October 6, 2022

California and Illinois declared health emergencies Monday due to the continued spread of monkeypox, the latest jurisdictions to marshal new resources to try to contain the disease.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said the statement would help officials coordinate a “whole-of-government response to monkeypox, seek additional vaccines and lead outreach and education efforts to access vaccines and treatment.” .

“California is working urgently at all levels of government to slow the spread of monkeypox, leveraging our robust testing, contact tracing and community partnerships strengthened during the pandemic to ensure those most at risk are our focus for vaccines, treatment and outreach,” he said. Newsom. “We will continue to work with the federal government to secure more vaccines, raise awareness about risk reduction, and stand with the LGBTQ community fighting stigma.”

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) did the same on Monday, saying the state of emergency would allow officials to “expand resources and coordinate efforts of state agencies to respond, treat and prevent the spread.”

“We’ve seen this virus disproportionately affect the LGBTQ+ community in its initial spread,” Pritzker he said in a statement. “In Illinois, we will ensure that our LGBTQ+ community has the resources they need to stay safe while ensuring that members are not stigmatized as they access critical health care.”

States are the latest to declare monkeypox a health emergency. New York State did so last week, saying the disease posed an immediate public health risk. And San Francisco Mayor London Breed did the same for the city, saying residents need more support from the federal government to protect those at risk. New York followed suit this weekend.

There are growing calls for the Biden administration to declare monkeypox a public health emergency, but officials have so far declined to do so. The New York Times reports say federal health officialsunlike the initial spread of COVID-19, monkeypox is a known virus with tests, vaccines and treatments already available.

The Food and Drug Administration has cleared an additional 800,000 doses of vaccine for distribution across the country, greatly expanding the supply for vulnerable communities. However, it is feared that even these shipments will not meet the high demand.

The World Health Organization has already declared the virus a global health emergency, noting that the outbreak has already spread more than 70 countries.

More than 5,800 cases of monkeypox have been reported in the US since the outbreak began in May, in nearly every state, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California and New York were initially hotbeds of new cases, but infections have risen into the hundreds in many places, including Illinois, Texas, Florida and Georgia. The official figures are almost certainly undercounted, according to public health experts.

Monkey pox is spread mainly through close physical contact. Most cases so far have been among men who have sex with men, but public health officials have stressed that anyone can become infected.

No deaths have been reported so far in the US, but some patients have reported severe pain due to the rash caused by the virus.

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