New York City officials declared a public health emergency over the spread of the monkeypox virus on Saturday, calling the city the “epicentre” of the outbreak.
The announcement by the mayor, Eric Adams, and health commissioner, Ashwin Vasan, said up to 150,000 city residents could be at risk of infection. The announcement will allow officials to issue emergency orders under the city’s health law and implement measures to help slow the spread.
“We will continue to work with our federal partners to secure more [vaccine] “Doses as soon as they become available,” Adams and Vassan said in the statement. “This outbreak must be met with urgency, action and resources, both nationally and globally, and this declaration of a public health emergency reflects the gravity of the moment.”
In the past two days, New York Governor Cathy Hochhol has declared a disaster emergency, and the state health department has called monkeypox an “imminent threat to public health.”
New York had 1,345 cases as of Friday, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California was in second place with a score of 799.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a global health emergency on July 23, and the mayor of San Francisco on Thursday declared a state of emergency due to the growing number of cases.
The disease, which had been rare in parts of Central and West Africa for decades, had been discovered but was not known to cause a major outbreak outside the continent or to spread widely among people until May, when authorities discovered dozens of epidemics in Europe, North America and elsewhere. other. .
So far, more than 22,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in nearly 80 countries since May, with about 75 suspected deaths in Africa, mostly in Nigeria and Congo. On Friday, Brazil and Spain reported deaths linked to monkeypox, the first case reported outside Africa. Spain reported its second death from monkeypox on Saturday.
The virus spreads through close and prolonged skin-to-skin contact, as well as by sharing bedding, towels, and clothing. In Europe and North America, it has spread mainly among men who have sex with men, although health officials maintain that the virus can infect anyone.
The type of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak is rarely fatal, and people usually recover within weeks, but the lesions and blisters caused by the virus are painful. The virus is a greater concern among those at risk such as those with compromised immune systems or pregnant women.