UNITED STATES

US to declare health emergency over monkeypox outbreak

Aug 4, 2022, 12:49 PM | Updated: 12:50 pm
Two people have died in the U.S. carrying the monkeypox virus, the cases are still under investigat...
FILE - A health care worker prepares a monkeypox vaccine in Montreal, Saturday, July 23, 2022. Nearly 800,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine will soon be available for U.S. distribution, U.S. health regulators said Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
(Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. will declare a public health emergency to bolster the federal response to the monkeypox outbreak that has infected more than 6,600 Americans, two people familiar with the matter said Thursday.

The announcement will free up federal money and other resources to fight the virus, which may cause fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity ahead of an official announcement.

The declaration comes as the the Biden administration has faced criticism over monkeypox vaccine availability. Clinics in major cities such as New York and San Francisco say they haven’t received enough of the two-shot vaccine to meet demand, and some have had to stop offering the second dose to ensure supply of first doses.

The White House said it has made more than 1.1 million doses available and has helped to boost domestic diagnostic capacity to 80,000 tests per week.

The monkeypox virus spreads through prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact, including hugging, cuddling and kissing, as well as sharing bedding, towels and clothing. The people who have gotten sick so far have been primarily men who have sex with men. But health officials emphasize that the virus can infect anyone.

The announcement comes three days after the Biden administration named top officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to serve as the White House coordinators to combat the monkeypox outbreak.

News of the expected declaration was first reported Thursday by Politico.

Such a declaration is an important — and overdue — step, said Lawrence Gostin, a public health law expert at Georgetown University.

“It signals the U.S. government’s seriousness and purpose, and sounds a global alarm,” he said.

Under a declaration by the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency can draw from emergency funds, hire or reassign staff to deal with the outbreak, and take other steps to control the virus.

A public health emergency can be extended, similar to what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gostin said the U.S. government has been too cautious and should have declared a nationwide emergency earlier. Public health measures to control outbreaks have increasingly faced legal challenges in recent years, but Gostin didn’t expect that to happen with monkeypox.

“It is a textbook case of a public health emergency,” Gostin said. “It’s not a red or a blue state issue. There is no political opposition to fighting monkeypox.”

The government’s decision comes after others have made similar declarations.

Last week, the World Health Organization called monkeypox a public health emergency, with cases in more than 70 countries. A global emergency is WHO’s highest level of alert, but the designation does not necessarily mean a disease is particularly transmissible or lethal.

California, Illinois and New York have all made declarations in the last week, as have New York City, San Francisco and San Diego County.

Today’s Top Stories

United States

The US Senate has passed a bill protecting same-sex and interracial marriage. It now returns to the...
Ali Zaslav and Ted Barrett

Senate passes bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriage in landmark vote

The bill does not set a national requirement that all states must legalize same-sex marriage. Instead, it requires states to recognize another state's legal marriage.
1 day ago
FILE: Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes appears on a video screen above members of the Select Com...
LINDSAY WHITEHURST, ALANNA DURKIN RICHER and MICHAEL KUNZELMAN

Oath Keepers boss guilty of seditious conspiracy in 1/6 case

A Washington, D.C., jury found Rhodes guilty of sedition after three days of deliberations in the the nearly two-month-long trial
1 day ago
The USA has beaten Iran at the World Cup and advances into the Knockout Round....
Matias Grez

USMNT advances to World Cup knockout stage with victory over Iran

Christian Pulisic's first-half goal was all that separated the two sides as the USMNT reached the round of 16 for the first time since 2014.
1 day ago
People wait in line to enter Macy's department store during Black Friday in New York City on Novemb...
Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

Online Black Friday sales set a new record

Online shopping is expected to remain strong through Cyber Monday.
2 days ago
U.S. First lady Jill Biden receives the official 2022 White House Christmas Tree at the White House...
Kate Bennett, CNN

First lady Jill Biden chooses ‘We the People’ as holiday theme

Biden will officially unveil the holiday decorations and make remarks on Monday alongside leadership of the National Guard and their families.
2 days ago
Travelers at Salt Lake City International Airport. (KSL-TV)...
Aimee Cobabe

Utah travelers can expect crowds and delays

Utah traveler may run into delays while travelling for the holidays. Utah roads will see many travelers and the highways will see a heavier commute.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
US to declare health emergency over monkeypox outbreak