ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) – The Atlanta History Center has announced its full slate of events for September 2022. It’s headlined by an Author Talks event with photographer Tabitha Soren. Other Author Talks include Bill Browder and history author Jonathan Darman. There are plenty of events for school-age children as well.
WHAT: The monthly program for young toddlers returns in September with a fall focus. The event will once again include arts and crafts projects and story time. Tickets begin at $8 for children ages six and up and $15 for adults. Children from ages one to five and museum members can get in free.
WHAT: History author Jonathan Darman will join Author Talks to discuss his book Becoming FDR: The Personal Crisis that Made a President. The book chronicles how Roosevelt’s battles with polio helped create the man as he is seen in popular memory. The former Newsweek correspondent also wrote Landslide: LBJ and Ronald Reagan at the Dawn of a New America.
WHAT: This month’s Homeschool Days event focuses on how history can be learned by visiting the places where it happened. Visitors will learn how history can be examined by visiting spaces and examining objects that the people of the past lived in and used. Tickets are $9 for children four and up and $15 for adults. Members and children under three are free.
WHAT: Author Bill Browder will discuss his book Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin’s Wrath. Browder was one of Russia’s largest foreign investors until it all fell apart; his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was murdered over his attempts to uncover a $230 million tax refund scheme and Browder decided to follow the money. It led right to Vladimir Putin. Tickets are $5 for members and $10 for non-members.
Monkeypox Vaccination Offered at Atlanta Black Pride Events
Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and metro Atlanta health districts are offering monkeypox vaccinations at various locations and times during Atlanta Black Pride. A list of vaccination sites and hours of operation can be found on the DPH website. In most cases, walk-ins are welcome.
There have been more than 1,400 laboratory positive cases of monkeypox in Georgia. The majority of cases in the state and in this outbreak nationally are in men who have sex with men with sexual or close, skin-to-skin contact reported in the 21 days prior to their infection.
“Atlanta Black Pride is a time for celebration and reconnecting with friends, but we also want to ensure we are not missing the opportunity to provide important education about and vaccination for monkeypox,” said Alexander Millman, M.D., DPH chief medical officer. “DPH, along with our health districts and community partners, are working together to do everything we can to keep monkeypox from spreading so we can end this outbreak.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made 5,500 additional doses of monkeypox vaccine available to Georgia, specifically for vaccination efforts leading up to and during Atlanta Black Pride.
Monkeypox vaccinations are available throughout Georgia, at all times not just during Atlanta Black Pride, to individuals meeting the criteria.
Persons of any gender identity or sexual orientation with any of the following:
Have had multiple or anonymous sex partners with men who have sex with men in the last 14 days
Have had skin-to-skin or intimate contact (e.g., kissing, hugging) with persons who have had a rash or are suspected of having monkeypox in the last 14 days.
Have had skin-to-skin or intimate contact (e.g., kissing, hugging) with persons at large venues or events in the past 14 days.
Have engaged in commercial and/or transactional sex in the past 14 days (e.g., sex in exchange for money, shelter, food, and other goods or needs)
Are HIV positive, or on HIV PrEP, or diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the last 90 days.
“The appointments ran out within minutes of being posted online,” he said.
“I’ve definitely heard from dozens of people with similar experiences,” he added.
Local county health departments have been periodically posting dates and times where a link goes live with new appointments, but their websites often crash as vaccine seekers flood the page and hundreds of slots get filled up within minutes.
Meanwhile, Jones and others continue to look for the shots as officials on the local, state and federal levels play catchup to try and contain the spread of an often misunderstood disease.
And the outbreak is — so far — disproportionately affecting Black gay and bisexual men in particular, as the world’s largest Black Pride event comes to Atlanta in a few weeks.
Underordered vaccines and delayed declarations
The first monkeypox case of the current outbreak was confirmed in the United Kingdom on May 6. The Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first monkeypox case in the U.S. — in Massachusetts — on May 17. The Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed the first monkeypox case of the 2022 outbreak in the state on June 6.
