California declares state of emergency as smallpox spreads

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom of California declared a state of emergency Monday to address an outbreak of smallpox in monkeys, making the state the third in four days to raise the public health response to the pandemic. with a rapidly spreading disease.

Declare following similar actions by New York on Friday and Illinois on Monday, and by the city San Francisco on Thursday. New York Mayor Eric Adams also declared a local state of emergency on Monday.

Newsom said in a statement.

“We will continue to work with the federal government to secure more vaccines, raise awareness about reducing risks, and stand with the LGBTQ community against stigma,” he added.

The moves, which help streamline and coordinate the response to monkeypox across different levels of government, come amid rising infections as well as growing complaints about the response. of public health.

Nearly 6,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported nationwide since May, According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with nearly half of those reported in California, Illinois and New York. The World Health Organization has declare the virus a global health emergency.

To date, no deaths have been reported in the United States, and monkeypox is rarely fatal, but a rash caused by a virus has led to severe pain in some patients. The virus is spread mainly through prolonged physical contact, but it can also be transmitted through shared clothing and bedding, health officials said.

Men who have sex with men have so far accounted for about 99% of confirmed cases. Public health officials stress that the virus can be spread to anyone who has prolonged skin-to-skin contact with someone with the rash.

The number of cases in the US is among the highest in the world, and health officials say the number is almost certainly an underestimate.

Federal health officials say they have yet to declare a national health emergency in part because Monkeypox is a known disease with available tests, vaccines and treatments.

But as the virus has spread and scientists have gathered research, emerging picture slightly more complex than previous outbreaks, and pressure is increasing for more aggressive measures.

Last week, President Biden’s health secretary urged states and municipalities to be more proactive, noting that most public health power in the United States is concentrated at the local level.

“We do not control public health in 50 states, in tribal territories and jurisdictions,” said Xavier Becerra, secretary of health and human services. for a reporter’s question about whether the virus can be removed. “We rely on our partnerships to work with them. They need to work with us.”

California’s declaration of emergency will allow Emergency Medical Services personnel to administer the federally approved monkeypox vaccine.

Governor Kathy Hochul of New York issue an emergency declaration on Friday, said the move would pressure federal health officials to send more monkeypox vaccine to the state. On Monday, Governor JB Pritzker of Illinois followcalled monkeypox “a rare but potentially serious disease that requires the full mobilization of available public health resources.”

Pritzker added that the effort will “ensure our LGBTQ+ community has the resources they need to stay safe while ensuring members are not discriminated against when they access healthcare.” health is important.”

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