Biden administration declares monkeypox a public health emergency

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Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said Thursday he was declaring a public health emergency during the monkeypox outbreak.

“In light of the evolving circumstances on the ground, I am declaring a public health emergency on #monkeypox,” Becerra said in a statement. “We are ready to take our response to the next level fight against this virus and we urge all Americans to take monkeypox seriously.”

The monkeypox outbreak has infected more than 6,600 Americans. The emergency declaration frees up federal money and other resources to fight the virus, which can cause fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body. body. A public health emergency can be prolonged, like what happened during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), speaks during a press conference at HHS headquarters in Washington, DC, U.S., Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), speaks during a press conference at HHS headquarters in Washington, DC, U.S., Tuesday, June 28, 2022.
(Photographer: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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

MONKEYPOX INFECTIONS IN INDIA REACH 9, JUST TWO DAYS AFTER FIRST REPORTED INFECTION

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 that a disease is particularly communicable or deadly.

California, Illinois and New York all issued statements last week, as did New York, San Francisco and San Diego County.

The monkeypox virus is spread through prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact as well as sharing bedding, towels, and clothing. Health officials have stressed that the virus can infect anyone, but the people who have gotten sick so far are mostly men who have sex with men.

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Earlier this week, the Biden administration named top officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to serve as White House coordinators for the monkeypox outbreak.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.