San Francisco 'Sounds the Alarm' on Monkeypox

California city, NY state declare public health emergencies
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2022 6:21 AM CDT
San Francisco 'Sounds the Alarm' on Monkeypox
A man holds a sign urging increased access to the monkeypox vaccine during a protest in San Francisco, July 18, 2022.   (AP Photo/Haven Daley)

Two of the US areas that have been hardest hit by monkeypox have declared public health emergencies in response to the outbreak. San Francisco on Thursday declared a local emergency effective Aug. 1, while the state of New York declared an imminent threat to public health, retroactive to June 1. San Francisco now has more than 30% of the 799 total cases in California. As of Wednesday, the city's Department of Public Health had reported 261 cases of the typically weekslong illness—which is marked by a painful rash—an increase of 39 from the day before, per SFGate. Mayor London Breed said cases had nearly doubled in a week, per the Washington Post.

"Our declaration of emergency is to sound the alarm and make it very clear we are in desperate need of more vaccine and more treatment," Breed said, noting the city has received 12,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine, effective before and after exposure, despite asking the federal government for 35,000 shots. The declaration "helps us ensure we have all the tools available to augment our outreach, testing, and treatment, especially to the LGBTQ+ who remain at highest risk for monkeypox," said San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax. The ongoing outbreak in North America and Europe is disproportionately affecting men who have sex with other men.

Neither San Francisco nor New York, which has recorded 1,247 cases, are implementing behavior restrictions, despite the WHO advising men who have sex with men to temporarily reduce their number of sexual partners in declaring a global emergency, per the Post. New York State Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett said her declaration of an imminent threat to public health "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," per the Post. With 4,907 confirmed cases nationwide as of this writing, the Biden administration is considering whether to declare a national emergency. (Read more monkeypox stories.)

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