Major US areas sound alarm on monkeypox as nearly 5,000 cases reported nationwide
The United States has confirmed nearly 5,000 monkeypox cases as San Francisco and New York state began taking steps to address the emergency of the outbreak.
A total of 4,907 monkeypox cases had been reported across the country as of Thursday, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
New York had the most cases, with 1,247, followed by California with 799 and Illinois with 396.
So far the United States has the world's highest tally of monkeypox cases. Health experts said given the testing bottlenecks in the United States, monkeypox cases are likely being undercounted.
While US federal officials weigh a nationwide public health emergency declaration around the monkeypox outbreak, San Francisco and New York state began sounding the alarm Thursday.
San Francisco became the first major US city to declare a local health emergency on monkeypox in an effort to strengthen the city's preparedness and response amid high demand for the vaccine.
The declaration, which will go into effect next Monday, allows city departments to mobilize and coordinate more effectively, Mayor London Breed's office said in a statement.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health had confirmed 281 cases of monkeypox as of Friday morning after reporting its first case in early June.
In New York, state Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett declared monkeypox an "imminent threat" to public health on Thursday, as the number of cases continues to increase.
"This declaration means that local health departments engaged in response and prevention activities will be able to access additional state reimbursement, after other federal and state funding sources are maximized, to protect all New Yorkers and ultimately limit the spread of monkeypox in our communities," Bassett said in a statement.
New York State has secured more than 60,000 Jynneos monkeypox vaccine doses to date, according to the state health department.
So far, 338,000 vaccine doses have been delivered across the country, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized 786,000 additional doses of the Jynneos vaccine, and jurisdictions can place orders starting Friday.
The federal government is continuing to monitor the response to monkeypox and will use that to consider whether to declare the outbreak a public health emergency, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said Thursday.
"We will weigh any decision on declaring a public health emergency based on the responses we're seeing throughout the country. Bottom line is, we need to stay ahead of it and be able to end this outbreak," he said.
Since the United States reported the first monkeypox case on May 17, cases have kept going up nationwide, with the highest daily case count jumping to 439 on July 15, according to the case trend recorded by the CDC.
The CDC has recently confirmed two cases of monkeypox in children. One case is a toddler who is a resident of California. The other is an infant who is not a US resident.
The country has also spotted its first case of monkeypox this year in a pregnant woman last weekend.
Top US infectious diseases official Anthony Fauci said monkeypox poses "a profound risk" to groups including pregnant women and children.