Monkey See, Monkey Quarantine: California Gets Serious About The Pox


You’ve been vaccinated, right?

You might want to rethink your commute plans, especially if it involves public transportation and close-quartered shared space. Given that monkeypox spreads through close contact, California is following in the footsteps of New York and Illinois and declaring a public state of emergency. Other states with large populations are likely to follow their lead.

[California Gov. Gavin Newsom] said the emergency declaration would help support the state’s vaccination efforts. Demand for the vaccines has outstripped supply as infections rise. Staff at sexual health clinics and other sites have struggled to keep up with the influx of people seeking the shots…Monkeypox is rarely fatal and no deaths have been reported in the U.S so far. But some patients suffer excruciating pain from the rash caused by the virus. Scientists and public health officials are worried monkeypox could circulate permanently in the U.S. if the outbreak isn’t contained.

This is a big deal. And it is important to recognize it as such — the people you’d expect to are already doing their hardest to minimize the threat monkeypox poses by rehashing as much rhetoric from the 1980’s HIV/AIDS epidemic as they can manage.

Isn’t it great to know that this is one of the people who will be representing the nation? This is of course not true, and it is important for folks to share correct information as legal remedies are used to protect our vulnerable — our children, especially.

Rampant misinformation aside, I think that our response to monkeypox will be different from how we responded to COVID. Remember the beginning of COVID? People thought it was a hoax, then they thought it was caused by 5G phone towers (no, really), then it became a mark of martyrship to not wear masks. Responses to COVID were mitigated by our need to appear individualistic at any cost. Sacrificing mUh LibErTieS so that Gram Gram doesn’t die from a cough? She’s lived long enough. But monkeypox? People will listen because the stakes are more important than one million lives lost.

People will listen for their vanity’s sake. Call me callous all you want, but considering we’re at the point where a lot of people are depending on corporations to protect once basic civil liberties, wagering that our base interests will keep us protected might be the optimistic response. What else can we bank on — you can’t expect people to wash their hands.

California Declares A State Of Emergency Over Monkeypox Outbreak, Following New York And Illinois [CNBC]

Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s.  He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at and by tweet at @WritesForRent.