California and Illinois declared health emergencies on Monday over the continued spread of the monkeypox virus, the latest jurisdictions to mobilize new resources to try to contain the disease.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said the announcement will help officials coordinate “a whole-of-government response to monkeypox, pursue additional vaccines, and lead advocacy and education efforts on access to vaccines and treatments.”
“California is working urgently at all levels of government to slow the spread of monkeypox, leveraging our enhanced testing, contact tracing and community partnerships during the pandemic to ensure those most at risk are our vaccines, treatments and outreach The focus of the work,” said Newsom. “We will continue to work with the federal government to ensure access to more vaccines, raise awareness for risk reduction, and stand with the LGBTQ community against stigma.”
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) did the same on Monday, saying the state of emergency would allow officials to “expand the resources and coordinated efforts of state agencies to respond, treat and prevent the spread of the virus.”
“We’ve seen this virus disproportionately impact the LGBTQ+ community in its initial spread,” Pritzker Say in a statement. “In Illinois, we will ensure our LGBTQ+ community has the resources it needs to stay safe, while ensuring members are not stigmatized when accessing critical healthcare.”
These states are the latest to declare monkeypox a health emergency. New York state did so last week, saying the disease posed an imminent threat to public health. San Francisco Mayor London Breed has done the same for the city, saying residents need more federal support to protect those at risk. New York City followed suit this weekend.
There have been growing calls for a Biden administration to declare monkeypox a public health emergency, but officials have so far refused to do so. The New York Times reports federal health officials sayUnlike the initial spread of COVID-19, monkeypox is a known virus for which testing, vaccines and treatments are already available.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved an additional 800,000 doses of the vaccine for distribution across the country, greatly increasing the supply to vulnerable communities. But there are concerns that even these goods will not be able to meet high demand.
The World Health Organization has declared the virus a global health emergency, noting that the outbreak has spread to more than 70 countries.
more than 5,800 monkeypox cases According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly every state in the U.S. has reported the outbreak since the outbreak began in May. California and New York were initially the epicenters of new cases, but infections have grown into the hundreds in many places, including Illinois, Texas, Florida and Georgia. Official figures are almost certainly underestimated, according to public health experts.
Monkeypox is mainly spread through close physical contact. Most cases so far have been among men who have sex with men, but public health officials stress that anyone can be infected.
So far, no deaths have been reported in the U.S., but some patients have reported severe pain from rashes caused by the virus.