Washington, Aug 4 (Prensa Latina) President Joe Biden´s administration on Thursday officially declared monkeypox a public health emergency, a move that is aimed at freeing up emergency funding and improving distribution of vaccines and treatments nationwide.
“We are prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously and to take responsibility to help us tackle this virus,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said during a briefing.
The announcement comes amid intense criticism that the Biden administration failed to recognize the severity of the outbreak, leading to shortages of vaccine doses and diagnostic tests even as demand has soared.
Some public health experts fear the United States lost its opportunity to contain and even eliminate the virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, known monkeypox infections top 6,600, nearly all among men who have sax with men. New York state is the epicenter of the outbreak, with nearly a third of all cases, followed by California, The Hill newspaper reported.
The administration´s announcement comes after New York, Illinois and California all declared their own public health emergencies.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency over the outbreak on July 23.