How bad could monkeypox get in the Bay Area? Experts assess trajectories

More than two months after the first case was detected in the United States, an outbreak of monkeypox virus continues to spread rapidly across the country and in the Bay Area, primarily among gay and bisexual men, and shows no signs of slowing down.

New cases could continue to rise at a faster rate for weeks or even longer, and eradicating the disease completely could prove difficult, according to infectious disease experts and local health officials, although the exact trajectory is difficult to predict. How quickly high-risk people can get vaccinated in large numbers — as well as how much behavior change can dampen transmission in the communities where it’s spreading the most — will determine the quality and speed with which the outbreak can be controlled.

A limited supply of the monkeypox vaccine has fueled fears that the disease could spread further in the LGBTQ community and the general population, although that has yet to happen.

“Judging by the curve of the outbreak, we’re definitely in the escalation phase,” said Dr. Bela Matyas, Solano County Public Health Officer. “I anticipate that we will continue to see that increase a bit more because I don’t see any evidence of peaking yet.”

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