Andy Cohen is using his platform to spread an important message about the monkeypox virus.
During Monday’s taping of Watch What Happens Livethe 54-year-old host spoke directly to his gay male audience about the importance of vigilance during the monkeypox outbreak, which has disproportionately affected gay and bisexual men.
“Monkeypox cases have increased so dramatically in New York City that Mayor Eric Adams issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency today,” Cohen explained. “After an abysmal response from our government so far, I hope this new order will help our leaders address this threat and push the federal government to develop much-needed resources, such as vaccines, which have been very difficult to be achieved. .”
Things took a somber turn when the host spoke directly to his queer male audience.
“I want to talk to my gay brothers for a minute,” he began. “We have to take this seriously because this is affecting us at much higher rates than others right now, so be aware, get vaccinated if you can and please — I know it’s summer and we all have COVID fatigue — but please be safe. Don’t take unnecessary risks. I know it’s summer, but keep it locked up.’
“At the same time,” he continued, “I call on everyone in government and the media not to stigmatize our community, which is already under attack by many who would rather use us as a scapegoat than help us. You’re not a gay man, you might think this doesn’t affect you now, but that’s everyone’s problem because as we’ve learned from very recent history: If we don’t act now, these things can get much worse very quickly.”
Cohen’s video has drawn a growing number of commenters praising the host for speaking candidly about the issue to his audience.
“THANK U ANDY,” wrote fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, while actor Russell Tovey added the two hands in the air emoji.
“Thank you Andy, for such a clear and caring message,” wrote one fan, while another added: “Not many people are speaking out about this new threat to our health. Thank you Andy. Stay safe everyone. ” Another comment read: “Fantastic Andy! So thank you for using your platform for this PSA.”
The need for such a message is obvious: As of Aug. 1, there have been 5,811 confirmed cases of smallpox in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vast majority of which are men who have sex with men.
While there has been criticism from LGBTQ activists about the government’s lack of vaccine planning and distribution, monkeypox has continued to spread to other American cities — and not just to gay and bisexual men.
As ABC News reports, at least four children in the US have now tested positive for monkeypox.
Meanwhile, California and New York have officially declared monkeypox a state of emergency. According to the New York City health department, approximately 150,000 New Yorkers may “currently be at risk of exposure to monkeypox.”
In California, the Associated Press reports, nearly 800 cases of monkeypox have been reported in the state, according to state public health officials. To date, the state has received more than 61,000 doses of vaccines and distributed more than 25,000.
Although monkeypox is rarely fatal, India has just reported one death and Spain has reported two, raising concerns. People usually recover within weeks, although the lesions and blisters caused by the virus are extremely painful, especially when they appear in the throat or anus.
At this time, according to the CDC, it is not known whether it can be transmitted through semen or vaginal fluids. It is known, however, that people who do not have symptoms of monkeypox cannot spread the virus to others.