The Biden administration declared on Thursday monkeypox an emergency in public health as cases continue to increase throughout the US. The announcement was made at an information session by officials from the Department of Health and Human Services. The administration has come under fire in the past for its treatment of the outbreak and some have asked authorities to proclaim an emergency across the country immediately.
Since the very first US monkeypox outbreak was reported in the middle of May, over 6,600 cases, either confirmed or suspected, have been discovered throughout the United States. There have been cases identified across every state, with the exception of Montana in Wyoming and Montana.
The announcement follows an announcement by the World Health Organization announcement last month that monkeypox was an emergency for public health that is of international significance. WHO defines an emergency in public health of international significance, or PHEIC to be “an extraordinary event” that is an “public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease” and “to potentially require a coordinated international response.”
Some states and cities such as New York City, San Francisco, California, Illinois and New York, have already declared monkeypox an emergency situation, which allows them to release funds and resources to fund their response to the outbreak.
On Tuesday the president Joe Biden named Robert Fenton as the White House’s national monkeypox coordinator. Fenton is an area Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator who is responsible for Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada is expected to coordinate responses by the Federal government to this outbreak. Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control of the United States and director for the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, serves as the deputy coordinator.