The Biden Administration is planning on declaring a public health emergency regarding the nation's surging monkeypox outbreak, according to reports on Thursday.
The Biden Administration plans to declare a public health emergency over the nation's monkeypox outbreak Thursday afternoon as confirmed U.S. cases rose to 6,600.
Officials close to the matter say the move will allow 'greater flexibility' in how vaccines are dished out, and let regulators fast-track approvals for medications against the virus.
It is expected to be declared at a press briefing scheduled for later today by Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, the Washington Post reported after speaking to two sources close to the matter.
New York, California and Illinois have all already declared public health emergencies over the outbreak. The World Health Organization made the declaration two weeks ago, after the virus was reported in 70 countries where it is not endemic.
America's monkeypox outbreak has surged to be the largest in the world, with a total of 6,600 cases reported in 48 states. No deaths have been registered in the U.S. to date, but there have been four outside Africa including two in Spain.
Almost every case is among gay or bisexual men, but there is 'huge concern' that monkeypox — which is spread via physical contact — could reach more vulnerable groups. At least five cases have been recorded in children so far, who are more at risk of serious disease from the virus.
Federal officials have been slammed for a delayed response to the virus so far, allowing it to potentially spread unrestricted for weeks before expanding access to testing and rolling out vaccines to the population. At current, the country can perform up to 80,000 monkeypox tests each day.
The above map shows which states have recorded monkeypox cases as of yesterday afternoon. The outbreak is biggest in New York, California and Illinois
The above shows state's ranked by monkeypox cases. Only Montana and Wyoming are yet to report an infection
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is expected to make the announcement later today. The conference will also be attended by Rochelle Walensky, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which has been slammed for a slow response to the virus
Federal officials were expected to make the declaration last week, amid alarm over the ever-increasing tally of infections.