California declares state of emergency due to monkeypox outbreak, after New York and Illinois

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) speaks to reporters after a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at the U.S. Congress, on Friday, July 15, 2022.

Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency over a fast-spreading monkeypox outbreak on Monday, the third US state to do so in the next few days.

Newsom said the emergency declaration will help support the state’s immunization efforts. Demand for vaccines has outstripped supply as infections increase. Staff at sexual health clinics and other locations have struggled to keep up with the influx of people seeking the shots.

California is mobilizing staff from its Emergency Medical Services to help administer the monkeypox vaccine. Newsom said the state is working with all levels of government to slow the spread through testing, contract tracing and outreach.

California’s statement comes after Illinois declared a public health emergency earlier on Monday. New York declared a state disaster emergency in response to the outbreak late Friday.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 6,000 cases of smallpox have been reported in 48 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico. The outbreak has spread rapidly since health authorities in Boston confirmed the first US case in May.

California, Illinois and New York – home to the nation’s three largest cities – have reported 47 percent of all confirmed monkeypox infections in the US. New York is the epicenter of the outbreak in the US, with nearly 1,400 confirmed cases as of Monday.

The Biden administration is weighing whether to declare a public health emergency in the US, according to senior federal health officials. This will help mobilize resources for public health officials battling the outbreak. The last time the United States declared a public health emergency was in response to Covid-19 in January 2020.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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