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US Declares Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency

Amid a rise in cases and criticism against the administration for its handling of the outbreak, the US declares a national emergency.
US Declares Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency

The Biden administration on Thursday declared monkeypox a public health emergency during a briefing with the Department of Health and Human Services, while cases are on the rise across the United States, reports CNN.  

Biden administration declares the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency (CNN)

Excerpt from CNN: The administration has been criticized at times for its handling of the outbreak, and some have called on the government to declare a national emergency without delay. Since the first US monkeypox case was identified in mid-May, more than 6,600 probable or confirmed cases have been detected in the United States. Cases have been identified in every state except Montana and Wyoming. The declaration follows the World Health Organization announcement last month that monkeypox is a public health emergency of international concern. Some cities and states, including New York City, San Francisco, California, Illinois and New York, have already declared monkeypox an emergency, allowing them to free up funding and resources for their responses to the outbreak.
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According to NPR, for well over a decade, members of the scientific community have been concerned about the potential of a monkeypox epidemic. The CDC says the risk of contracting monkeypox in the U.S. is "believed to be low," but anyone who comes into close contact with someone carrying the disease is at risk of infection. The current outbreak is spreading from human-to-human contact, with the overwhelming majority of cases stemming from sexual contact.

Monkeypox explained: How to protect yourself and what to watch out for (NPR)

Excerpt from NPR: Besides the reference to wildlife, the only similarity between monkeypox and chickenpox is that they're a virus. Instead, monkeypox is most similar to smallpox, which was eradicated through global vaccination efforts in 1980. The two viruses are from the orthopoxvirus family. Monkeypox is not as transmissible or fatal as smallpox. However, some researchers worry that monkeypox could mutate and become a greater threat to humans. "Although smallpox has been eradicated from the human population since 1980, there is the potential for monkeypox to fill this void," the study says. "An extended chain of person-to-person transmissions of monkeypox in 2003 in the Republic of Congo reveals the potential of further adaptation of the virus to become a more successful human pathogen."
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As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention weighs whether to recommend limiting sex partners, health officials in San Francisco, Chicago, New York and other U.S. cities battling surges disproportionately sickening gay men are avoiding calls for sexual restraint, wary of further stigmatizing same-sex intimacy, writes The Washington Post.

As monkeypox strikes gay men, officials debate warnings to limit partners (The Washington Post)

Excerpt from The Washington Post: Public health authorities typically emphasize safer sex over abstinence to prevent the spread of diseases through intimate contact. But monkeypox is presenting new challenges in calibrating the right message to stop the rare virus from becoming endemic while limiting government intrusion into the bedroom. "If people want to have sex, they are going to have sex," said California state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who is involved in the city’s monkeypox response. "I know people who normally go to sex parties who will not. People will make their own decisions about their own risk levels."
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