White House COVID adviser addresses Monkeypox’s current threat level

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White House COVID-19 adviser Dr Ashish Jha has assured Americans that monkeypox poses a “pretty small” threat to the general population even as the World Health Organization (WHO) declares a emergency.

“No Americans have died from monkeypox in this outbreak,” Jha said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” “I don’t know globally – I think it’s a very small number – but no Americans have died from monkeypox, so the risk to the general population is pretty low.”

The WHO has declared the monkeypox virus a public health emergency of international concern (USPPI). Chief executive Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged on Saturday that the level of transmission previously did not meet the criteria, but it has since continued to grow.

More than 75 countries and territories have now reported more than 16,000 cases, including five confirmed deaths.

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WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 22: (L-R) White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha speak to reporters during a press briefing at the White House on July 22, 2022 in Washington, DC.  On Thursday morning, the White House press office announced that US President Joe Biden had tested positive for COVID-19.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 22: (L-R) White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha speak to reporters during a press briefing at the White House on July 22, 2022 in Washington, DC. On Thursday morning, the White House press office announced that US President Joe Biden had tested positive for COVID-19. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Jha said he agrees with the call as many countries do not have the resources to manage an outbreak while still grappling with issues related to COVID-19, but stressed that states States are prepared for the virus and could handle it, keeping the risk to Americans low.

“I support it,” he said. “I think Dr. Tedros made the right decision. We see monkeypox in many countries around the world, many of them not doing it – not being able to really manage it.”

“Here in the United States, we have just over 2,000 cases,” he continued. “We’ve ramped up testing dramatically, we’ve ramped up vaccinations dramatically.”

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FILE - This 1997 image provided by the CDC during an investigation into an outbreak of monkeypox, which took place in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), formerly Zaire, and depicts the dorsal surfaces of the hands of a patient with monkeypox, who exhibited the characteristic rash appearance during his recovery phase.  The World Health Organization is convening its Emergency Committee on Thursday, July 21, 2022 to consider for the second time in weeks whether the growing monkeypox outbreak should be declared a global crisis.  (CDC via AP, File)

FILE – This 1997 image provided by the CDC during an investigation into an outbreak of monkeypox, which took place in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), formerly Zaire, and depicts the dorsal surfaces of the hands of a patient with monkeypox, who exhibited the characteristic rash appearance during his recovery phase. The World Health Organization is convening its Emergency Committee on Thursday, July 21, 2022 to consider for the second time in weeks whether the growing monkeypox outbreak should be declared a global crisis. (CDC via AP, File)
(CDC via AP, File)

Jha indicated that the United States would refrain from declaring its own state of emergency over monkeypox, explaining that such a decision would depend on “facts on the ground” and what the declaration would allow officials and health services to do.

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Jha has also focused in recent days on President Biden’s COVID-19 infection, assuring the public that medical staff and White House advisers have been transparent throughout the process – including the revelation that the officials have identified and tracked 17 people who have made contact with the president and may be infected.

President Biden delivers virtual remarks as he meets with his economics team to discuss lower gas prices in the South Court Auditorium of the Executive Office Building on July 22, 2022.

President Biden delivers virtual remarks as he meets with his economics team to discuss lower gas prices in the South Court Auditorium of the Executive Office Building on July 22, 2022.
(Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“None of them tested positive,” Jha said. “Obviously all continue to follow CDC protocols on masking and testing, but to date no one I know of has tested positive.”

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Jha pointed to the fact that Biden received two vaccine shots and two booster shots, which he said caused him to deal with a “relatively mild” infection.

Fox News’ Julia Musto contributed to this report.

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