Monkeypox News: NYC Health Department Declares Public Health Emergency

NEW YORK (WABC) — The New York City Health Department declared monkeypox a public health emergency on Saturday.

The move gives New York Mayor Eric Adams more leeway in the fight against the virus.

The city is working with “all levels of government” to receive more doses of the monkeypox vaccine, slow the spread of the virus and keep New Yorkers safe.

It comes after Governor Kathy Hochul declared a “catastrophic emergency” in New York State in response to the monkeypox outbreak.

“After reviewing the latest data on the monkeypox outbreak in New York State, I am declaring a state disaster emergency to bolster our ongoing aggressive efforts to deal with this outbreak,” said the Governor Hochul. “More than one in four cases of monkeypox in this country are in New York State, and we need to use every tool in our arsenal to respond,” Hochul said.

“The vast majority of cases are spread through sexual contact, and the vast majority of cases (are) among men who have sex with men,” said Dr Mary Bassett. “It’s the community that we want to both protect from stigma and also sound the alarm.”

Two people have died in Spain and Brazil, the first reported deaths from this outbreak outside of Africa.

New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, is receiving 80,000 doses of the vaccine – but some say that’s not enough.

“We are calling for more and more vaccines to be made available to the city because we are definitely the epicenter of it,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “We represent over 25% of the cases in the country and therefore we need a supply of vaccines commensurate with this level of impact.”

The United States has more than 4,600 total cases of monkeypox, with about a third in New York State.

The Biden administration is also considering declaring monkeypox a public health emergency, following the steps of the World Health Organization.

RELATED | LGBTQ activists call on Biden to address rapidly rising monkeypox cases

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