Ahhhh. Barnstable County, Massachusetts. To most Americans, it has no special meaning. But when the CDC strongly “recommended” everyone wear masks indoors based on what happened there this summer, shouldn’t we care about what produced the federal agency’s pandemic response?
The CDC report starts off: “During July 2021, 469 cases of COVID-19 associated with multiple summer events and large public gatherings in a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, were identified among Massachusetts residents.” The first thing that’s odd is that the CDC never mentions the town name. It’s Provincetown—considered a gay Mecca to tens of thousands of homosexual men and women. In fact, the town’s Chamber of Commerce confirms such a description stating on its website: “LGBTQA+ visitors are a major component of Provincetown’s tourism economy and continue to make Provincetown one of top GLBT destinations in the world.”
From an epidemiological standpoint, this doesn’t make that town representative of the general population at all.
Never mentioned in the CDC report is the fact that “Bear Week” was the “summer event” at the center of the spread. “Bear Week” is celebrated by Provincetown Tourism as “the largest gathering of bears [hairy and often overweight gay men] in the world” where “tens of thousands come to Provincetown during this annual [July] event.” The website proudly proclaims: “You know what you’re getting into when you attend.” By “getting into,” they mean a weeklong orgy among thousands of strangers.
But the CDC won’t tell you this. Instead, the nation’s Centers for Disease Control keeps it a secret by using the phrase “a town in Barnstable County” eight times in four pages. Mainstream media mostly refused to say it too. CBS, for instance, did a 6-minute segment and never mentions LGBT or homosexuality once. The “news” piece omits the curious fact that 87% of those infected in Provincetown were men, and of course, never reports the weeklong orgy. In the segment, Washington Post reporter Hannah Knowles makes the curious and laughable statement: “This is a story that needed to be taken in context, and not everybody got the context. And some people saw the headlines that were genuinely gamechanging.” They didn’t provide the context.
Isn’t all of the data regarding a global pandemic relevant? If the CDC is going to issue nationwide “guidance” requiring masks (that even manufacturers declare on the packaging: “do not protect from infection or prevent the spread of diseases”) shouldn’t we be given context? How do you apply behavior in a decidedly skewed demographic to the general population whose behavior is undeniably different than multiple-sex-partner-seeking partygoers (regardless of sexual orientation)? Sorry. Perhaps I should have used the CDC’s description: “adult male participants.”
But the CDC has long held a double-standard when it comes to health, as many medical associations are proudly exhibiting today. The tragic abandonment of medical objectivity has been replaced by political subjectivity. Who benefits from the confusion of language, the denial of basic biology, and the deflection of blame? As a Christian, my heart breaks for those harmed by the world’s fake news, fake health and fake dignity. Love is Love? It’s great marketing, but only God is Love. And that truth is far more enduring than a hashtag sprinkled with broken and co-opted rainbows. Love lifts people out of their circumstances. Ill-defined “love” keeps people where they are and pretends there are no circumstances.
Years ago, when I started researching and reporting on America’s STD epidemic, I quickly noticed the CDC’s capitulation on basic medical facts. The agency’s 2012 report on exponential increases in STDs among homosexual men blamed the high rates of STDs on….homophobia. So, in a society that has radically increased its acceptance of all things LGBTQ, we’re supposed to believe that homophobia explains the increase in infection rates? Rates increased for heterosexuals, too, albeit at far lower numbers. Is that due to heterophobia? Or, could it possibly be personal behavior? As with the evangelists of Critical Race Theory, someone else, some structure, some nebulous systemic evil is always to blame. Personal responsibility is anathema to those pushing poisonous political ideologies.
The CDC continues to promote the “homophobia” narrative today as STD rates skyrocket across the country and disproportionately among homosexuals. In 2019, homosexual males, although only a reported 2% of the American male population, comprised 57% of all syphilis cases in the United States. Gonorrhea rates were 42 times higher among homosexual men than heterosexual men. But don’t worry. The CDC provided cover, saying: “however, increases in rates of reported gonorrhea among MSM (men who have sex with men) appear to have slowed in the past several years.” Slowed? The rates are still 42 times higher. The CDC goes on to unmedically propagandize: “It is important to note that these disparities are unlikely explained by differences in sexual behavior.”
Oh. So, the sexual activities we engage in have zero bearing on our health outcomes and the demographic disparities that ensue? Okay. Sounds very scientific. Why, then, does it matter how we choose to behave regarding COVID? Like STDs, the (inarguably politicized) coronavirus is highly transmissible. But it couldn’t possibly be our behavior that mitigates the spread. It couldn’t be that taking (realistic and evidence-based) precautions might avoid infections.
Then how do you explain a Provincetown “outbreak” of COVID where 87% of the infected were male and 74% of the 469 reported cases were symptomatic and among the fully vaccinated?
The CDC declares on its website that “when kissing or having sex…you are physically close to another person, which can put you in contact with respiratory droplets or saliva that spread the COVID-19 virus.” The real news is how the CDC missed a golden opportunity to promote its obscured online message of monogamy and abstaining from sex with multiple partners or strangers to minimize risk of infection (which is good advice in or out of a pandemic). But that would be—what’s the word—factual. And we know how much fact-shaming is going around.
Obviously, they were social distancing and practicing safe pandemic protocols in a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts. (Insert eye roll.)
Ryan Bomberger is the Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of The Radiance Foundation. He is happily married to his best friend, Bethany, who is the Executive Director of Radiance. They are adoptive parents with four awesome kiddos. Ryan is an Emmy Award-winning creative professional, factivist, international public speaker and author of NOT EQUAL: CIVIL RIGHTS GONE WRONG. He loves illuminating that every human life has purpose.
The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.