Monkeypox Declared Public Health Emergency in New York City

Monkeypox Declared Public Health Emergency in New York City
A health care worker prepares to administer a vaccine to a person for the prevention of monkeypox the Pride Center in Wilton Manors, Florida, on July 12, 2022. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

The New York City Department of Health has declared monkeypox a public health emergency as New York Gov. Kathy Hochul similarly issued a state of disaster declaration about the virus.

With the declaration on July 30, New York City is now the second U.S. city after San Francisco to issue such an order for the virus, which officials have said is mostly spreading among gay and bisexual males.

“We estimate that approximately 150,000 New Yorkers may currently be at risk for monkeypox exposure,” Mayor Eric Adams and Dr. Ashwin Vasan, the head of the city's health and mental hygiene department, said in a joint 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 seriousness of the moment.”

The declaration will take effect immediately, and was essentially issued to free up more funds and resources to address the virus.

A day earlier, Hochul, a Democrat, issued a statewide executive order to declare a disaster, noting that "more than one in four monkeypox cases" are in New York state. Among other issues, the order provides more leeway on which individuals can administer the monkeypox vaccine, including pharmacists, EMS workers, and midwives.

"We need to utilize every tool in our arsenal as we respond. It's especially important to recognize the ways in which this outbreak is currently having a disproportionate impact on certain at-risk groups," she said. "That's why my team and I are working around the clock to secure more vaccines, expand testing capacity and responsibly educate the public on how to stay safe during this outbreak."

On July 28, San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to declare a monkeypox-related emergency to deal with rising cases and high demand for the vaccine. The declaration is set to go into effect on Aug. 1.

Authorities in San Francisco appeared to suggest that the virus is spreading primarily in the "LGBTQ community," saying such individuals are "at greater risk right now." Their statement added that the "local emergency will allow us to continue to support our most at-risk, while also better preparing for what’s to come.”
On July 23, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. Days later, he again noted that gay and bisexual males are the primary spreaders of the virus.

“That means making safe choices for yourself and others, for men who have sex with men,” Tedros said on July 27. “This includes, for the moment, reducing your number of sexual partners.”

Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.
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