NEW YORK (WABC) — The New York City Health Department declared monkeypox a Public Health Emergency on Saturday.
The moves gives New York City Mayor Eric Adams more leeway in fighting the virus.
The city is working with ‘every level of government’ to receive more doses of the monkeypox vaccine, slow the spread of the virus and keep New Yorkers safe.
This comes after Governor Kathy Hochul declared a ‘disaster emergency’ in the State of New York in response to the monkeypox outbreak.
“After reviewing the latest data on the monkeypox outbreak in New York State, I am declaring a State Disaster Emergency to strengthen our aggressive ongoing efforts to confront this outbreak,” Governor Hochul said. “More than one in four monkeypox cases in this country are in New York State, and we need to utilize every tool in our arsenal as we respond,” said Hochul.
“The vast majority of cases are spreading through sexual contact, and the vast majority of cases (are) among men who have sex with men,” Dr. Mary Bassett said. “This is the community that we both want to protect from stigma and also sound the alarm.”
Two people have died in Spain and Brazil, the first reported deaths from this outbreak outside of Africa.
New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, is getting 80,000 doses of the vaccine — but some say it’s not enough.
“We’ve been calling on more and more vaccine to be made available to the city because we are definitely the epicenter of this,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said. “We make up more than 25% of the cases in the country and so we need a supply of vaccine that’s commensurate with that level of impact.”
The U.S. has more than 4,600 total cases of monkeypox, about a third of them in New York state.
The Biden administration is also considering declaring monkeypox a public health emergency, following in the steps of the World Health Organization.
RELATED | LGBTQ activists call on Biden to address the rapid rise in monkeypox cases
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