In response to the monkeypox outbreak, which has infected more than 7,100 Americans, the federal government declared a public health emergency Thursday. In addition to freeing up money and other resources, the announcement should also help reduce the spread of the virus, which can cause fevers, body aches, chills, fatigue, and pimple-like bumps on many body parts.
United States federal government declared a public health emergency over the monkeypox outbreak that infected over seventy-one hundred Americans. After the announcement, the government will free up money and other resources to combat the virus. #monkeypox #publichealthemergency pic.twitter.com/5mFBqyMPbr
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Xavier Becerra, head of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, said, “We are prepared to take our responsibility to the next level against monkeypox.” The announcement comes as the Biden administration comes under criticism over the availability of monkeypox vaccines. The number of two-shot vaccines available in major cities like New York and San Francisco has not been enough to meet demand, and some clinics have had to stop offering second doses for supply purposes.
Who is susceptible to the monkeypox infection?
In addition to making 1.1 million doses available, the White House has increased the number of tests conducted at the domestic level to 80,000 per week. As well as shared bedding, towels, and clothes, the monkeypox virus can spread through prolonged skin-to-skin contact, such as hugging, cuddling, and kissing. Until now, most people who have fallen ill have been men who have sex with men. Nevertheless, health officials reiterate that anyone is susceptible to infection.
Until now, no one in the United States has died of monkeypox. However, other countries have reported a few deaths as well. To combat monkeypox, the Biden government appointed top officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) so that they could coordinate White House efforts.
In response to the declaration, HHS can draw on emergency funds, hire or reassign staff, and take other measures to combat the outbreak. In addition, according to the announcement, state and local health officials should be asked to provide more information about who is becoming infected and who is being vaccinated so that the federal government can seek more information. That information can give a better understanding of the outbreak and the vaccine’s effectiveness.
Rather than being conservative, Gostin believes the government should have declared a national emergency earlier. Recent years have seen increasing legal challenges to public health measures to control outbreaks, but Gostin didn’t expect that to happen with monkeypox.
He noted that a public health emergency could be extended, as was the case during the Coronavirus pandemic. As the virus begins to spread rapidly, as well as the limited availability of Jynneos, the two-dose vaccine considered the main weapon against the disease, the current response is urgent.