Monkeypox Declared Public Health Emergency As Cases Surge

Monkeypox molecule seen in illustration
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News & Politics
Damir Mujezinovic

The infectious viral disease monkeypox has spread across dozens of countries, and more than 6,000 cases have been detected in the United States.

In fact, cases have been identified in every state except Montana and Wyoming, which is causing concern among policymakers and some infectious disease experts.

In response to these developments, President Joe Biden has declared monkeypox a public health emergency.

Public Health Emergency

As reported by CNN, the Biden administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency during a briefing with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The Biden administration made the announcement less than a month after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern.

According to the WHO, monkeypox may require a "coordinated international response."

Some states, including California and New York, had already declared monkeypox a public health emergency, dedicating significant resources to fighting the disease.

What Is Biden Doing?

President Joe Biden delivers remarks
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The Biden administration has faced criticism over its handling of monkeypox, with some public health experts slamming it for failing to address the issue on time.

For example, some criticized Biden and his allies for waiting more than three weeks after the first confirmed case of monkeypox in the country to order vaccines, which are stored in Denmark.

But Biden now appears determined to fight the outbreak. He named Robert Fenton as the White House's national monkeypox response coordinator and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, as his deputy.

'Inflection Point'

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf said Thursday that the U.S. is "at a critical inflection point."

"In recent days, it's become clear to all of us that given the continued spread of the virus, we're at a critical inflection point, dictating the need for additional solutions to address the rise in infection rates. The goal has always been to vaccinate as many people as possible."

Califf added that the administration will most likely allow health care providers to administer vaccines in up to five separate doses.

Who Is At Risk?

According to the CDC, around 1.7 million gay and bisexual men face the highest risk from monkeypox.

As reported by CNBC, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Thursday that HIV-positive gay and bi men need to get vaccinated against the viral disease, which has spread in the LGBTQ community.

However, Dr. Ward Carpenter, co-director of health services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, noted that "what we really want to do is get to the point where we can vaccinate everyone who wants it."