Report: Biden Administration to Declare Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency

President Joe Biden walks through the Rose Garden of the White House, Wednesday, April 20, 2022, to the Oval Office. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
WH Photo / Adam Schultz

President Joe Biden’s administration will declare a public health emergency over the outbreak of monkeypox in the U.S., according to the Associated Press.

The Associated Press reports:

The announcement will free up federal funding and resources to fight the virus, which may cause fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement. […] The monkeypox virus spreads through prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact, including hugging, cuddling and kissing, as well as sharing bedding, towels and clothing. The people who have gotten sick so far have been primarily men who have sex with men. But health officials emphasize that the virus can infect anyone.

To date, 6,600 Americans have been infected with monkeypox, per data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The outbreak has prompted states such as New York, California, and Illinois to declare public health emergences, aimed at boosting state resources to help combat the illness.

“The Monkeypox Virus is a rare, but potentially serious disease that requires the full mobilization of all available public health resources to prevent the spread,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said in a Monday statement. “I am declaring a state of emergency to expand the resources and coordination efforts of state agencies in responding to, treating, and preventing the spread of MPV.”

A national declaration would come on the heels of calls from public figures to take the outbreak more seriously.

CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen recently urged Biden to “declare a state of emergency.”

“I do think it’s time for the U.S. to declare a state of emergency,” Wen said. “It will allow the Biden administration to appoint a monkeypox czar to oversee these efforts. It will also allow for more resources to be put into this as well. I hope that the window hasn’t closed. I think that there is still an opportunity just to underscore why this is the case. Monkeypox may not be as fatal as a lot of other illnesses, but we don’t want another disease that we have to worry about in perpetuity if it takes hold here.”

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