Biden administration expected to soon declare monkeypox a health emergency

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra is scheduled to hold a monkeypox press conference Thursday morning.

A White House spokesperson said there were no updates at this time.

Biden officials debated for days whether to declare monkeypox a public health emergency, as health officials in the United States and the WHO said this week that the risk to the general population was low. HHS has declared several public health emergencies in recent years, including Covid-19 and the opioid crisis.

“I think it deserves to be one,” said Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “We are experiencing many challenges across the country with their rate of increase in terms of new cases. This is not an emergency posing a… great threat to the general population. But it’s still on the move…and has the potential to spread to other vulnerable communities.

Conversations over such a statement come as the virus continues to spread across the country. In the United States, nearly 3,600 cases have been reported. New York City remains the epicenter of the outbreak, with most cases occurring in men who have sex with men.

The CDC said Tuesday it is making monkeypox a nationally reportable condition, which directs state public health agencies to use a certain definition to identify cases and follow a specific rubric when reporting. submission of surveillance data to the agency. The move will allow the CDC to more closely monitor the spread across the country.

Still, concerns about the spread of the virus have caused some members of the administration to worry about future transmission given the lack of vaccine doses available. The Biden administration has also faced mounting criticism over the pace of its response from public health experts who fear the window to contain and eradicate the disease is closing.

HHS is expected to announce the release of several hundred thousand more doses this week after the Food and Drug Administration said it had completed its inspection of the vaccine at a manufacturing site in Denmark.

Sarah Owermohle contributed to this report.

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