White House declares a monkeypox emergency, The epidemic of monkeypox has been deemed a public health emergency by the White House: More than 6,600 cases have been verified in the United States; the vast majority of these illnesses have occurred in men who identify as gay or bisexual.
After the total number of infections in the United States reached 6,617 on Thursday afternoon, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a public health emergency due to the ongoing monkeypox outbreak.
During a press conference, Secretary Xavier Becerra broke the news that the situation had been upgraded to an emergency, stating that he was ready to take the response “to the next level” and encouraging every American to “take monkeypox seriously.”
Since the outbreak began three weeks ago, the number of cases has increased by more than one hundred per day. The director of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky, admitted today that health officials do not know whether this is because the virus is rapidly spreading or because older infections are being picked up.
She stated that the country only utilized 10 percent of its testing capability, equivalent to 1,000 of the 10,000 swabs per day, and she demanded that more swabs be sent to labs.
The designation by the federal government comes after the states of New York, California, and Illinois — which are experiencing the most widespread outbreaks — all announced their public health emergencies one week before the federal declaration. After reports of the virus being found in 70 countries where it is not considered endemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) decided two weeks ago to declare an international public health emergency.
After at least five cases of monkeypox were confirmed in children, who are more susceptible to developing catastrophic diseases due to the virus, there is a “great concern” that the virus could spread to more vulnerable individuals. The virus is transmitted by direct physical contact.
The response of federal officials to the virus so far has been criticized for being too slow, as this has allowed the virus to potentially spread unchecked for weeks before widening access to testing and rolling out vaccines to the general population. At the moment, the nation can carry out a maximum of 80,000 monkeypox tests every single week.