UNITED STATES

US to declare health emergency over monkeypox outbreak

Aug 4, 2022, 12:49 PM | Updated: 12:50 pm
monkeypox vaccine...
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

powell plane crash...
Associated Press

Investigation continues after plane plunges into Lake Powell, killing 2

The plane with seven people aboard reportedly was submerged in the lake after the crash on Saturday.
1 day ago
The Lyons recall affects Oatly and other popular brands. A selection of Oatly is pictured...
Samantha Herrera

Voluntary recall affects popular brands, Oatly, Premier Protein, Ensure

The voluntary Lyons Magnus recall is due to the products not meeting sterility specifications.
4 days ago
Former President Donald Trump is pictured....
Katelyn Polantz, Zachary Cohen, Sara Murray and Marshall Cohen, CNN

FBI took 11 sets of classified documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, including some highly classified material

The search warrant identifies three federal crimes that the DOJ is looking at as part of its investigation, which includes violations of the Espionage Act.
4 days ago
Polio US 2022...
The Associated Press

Polio detected in NYC’s sewage, suggesting virus circulating

State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett says the detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in New York City is alarming but not surprising.
4 days ago
electronic plane...
Jackie Wattles, CNN Business

United Airlines puts $10 million into plan to shuttle customers by electric aircraft

The United investment in California-based Archer could help the company get the first of its four-seater helicopters in operation by 2024.
4 days ago
garland unseal Trump...
Tierney Sneed, CNN

Merrick Garland says FBI files motion to unseal Trump Mar-a-Lago warrant

The move comes after days of silence from the Justice Department regarding the search, as is the department's practice for ongoing investigations.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

US to declare health emergency over monkeypox outbreak