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California is now under a state of emergency. This is after Governor Gavin Newsom issued the declaration over the unprecedented spread of the Monkeypox virus on Monday. The state is the third to announce the declaration, following the state of Illinois and New York City – the center of the epidemic.
According to Newsom, the issuance of the health emergency will aid authorities to ramp up vaccination efforts to quickly address the outbreak. It was earlier reported by the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the supply of Monkeypox vaccines is outnumbered by the increasing demand for it.
Many clinics and healthcare companies are clamoring because there is a rise in the number of people going to their facilities to ask for the vaccine shots.
The Emergency Medical Services of California has been deployed to help with the vaccination efforts. The governor assured the public that it is doing the best it can to stop – or at least slow down – the spread of the virus through amped up testing, outreach, and contact tracing.
The third to declare the state of emergency
California became the third area to declare the emergency, following Illinois which issued the state of emergency on Monday. New York, the first to declare, made the announcement last Friday.
The CDC has already confirmed over 6,000 cases of Monkeypox in 48 states across the US, including Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. The spread of the virus was faster that what was expected by health authorities ever since the first case was reported in Boston roughly three months ago.
The areas which have now issued a state of emergency, California, Illinois, and New York, is where the country’s three largest city is situated in. According to data, the cases reported in the three areas account for 47% of the total cases in the country with New York – the epicenter of the epidemic – recording over 1,400 cases as of Monday.
While death toll of Monkeypox is zero, patients still feel pain because of the lesions that they develop because of the virus. Moreover, health experts warn that the virus may permanently reside within the country if it’s not swiftly contained.
Monkeypox declared as a global health emergency
The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency in relation to the Monkeypox outbreak late last month. The data by the WHO shows that there are more than 19,000 infected individuals in 78 countries.
Experts and scientists of the agency noted of the peculiarity of the virus since it has widely spread in Europe and North America where it is not endemic. Even in areas where it is endemic – in West and Central Africa – the spread of the virus was only minimal.
The CDC has also stated that 98% of all recorded transmissions are from men who had sex with other men. This means that Monkeypox is spreading primarily through skin contact when having sex. Public health officials said that gay and bisexual men are considered as high risk for the virus.
However, the data does not mean that the virus is exclusive to a gender. The CDC has repeatedly corrected the misconception. According to them, there are other ways that the virus could spread like physical contact with someone who tested positive for the virus or coming in contact with materials that were physically touched by a patient.
US still deliberating the issuance of a health emergency
Senior federal health officials revealed that the White House is still thinking on whether or not to issue a public health emergency. Should a declaration be made, vaccination efforts would be hastened.
To recall, the last time the US declared a public health emergency was way back 2020, when Covid-19 entered the country.
Over 330,000 doses of the vaccine, plus another 786,00 have been delivered by the Health and Human Services Department to states in efforts to help them with vaccination initiatives.
There are more to come as the government signed a deal with Bavarian Nordic to import millions of vaccine shots.
Opinions expressed by US Insider contributors are their own.