The Biden Administration has declared the monkeypox epidemic a national health emergency, following New York and the United Nations. There have been nearly 7,000 cases in the United States.
“This is a strong attempt to try to elevate the message higher than it has been,” Tom Inglesby, of Johns Hopkins University, told STAT. He said that many doctors were unfamiliar with monkeypox and did not know how to test for it. “People need to be looking for it, familiar with it, and be testing for it.”
About 98% of the cases involve homosexual and bisexual men. There is a growing number of cases of women and children, but most of these are household contacts or sexual partners of confirmed cases.
According to a report in The Hill:
The announcement comes amid intense criticism that the Biden administration failed to recognize the severity of the outbreak, leading to shortages of vaccine doses and diagnostic tests even as demand has soared.
The nation has already purchased much of the global supply of Jynneos, the only monkeypox vaccine licensed in the U.S., but much of it is stored frozen in bulk substance. It needs to undergo a process called “fill and finish” to put the vaccine into usable vials to be shipped and then administered.
Some public health experts fear the U.S. lost its opportunity to contain and even eliminate the virus.