Biden administration declares public health emergency in response to growing cases of monkeypox

On Thursday, the Biden administration declared the monkeypox a public health emergency. Since the beginning of May, over 6,000 cases of Monkeypox have been confirmed across the United States.

“In light of evolving circumstances on the ground, I am declaring a public health emergency on monkeypox,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra wrote on Twitter Thursday.

“We are prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus,” he added, urging “every American to take monkeypox seriously.”

A formal declaration has yet to be finalized, however it is in the works, and will be posted on the HHS’ website.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky applauded the decision, noting that her agency could now “take critical actions more quickly” to “better meet the demands of the outbreak.”

The federal government’s move to declare a public health emergency follows similar actions taken by other nations, as well as the World Health Organization.

According to the Washington Post, 1.6 million Americans have been identified as being among those with the highest risk of contracting Monkeypox, however just 550,000 doses of the only FDA approved vaccine are available. Plans are being formulated to ensure that the US has enough doses to cover those who need it most.

On Tuesday, Robert J. Fenton was tapped to become the Biden administration’s monkeypox response coordinator.

He noted that declaring an emergency will allow the government to “explore additional strategies to get vaccines and treatments more quickly out in the affected communities.”

New York and California currently make up nearly half of all cases, with Illinois, Texas, Florida, and Georgia not far behind with more than 500 each.

The majority of cases have been detected in men who have sex with other men, a trend that has been mirrored in other nations.

In Canada, over 99 percent of those who have contracted Monkeypox are male, and the median age was thirty-six years.

Less than 1 percent of cases have been reported in females or people under twenty years of age.

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