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The Biden administration could declare monkeypox a public health emergency in the coming days, according to reports.
Sources familiar with the matter told Politico the statement could come later this week. Such a statement would be made by Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), led by Secretary Xavier Becerra.
Declaring an emergency would give HHS access to additional funds and increase its staff to address the issue. Becerra is expected to hold a monkeypox press conference Thursday morning.
Fox News reached out to HHS and the White House for comment, but did not hear back before publication.
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The report comes days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the international monkeypox virus outbreak a global health emergency.
In the United States, officials have sounded the alarm over monkeypox. Health departments in San Francisco and other major cities say they still don’t have enough vaccines to meet demand.
California lawmaker Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, released a statement urging Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency.
“Unfortunately, because our federal government did not act quickly to acquire the necessary vaccine supplies to prevent an outbreak, we are now in a public health emergency that will only get worse,” Weiner said. “Given that gay and bi men and trans people are the most affected, it becomes sadly clear that we are being left behind again.”
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The monkeypox virus is mainly spread by skin-to-skin contact, but it can also be transmitted by touching the laundry used by an infected person. The vast majority of reported cases have been in men who have sex with men, although health officials have stressed that anyone can catch the virus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.