The US government has declared a national health emergency because of the spread of monkeypox. Among other things, the move is intended to release federal funds to fight the virus.
“We stand ready to take our response to this virus to the next level, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously and take responsibility to help us fight this virus,” the US Secretary of Health and Human Services said Xavier Becerra on Thursday.
In view of the rapid spread of monkeypox, the WHO declared the highest alert level almost two weeks ago. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the outbreak was an “emergency of international concern”. The international spread of the infectious disease is unusual. So far, it has essentially been limited to six African countries.
According to the Department of Health, there are now around 6,600 cases in the United States. Around 1.1 million vaccine doses would be made available to people in the country, Becerra said. He announced that the test capacity would be increased to 80,000 per week. Individual US states and large cities, such as the state of New York and San Francisco, had previously declared a state of emergency and asked for federal help.
Currently, the outbreak is largely focused on men who have sex with men. However, according to the US health authority CDC, cases in children have already been confirmed in the USA.