The United States on Thursday, 4 August, declared monkeypox a public health emergency in order to free up more funds and increase data gathering.
We urge every American to take monkeypox seriously and to take responsibility to help us tackle this virus, said US Health and Human Services secretary.
“We are prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously,” Xavier Becerra, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), told reporters during a briefing on Thursday.
The declaration, which is initially effective for 90 days but can be renewed, came as nationwide cases topped 6,600 on Thursday, around a quarter of them from New York state.
“We continue to marshal forward the tools that we need to make sure that we can take on monkeypox and keep it from spreading to the point of becoming endemic,” Becerra said Thursday, adding, “There should be no reason why we can’t stay ahead of this if we all work together.”
Gregg Gonsalves, an expert in policy modeling on infectious disease and substance use from Yale University, called Becerra “a liar” on his official twitter page on Wednesday after the HHS secretary touted the authority had “made vaccines, tests and treatments well beyond the numbers that are currently needed, available to all jurisdictions who manage their public health systems.”
“Unfortunately, delayed actions mean monkeypox has spread within the gay community and among other men who have sex with men,” David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, told the Guardian on Monday.
“This outbreak has grown to be a public health crisis in America. We are still in a very chaotic situation at the state and local level with an organized response,” he said.