NYC declares monkeypox outbreak a 'public health emergency'

New York City's monkeypox outbreak has been declared a public health emergency by city officials.

Mayor Eric Adams and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan made the announcement in a statement Saturday evening, just one day after Governor Kathy Hochul had declared the outbreak a "State Disaster Emergency."

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"Today, we are declaring monkeypox a public health emergency in New York City. Over the past few weeks, we have moved as quickly as possible to expand outreach and access to vaccines and treatment to keep people safe. This declaration, which is effective immediately, will allow DOHMH to issue emergency commissioner’s orders under the New York City Health Code and amend provisions of the Health Code to provide for measures to help slow the spread," the statement read.

So far, more than 4,600 cases of monkeypox have been found across the country, with over 1,000 in New York City alone.

A lack of vaccines has left many people frustrated and in response, the Biden administration announced that the United States will be receiving nearly 800,000 doses of the vaccine. New York will get 110,000 doses, with 80,000 coming to New York City.

"New York City is currently the epicenter of the outbreak, and we estimate that approximately 150,000 New Yorkers may currently be at risk for monkeypox exposure. We will continue to work with our federal partners to secure more doses as soon as they become available. This outbreak must be met with urgency, action, and resources, both nationally and globally, and this declaration of a public health emergency reflects the seriousness of the moment," the statement concluded.

To date, there have been more than 22,000 monkeypox cases reported in nearly 80 countries since May, with about 75 suspected deaths in Africa, mostly in Nigeria and Congo. On Friday, Brazil and Spain reported deaths linked to monkeypox, the first reported outside Africa. Spain reported a second monkeypox death Saturday.