Washington, D.C. Sees Largest Outbreak of Monkeypox Per Capita

Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of the District of Columbia Department of Health, speaks a
Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The nation’s capital is experiencing the largest outbreak of monkeypox per capita, WTOP news reported Monday.

Since May, DC Health has reported 122 cases of monkeypox with no fatalities. Ninety-six percent of monkeypox cases in Washington, DC, are in men, 82 percent of those identify as gay, and most of the cases are among men in their 3os, according to the report. However, DC Health’s director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt said during a Monday press briefing that “this is not a disease of the LGBTQ+ community.”

D.C. has received 8,300 monkeypox vaccines so far, and 4,000 more doses are expected to arrive next week, according to Axios. Mayor Muriel Bowser told CBS News’ Face the Nation over the weekend that D.C. needs the federal government to send 100,000 doses “to stay ahead of demand.”

While D.C. leads the nation in cases per capita, New York (521), California (267), Florida (180), and Illinois (200) have the highest number of recorded cases as of July 18 at 2 p.m., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows. The total amount of confirmed monkeypox cases in the U.S. totaled 1,972. Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb recently said he thinks the window to control the spread of the monkeypox virus in the United States may be closed.

“I think they’re going to be reluctant to use the word pandemic, because it implies that they’ve failed to contain this, and I think at this point we’ve failed to contain this,” Gottlieb said.

“We’re probably detecting just a fraction of the actual cases,” he added. “I think the window for getting control of this and containing it probably has closed, and if it hasn’t closed, it’s certainly starting to close.”

Monkeypox has been reported in more than 60 countries, though the outbreak has not been labeled a pandemic. However, soaring monkeypox case numbers have been cited by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) as the reason it will reconvene its expert committee Thursday to decide whether the outbreak constitutes a global health emergency.


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