But as of July 22, the state of Georgia had requested less than half of its Phase 1 and 2 allotments of nearly 14,000 JYNNEOS vaccine doses from the Strategic National Stockpile, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Every other state with the top 10 highest number of cases besides Georgia had requested more than 100% of their allotment by that point.
By then, the mostly gay and bisexual men that the outbreak was affecting were already searching county health departments and nonprofits across metro Atlanta for the vaccine and coming up empty.
Nancy Nydam, a spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Public Health, told WABE that they didn’t request the full allotment earlier because they wanted to stagger the shipments to local providers, who Nydam said have limited storage for the vaccine. GDPH had requested their full allotment from the national stockpile as of July 27, Nydam added.
Compounding the problem was a shortage of available monkeypox vaccines on the federal level, an issue many public health experts have pinned on the Biden administration. The shortage was caused in part by the Department of Health and Human Services’ delay in asking that bulk stocks of vaccine it already owned be bottled for distribution, according to administration officials who spoke to the New York Times.
The Biden administration declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency on Aug. 4, which the head of the National Coalition of STD Directors called “long overdue.” The World Health Organization issued a similar declaration nearly two weeks earlier. The declaration unlocks additional funding and flexibility and raises awareness about the issue.
“For nearly three months, STI clinics have been alone on the front lines of this outbreak, fighting a battle to keep their communities safe without the necessary resources to adequately treat their patients, prevent further infection or enough access vaccines,” NCSD Executive Director David Harvey said in a statement. “HHS’s declaration of a public health emergency is the right thing to do and we applaud their actions. It’s about time.”
Racial disparity worries event organizer, public health experts
Every Labor Day Weekend, tens of thousands of people from across the world descend on Atlanta for Atlanta Black Pride. Attendees can be found at a festival in Piedmont Park, workshops and parties throughout the city that weekend.
But the disproportionate impact of the monkeypox outbreak on Black gay and bisexual men has Atlanta Black Pride organizer Tyai Green “extremely concerned.” There are 775 reported cases of monkeypox in Georgia as of Aug. 10, according to GDPH. Nearly all of those cases are gay and bisexual men, and over 80% are Black.
“We are the largest Black Pride in the world, and that could get majorly out of hand for the Black LGBT community,” Green said of the outbreak. “If they don’t have the proper knowledge and take the proper precautions, there could be catastrophic damage.”
Green said that up until early August, there hadn’t been enough outreach from the CDC and the Georgia Department of Public Health to local Black gay and bisexual men about testing, treatment and a vaccine. But it’s picked up since then.
“What we’ve found is information is key to prevention,” he said. “We don’t want a repeat of COVID.”
Daniel Driffin is the co-founder of the Atlanta-based HIV nonprofit THRIVE SS and a public health doctoral candidate at Georgia State University. He said the demographics of the monkeypox outbreak expose the racial inequities present in health care.
“It is a travesty and crime that more than 80% of the affected are Black,” he said. “With Black Gay Pride approaching Atlanta, local boards of health, [the] Department of Public Health, community organizations and Black Pride vendors should be convening right now to implement pop-up viral testing for monkeypox, COVID-19, HIV and hepatitis C. Similar efforts are needed for vaccination sites.”
“We can do better, we must do better,” he added.
While monkeypox is rarely fatal, Ralph Jones said that the outbreak, the most affected population and the government response bring up memories of the early days of a different infection.
“For LGBTQ people, our community’s collective reaction to this moment has to be colored by the memory of an entire generation that was lost to government inactions in the face of the AIDS public health crisis that disproportionately affected gay and bisexual men,” he said. “So, this is certainly something that holds additional weight for us.”
More doses on the way to Georgia
The Georgia Department of Public Health has received and distributed the full Phase 1 and 2 allocations of nearly 14,000 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine, according to Nydam. But it’s a two-dose vaccine (given four weeks apart), so that will only cover about 7,000 people.
The Phase 3 allocation is about 34,000 doses and will be available over the next four to six weeks. But the Department of Health and Human Services allowed GDPH to order only up to 40% of that allocation — or about 13,600 doses — right away, according to Nydam. Those doses have been received and are being distributed to health departments and community-based organizations statewide.
