New York Governor Declares Monkeypox Outbreak a ‘Disaster Emergency’

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In response to the monkeypox outbreak, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has declared a ‘disaster emergency.’

“After reviewing the latest data on the monkeypox outbreak in New York State, I am declaring a State Disaster Emergency to strengthen our aggressive ongoing efforts to confront this outbreak,” Governor Hochul said. “More than one in four monkeypox cases in this country are in New York State, and we need to utilize every tool in our arsenal as we respond,” said Hochul.

The monkeypox outbreak has been declared an “imminent threat” by New York’s health commissioner, who issued an urgent warning to the LGBT community and said health workers need to “sound the alarm” on NY1 Friday.

“The vast majority of cases are spreading through sexual contact, and the vast majority of cases (are) among men who have sex with men,” Dr. Mary Bassett said. “This is the community that we both want to protect from stigma and also sound the alarm.”

Two individuals have died in Spain and Brazil, the first deaths documented outside of Africa from this outbreak.

New York City, the hub of the outbreak in the United States, is receiving 80,000 doses of the vaccine, although others believe that this is insufficient.

State Senator Brad Hoylman, U.S. Congressman Jerry Nadler, state Assembly members Deborah Glick, Dick Gottfried, Linda Rosenthal, and City Council Member Erik Bottcher issued a joint statement urging Mayor Eric Adams to declare a state of emergency.

“New York is in the middle of another health emergency that shows no signs of abating,” the statement said. “Since the first monkeypox case was confirmed on May 18, the number of verified monkeypox cases in New York has risen to 1,341, more than 25% of all cases nationally, and continues to grow. New York State and New York City should each act now.”

The declaration of an “Imminent Threat to Public Health” was vital and necessary, but it was not sufficient in detecting and combating the virus’s severity, according to the statement.

The authorities said the demand to action is even more pressing now that courses for New York’s 1.1 million college and university students will resume next month.

As of Friday, 1,289 individuals in New York City had tested positive for orthopoxvirus, meaning they are presumed cases of monkeypox.