confirmed cases of the monkeypox virus has doubled in the past two weeks escalating to 10,768, the largest caseloads in the states of New York with 2,187; California with 1,892; Florida with 1,053; Georgia with 824 and Illinois with 734 cases.

In Los Angeles County, the County Health Department said that the county’s monkeypox profile is similar to the national case load increase as the disease spreads.

“To date, there have been 738 cases of monkeypox identified in L.A. County, which is double the number of cases we had 12 days ago,” said Dr. Rita Singhall of the L.A. County Public Health Department. “Additionally, there have been 33 cases reported in Long Beach and eight cases reported in Pasadena.”

On Tuesday as part of a decision by Secretary of Health & Human Services Xavier Becerra to issue a determination under Section 564 of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to justify emergency use authorization of vaccines, the FDA also ordered a new vaccine approach.

This would change injections of the JYNNEOS vaccine from the subcutaneous route (delivery of the vaccine under the fat layer underneath the skin) to the intradermal route (delivery of the vaccine into the layer of skin just underneath the top layer).

This would allow for healthcare providers to squeeze five doses out of what used to be just one dose, which the FDA said should increase the number of vaccine doses in the national stockpile from 441,000 to more than 2.2 million.

KABC reported that LADPH officials say they have received about 43,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine, three-quarters of which have already been administered.

But with more shipments expected and the FDA’s new dose splitting, county officials say they should be able to reach tens of thousands more people who are at risk of catching the virus.

“We will be able to fully vaccinate with two doses, as a two-dose series, 85,000 to 90,000 people in L.A. County,” Singhall said.

CDC Data as of Wednesday:

Alabama27
Alaska2
Arizona163
Arkansas14
California1,892
Colorado111
Connecticut57
Delaware8
District Of Columbia319
Florida1,053
Georgia824
Hawaii12
Idaho9
Illinois734
Indiana77
Iowa13
Kansas3
Kentucky11
Louisiana97
Maine3
Maryland259
Massachusetts202
Michigan82
Minnesota61
Mississippi11
Missouri19
Montana2
Nebraska14
Nevada59
New Hampshire15
New Jersey293
New Mexico16
New York2,187
North Carolina131
North Dakota2
Ohio78
Oklahoma12
Oregon95
Pennsylvania282
Puerto Rico43
Rhode Island31
South Carolina49
South Dakota2
Tennessee67
Texas815
Utah64
Vermont1
Virginia175
Washington234
West Virginia4
Wisconsin31
Wyoming0

From KABC ABC 7:

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