GDPH will be allowed to order about another 10,000 doses this week. They recommend that people most at risk of the disease contact their local health department for information about testing and vaccine availability.
The governors of New York, California and Illinois — which have three of the six highest numbers of monkeypox cases in the U.S. — declared states of emergency to fight the outbreak.
A spokesperson for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp told WABE that the monkeypox outbreak is “a top concern” for the governor, but he won’t be declaring a state of emergency at this time.
“While we can’t speak to California or Illinois’ particular laws or needs, nor those of any other state that may or may not issue an emergency declaration of this kind, we can say that there is nothing a new state of emergency order would do for Georgians that isn’t already being done,” said Andrew Isenhour, Kemp’s deputy director of communications.
Sources: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Georgia Department of Public Health
What are the symptoms? A rash on or near the genitals, anus, hands, feet, chest, face or mouth; fever; chills; swollen lymph nodes; exhaustion; muscle aches and backache; headache; and/or respiratory symptoms.
How long do symptoms last? Symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure and typically last two to four weeks.
How does it spread? Through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact including direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs or bodily fluids from a person with monkeypox; touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding or towels) and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox. Contact with respiratory secretions.
Is it a sexually transmitted infection? Monkeypox is not considered an STI, but sex is one of the ways that it can be spread.
Does it only affect certain people based on sexual orientation or race? No. Anyone can get monkeypox.
How can it be prevented? Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox. Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used. Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
Where can I get a vaccine? There is a shortage of vaccines locally and nationwide, but check with your local county health department for availability. You do not have to be a resident of the county to get a vaccine there, but priority is currently being given to those most impacted by the outbreak so far. Community-based organizations such as Positive Impact Health Centers, A Vision 4 Hope and AID Atlanta are also good resources.
What should I do if I think I have monkeypox? Stay home and call your medical provider or local health department for additional guidance. Testing for monkeypox can only be done if a person has a rash, bumps or sores. If you test positive, you should quarantine until the rash has fully healed, any scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed. This can take up to two to four weeks.
Southern-Fried Gaming Expo When: July 15-17 Where: Marriott Renaissance Waverly (at Cobb Galleria) Cost:Tickets start at $30 Details: Experience the world of gaming in a whole new way at this expo featuring guest speakers, tournaments, vendors and a range of games from modern consoles to retro systems to tabletop to pinball.
The Atlanta Kick Back When: July 16 Where: Georgia International Convention Center, College Park Cost: Free Details: Meet bestselling authors and fellow readers at this annual book festival hosted by book club 556 Book Chics. See the full list of authors here.
The Incredible Book Eating Boy When: July 13 to August 14 Where: Alliance Theatre, Midtown Cost: $5-$15 Details: See the world premiere of this family-friendly show, based off the Oliver Jeffers book of the same name. A boy with a distaste for words finds he can get smarter by eating books instead of reading them.
Chattahoochee River Hike and Beer Tasting When: July 14 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Where: Pontoon Brewing Company, Sandy Springs Cost: Admission starts at $40; must be 21 or older Details: Explore local parks and brews with this hike, hosted by REI, followed by drinks. Register online before attending.
Stamp and Scrapbook Expo When: July 15-17 Where: Gas South Convention Center, Duluth Cost: Admission starts at $10 Details: It’s time to get crafty! Celebrate the art of scrapbooking and collage while building your skills with this three-day event.
ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) – Cars lined up for miles on Saturday for the King’s Table Food Distribution and Gas Card Giveaway event just in time for Easter.
This massive event was held at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Stonecrest. Attendees got a bag of food and a $50 gas card. Several community partners came together to help make this a successful event.
Fridges are also full for some families in Powder Springs after Linked Up Church gave away $20,000 in groceries on a first-come, first-served basis. Families also enjoyed carnival rides and community engagement.
The congregation says it’s part of an Easter celebration, and each person got a $50 grocery gift card.
