New York declares state of emergency due to monkeypox outbreak

New York Governor Cathy Hochhol declared late Friday that the outbreak of the rapidly spreading monkeypox in New York is an emergency, as authorities race to distribute vaccines to curb the spread of the virus.

The measure comes as the number of monkeypox infections in New York approaches about 1,400, with most infections in New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States.

“More than one in four cases of smallpox in this country is in New York State, and we need to use every tool in our arsenal when we respond,” Hochul said in a statement addressing the emergency declaration.

The director of the World Health Organization declared the virus a global health emergency late last week. As of Wednesday, more than 20,000 cases of monkeypox have been detected globally in 77 countries. About 4,600 cases have been reported in the United States currently, as reported by USA TODAY.

The executive order specifically expands the pool of eligible individuals who can give monkeypox vaccines, including EMS personnel, pharmacists, and midwives. It also allows certified practicing physicians and nurses to issue special standing orders to non-patients about vaccines, and requires providers to submit vaccine data to the state health department.

Vaccines: More than 780,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine available Friday; San Francisco declares a state of emergency

Meanwhile, the mayor of San Francisco declared a state of emergency Thursday due to the growing number of cases in the city, which has 261 of the 800 cases in California.

“Vaccines are urgently needed to support the people of San Francisco,” Mayor London Mail said.

Federal health officials said they are still considering whether monkeypox should be declared a public health emergency, which would free up more resources.

After the federal government struggled to get enough monkeypox vaccines earlier this month, supplies have risen steadily in recent weeks, culminating on Friday with a nationwide distribution of 780,000 doses.

About 110,000 doses went to New York, including about 30,000 outside New York City.

Vaccine clinics in the greater New York City area as well as several northern counties faced a massive demand for shots earlier this week amid limited supplies of vaccines, as people booked available appointments within hours.

Health care workers with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene help people register for the monkeypox vaccine at a city vaccination site on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in New York. New York declared a state of emergency for the state’s monkeypox disaster on July 29 (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not usually cause serious illness. However, it can lead to hospitalization or death.

Monkeypox spreads through close physical contact between people. State health officials said that means anyone can get monkeypox.

FILE - New York Governor Cathy Hochhol speaks to reporters in the red room of the state Capitol on July 1, 2022.

FILE – New York Governor Cathy Hochhol speaks to reporters in the red room of the state Capitol on July 1, 2022.

However, based on the current outbreak, some populations are affected more than others, including MSM.

Based on past outbreaks of monkeypox around the world, some groups may also be at increased risk of severe outcomes if they contract monkeypox. This includes people with weakened immune systems, seniors in New York, young children under 8, and pregnant women.

Contributing: Adriana Rodriguez, USA Today.

This article originally appeared on New York State Team: NY declares disaster emergency due to monkeypox outbreak

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