I quite liked this recent article from Kelsey Piper. (Note: I'm link-posting this because I think link-posting can be useful.)

A few excerpts from the article: 

There are some solid epidemiological reasons to conclude that monkeypox doesn’t pose the same threat to the world that Covid-19 did in 2020. But instead of condemning alarmism, experts should acknowledge the many reasons for that alarm. The world is horribly vulnerable to the next pandemic, we know it will hit at some point, and the undetected spread of monkeypox around the world until there were dozens of cases in non-endemic countries — despite the fact it typically has low transmissibility — shows how profoundly we’ve failed to learn the lessons from Covid-19 we need to avoid a catastrophic repeat.


Many of the biggest missteps of the last few years have happened when our public health and communications institutions have tried to manage public reactions to what they have to say: from Fauci saying that he dismissed mask-wearing early on in the pandemic out of fears of causing mass panic, to worries that endorsing booster shots (even as the evidence grew they were needed) would make the vaccines look bad, to the FDA’s earlier seeming reluctance to authorize vaccines for children under age 5, despite data justifying it, out of concerns that authorizing Pfizer and Moderna at different times would confuse the public.

In general, I’d like to see public health officials step back entirely from trying to manage our feelings about outbreaks. Don’t tell us to worry or not to worry, or not to worry yet. Don’t tell us to worry about something else instead. Tell us what measures are being taken to contain the monkeypox outbreak, and prevent the next monkeypox outbreak, and prevent the next outbreak of something much, much worse than monkeypox. By all means, explain the reasons to think monkeypox is likely not very transmissible; that’s important information you have relevant expertise on, unlike trying to manage the public’s feelings.


Once you have the accurate facts about monkeypox — and about the risk of pandemics generally — whether you’re worried by those facts isn’t really a question for the CDC.



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What is this article in response to?

Here in Israel, the only communication by the ministry of health regarding monkeypox is about confirmed cases and increasing awareness and alertness for the symptoms.

And this has actually led to (in my opinion) too much worrying in the public - I've found myself having to tell friends repeatedly about the useful info in this other Vox article about why monkeypox isn't that worrying.

Huh, interesting example of "should you reverse any advice you hear?". I have mostly encountered US articles in which CDC, etc experts are quoted telling the public unhelpful things like "very few people have monkeypox in the US right now" and "there's no evidence this variant is more transmissible" and "don't panic". 

To be clear, though, I don't think EAs should worry about monkeypox more than they currently are - EAs are already pretty aware that pandemics can be very bad and in favor of doing more to detect them early, understand how exponential growth works, and are in a pretty functional  information ecosystem where they'll hear about monkeypox if it becomes a matter of greater personal safety concern or if we get to the point where it's a good idea for people to get smallpox vaccinations.

I wont soon forget the "there is no evidence that masks work unless you're a healthcare worker" (roughly approximated) type statements. It can often be difficult to distinguish between dishonesty and incompetence; however, the guidance on masks was excessively unreasonable to be explained by ignorance alone and demonstrated the folly in carelessly deferring to experts (ie, even if they're more intelligent or educated, they may be lying to you).