NEW YORK (WABC) — Governor Kathy Hochul has declared a “catastrophic emergency” in New York State in response to the monkeypox outbreak.
“After reviewing the latest data on the monkeypox outbreak in New York State, I am declaring a state disaster emergency to bolster our ongoing aggressive efforts to deal with this outbreak,” said the Governor Hochul. “More than one in four cases of monkeypox in this country are in New York State, and we need to use every tool in our arsenal to respond,” Hochul said.
New York’s health commissioner said the monkeypox outbreak was an ‘imminent threat’ and she sent an urgent message to the gay community and said health officials should ‘sound the alarm’ on Friday At New York.
“The vast majority of cases are spread through sexual contact, and the vast majority of cases (are) among men who have sex with men,” said Dr Mary Bassett. “It’s the community that we want to both protect from stigma and also sound the alarm.”
New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, is receiving 80,000 doses of the vaccine – but some say that’s not enough.
A joint statement from State Senator Brad Hoylman; US Congressman Jerry Nadler; State Assembly members Deborah Glick, Dick Gottfried, Linda Rosenthal; and City Council member Erik Bottcher called on Mayor Eric Adams to declare a state of emergency.
“New York is in the midst of another health emergency that shows no signs of abating,” the statement said. “Since the first case of monkeypox was confirmed on May 18, the number of verified monkeypox cases in New York City has risen to 1,341, more than 25% of all cases nationwide, and continues to grow. New York State and New York City should each act now.”
The statement went on to say that declaring an “imminent threat to public health” was important and necessary, but it is not sufficient to recognize and combat the severity of the virus.
“A national and local declaration of emergency will help facilitate disaster response efforts by reducing red tape that impedes the effective and timely distribution of tests, treatments and vaccines,” the statement said. “For example, the statement could speed up approval processes for new tests and treatments, as well as the procurement and contracting processes needed to deliver tests, treatments and vaccines to New Yorkers.”
Officials said the call to action was even more urgent given the resumption of classes next month for New York’s 1.1 million college and university students.
On Friday, 1,289 people tested positive for orthopoxvirus in New York City, meaning they are suspected cases of monkeypox.
NYC Monkeypox case numbers:
Demographics by age:
Adams said he was awaiting a decision from the city’s health commissioner, Dr. Ashwin Vasan, on whether or not to declare a monkeypox emergency.
Dr Vasan told Eyewitness News he was still considering declaring a state of emergency, while calling on the federal government to declare a public health emergency.
He said he commends the state health commissioner for the “imminent threat” declaration.
“We still have a chance to slow this thing down, if we can get some armshots as soon as possible,” he said.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy sent President Joe Biden a letter asking for more vaccines, citing the state’s proximity to New York and lessons learned during the coronavirus about viruses not respecting America’s borders. State.
“We do not believe that New Jersey received a fair percentage of available vaccines through this allocation strategy,” Murphy and Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli wrote in their letter. “I would like to ask HHS and the CDC to reconsider the allocation strategy and increase New Jersey’s vaccine allocation to reflect the size of our population and the considerations raised in this letter.”
Meanwhile, Connecticut announced it will have 15 primary vaccination sites starting Monday, distributing 800 doses.
Applicants must identify as a gay or bisexual male with possible exposure in the past 14 days.
Connecticut has recorded 28 cases, all in men.
The United States has more than 4,600 total cases of monkeypox, with about a third in New York State.
The Biden administration is also considering declaring monkeypox a public health emergency, following the steps of the World Health Organization.
RELATED | LGBTQ activists call on Biden to address rapidly rising monkeypox cases
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