United States declares public health emergency over Monkeypox


Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regnery

The Biden administration declared Monkeypox to be a national public health emergency.

Today, the United States formally declared Monkeypox to be a nationwide public health emergency.

Announced by Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, this statement allows the government to access emergency funds and temporarily modify health-related regulations.

The announcement follows a struggling federal response to Monkeypox and pressure for the Biden administration to take action on the virus’s rapid spread. The government’s response to Monkeypox has been fraught: Stockpiles of Monkeypox vaccines have largely expired and testing has been bottlenecked, leading to shortages, delays and restrictions. 

According to the CDC, over 7,000 people have been infected with Monkeypox across 48 states. As a result, many local and state governments have declared states of emergency, including California and New York, in addition to the World Health Organization. In declaring an emergency federally, the Biden administration is hoping to moderate the spread of Monkeypox. 

“We’re prepared to take our response to the next level on this virus,” Becerra said in his announcement. 

The virus spreads through prolonged contact with an infected person. The vast majority of recent infections have been transmitted during sexual contact. The virus’s symptoms, which generally occur one to two weeks after infection, include pain, fevers, body aches and rashes, and are rarely fatal.