“Times are challenging right now for people, of course, inflation is at an all-time high. This is resurrection weekend, and we couldn’t think of a better way to show people God’s love by helping them at a time when inflation is extremely high,” said Joel Gregory, Lead Pastor at Linked Up Church.
The church also held a free gospel concert on Good Friday and they’re hosting two Easter services on Sunday as well.
Looking for something to do with your dearly beloved over Valentine’s Day weekend? We’ve got suggestions.
Orchid Daze at Atlanta Botanical Garden
Artist Kristine Mays’ life-sized, three-dimensional sculptures will be set among the blooming orchids in the warm, vibrant tropical landscape of the Fuqua Orchid Center Feb. 12 through April 10. The figures will rise from carpets of golden Dancing Lady orchids as delicate moth orchids hover in the background and long strands of exuberant Vandas encircle them. Get tickets and details at atlantabg.org.
Cupid’s Undie Run
On Feb. 12, hundreds of people in Atlanta will brave the weather in just their undies during Cupid’s Undie Run, the nation’s largest pantless party and run for charity. The event raises awareness of neurofibromatosis (NF), a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body, and fundraises for NF research through the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF).More information regarding the event can be found at this link.
‘Romeo & Juliet’ at RoleCall Theater
Nothing says I love you like drinking poison! Featuring seven actors and their trademark fast-paced, energetic style, the RoleCall Shakespeare cast is performing the famous tragedy now through Feb. 26. Tickets are available here.
Buckhead Village’s Valentine’s Day Block Party
Guests are invited to celebrate on Feb. 12 from noon to 4 p.m. with live music from Lilac Wine, treats from Saint Germain Bakery, and a complimentary stem from Pinker Times.
Mad Hatter’s (Gin &) Tea Party
For something a bit more curious, this 90-minute immersive experience at Underground Atlanta takes you down the rabbit hole to the world of “Alice in Wonderland.” Featuring three carefully curated cocktails created by expert mixologists, these libations help to enhance Lewis Carroll’s classic story as it comes to life around you. Go ask Alice or visit madhatterginteaparty.com/atlanta.
This immersive art installation at Centennial Yards, lights up 20 acres with vibrant bands of LEDs, including pulsating red hearts, is happening now through March 4. Projected nightly from 7-11 p.m. throughout the space on artwork and nearby bridges and buildings, the experience created by Dash Studio is free and open to the public. Visitors can access and interact with the artwork on their mobile devices by clicking on QR Codes posted along streets and bridges surrounding Mercedes -Benz Stadium or State Farm Arena or by going to heartbeatatl.com.
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Andre Bocelli and the ASO will perform together at State Farm Arena on Feb. 10. Then On Feb. 10, 12, and 13, Dmitry Sinkovsky will demonstrates his skill by conducting the orchestra while playing Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto, Il favorito, and then using his countertenor to duet with soprano Georgia Jarman. On Feb. 14, Drew and Ellie Holcomb bring the “You and Me Tour” to Symphony Hall. Get tickets and details at aso.org.
Joe Gransden Valentines Quintet
A swinging, yet intimate, evening of Sinatra-style music led by trumpeter and vocalist Joe Gransden on Feb. 12 at Napoleon’s in Decatur. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the shows at 8:30. Seating is limited. Get tickets here.
The West Midtown hotel is offering a couples getaway package for the weekend, which includes breakfast for two, a bottle of champagne, flowers, and late checkout. Make your reservations at bellyardhotel.com.
ATL Collective ‘Love Deluxe’
Some of Atlanta’s favorite musicians will gather to perform Sade’s classic album “Love Deluxe” in its entirety plus other hits on Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. at City Winery at Ponce City Market. For tickets and info, visit atlcollective.org.
A romantic Valentine’s Day dinner is always a winner and many of Atlanta’s restaurants will be serving up special menus and cocktails for the day, including a five or six-course tasting menu at O-ku, a special four-course prix fixe dinner at The Betty, free bubble tea with the purchase of pho at Vietvana in Ponce City Market, The Blind Cupid pop-up bar in Buckhead, and four-course prix fixe dinner at 5Church in Midtown. You can find more Valentine’s Day suggestions at Open Table.