New York City officials declared a public health emergency on Saturday due to the spread of the monkeypox virus, calling the city the “epicenter” of the outbreak.
The announcement from Mayor Eric Adams and Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said up to 150,000 city residents could be at risk of infection. The statement will allow authorities to issue emergency orders under the city’s health code and implement measures to help slow the spread.
“We will continue to work with our federal partners to achieve more [vaccine] doses as they become available,” Adams and Vasan said in the statement. “This outbreak needs to be addressed urgently, with 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 Kathy Hochul declared a disaster emergency declaration and the state’s health department called monkeypox an “imminent health threat.” public”.
New York had recorded 1,345 cases on Friday, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California had the second highest number, with 799.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a global health emergency on July 23 and the mayor of San Francisco announced a state of emergency on Thursday amid the growing number of cases.
The once-rare disease has established itself in parts of central and western Africa for decades, but was not known to trigger large outbreaks beyond the continent or to spread widely among people until May , when authorities detected dozens of outbreaks in Europe, North America and elsewhere. .
To date, more than 22,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in nearly 80 countries since May, with around 75 suspected deaths in Africa, mostly in Nigeria and Congo. On Friday, Brazil and Spain reported monkeypox-related deaths, the first reported outside Africa. Spain reported a second death from monkeypox on Saturday.
The virus is spread through prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact as well as sharing bedding, towels and clothing. In Europe and North America, it has spread mainly among men who have sex with men, although health officials stress 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 of greater concern in vulnerable people such as those with weakened immune systems or who are pregnant.