New York, San Francisco Declare Health Emergency Over Monkeypox Outbreak


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New York has become the second major city to declare a health emergency over the current monkeypox outbreak, following San Francisco.

On Saturday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Dr. Ashwin Vasan, commissioner of the city's department of health and mental hygiene, declared monkeypox a public health emergency in order to slow the spread of the virus by expanding access to vaccines and treatments. The public health emergency takes effect immediately, according to a release.

The 'health emergency' declaration is a legal action that allows cities to get access to resources and helps local agencies to coordinate.

"New York City is currently the epicenter of the outbreak, and we estimate that approximately 150,000 New Yorkers may currently be at risk for monkeypox exposure," Adams and Vasan 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."

This comes just one day after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul issued an executive order declaring a state disaster emergency in response to the outbreak. As of Friday, New York has 1,345 confirmed cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"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," Hochul said. "It's especially important to recognize the ways in which this outbreak is currently having a disproportionate impact on certain at-risk groups. 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."

RELATED: California Man Details 'Excruciatingly Painful' Monkeypox Recovery to Show 'How Serious This Is'

Last week, San Francisco Mayor London Breed also announced a state of emergency due to the rise of monkeypox cases, stating that the city is in "desperate need of vaccines."

The San Francisco Department of Public Health confirmed 261 cases and there are reportedly 799 cases in California. The state of emergency takes effect August 1.

"San Francisco showed during COVID that early action is essential for protecting public health," said Breed in a release. "We know that this virus impacts everyone equally – but we also know that those in our LGBTQ community are at greater risk right now. Many people in our LGBTQ community are scared and frustrated. This local emergency will allow us to continue to support our most at-risk, while also better preparing for what's to come."

RELATED: WHO Declares Monkeypox Outbreak a Public Health Emergency of 'International Concern'

Monkeypox infection rates continue to rise not only in the United States but across the world.

On July 23, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the outbreak has been elevated to a public health emergency.

"In short, we have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly, through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little, and which meets the criteria in the International Health Regulations," WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

"For all of these reasons, I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern," he added.

When the IHR Emergency Committee first convened, 3,040 cases of monkeypox from 47 countries had been reported to the WHO. That number has since grown to more than 22,000 cases from 79 countries and territories.