New York becomes the second major US city to declare a health emergency over monkeypox

“We estimate that approximately 150,000 New Yorkers are currently at risk of exposure to monkeypox,” Mayor Eric Adams and Dr. Ashwin Vasan, commissioner of the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said in a statement. a joint press release. “This outbreak needs to be addressed urgently, with action and resources, both nationally and globally, and this declaration of a public health emergency reflects the gravity of the moment.”
The declaration takes effect immediately, the statement said.
It comes just a day after New York Governor Kathy Hochul issued an executive order declaring a state disaster emergency, saying “more than one in four cases of monkeypox in this country” are in the state. Among several other actions, the governor’s order increases the number of people eligible to receive monkeypox vaccines, requires providers to send vaccine data to the state health department, and will boost efforts to ongoing response, including efforts to obtain more vaccines and expand testing capacity, the governor’s office said.
Other leaders in the United States — and around the world — have sounded the alarm about monkeypox as the number of infections continues to rise and the supply of vaccines falls short of demand. Experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have stressed that the monkeypox outbreak must be taken seriously and managed more rigorously, as federal officials continue to weigh a declaration of a nationwide public health emergency. .
San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to declare a local health emergency on Thursday in a bid to bolster its preparedness and response to “rapidly rising cases” and high demand for vaccines, the city said. The declaration takes effect on Monday.
“We know this virus affects everyone equally – but we also know that members of our LGBTQ community are at greater risk right now,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “Many people in our LGBTQ community are scared and frustrated. This local emergency will allow us to continue to support our most at risk, while better preparing for what’s to come.”

In Washington, the federal government continues to monitor the response to monkeypox and will use it to determine whether to declare the outbreak a public health emergency, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra said Thursday. .

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“We will weigh any decision to declare a public health emergency based on the responses we see across the country. Ultimately, we need to stay ahead of the curve and be able to end this outbreak,” he said. he declared.

Former U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb warned earlier this month that it may be too late to contain the outbreak, telling CBS: “The window to control this and contain it has probably closed”.
Last weekend, the World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern after convening its second emergency committee on the matter.

The WHO defines a public health emergency of international concern as “an extraordinary event” which poses a “public health risk to other states through the international spread of a disease” and “which potentially requires a coordinated international response”. .

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