New York Governor Cathy Hochhol declared late Friday that monkeypox is now a catastrophic emergency as her administration struggles to disperse vaccines to contain the spread of the disease.
The announcement comes as monkeypox cases soar in New York City, the current epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, where the number of cases passed 1,400 on Friday.
Hochul tweeted: “I am declaring a state of disaster emergency to reinforce our ongoing efforts to respond to a monkeypox outbreak.
This executive order enables us to respond more quickly, and allows health care professionals to take additional steps that will help vaccinate more New Yorkers.
Hochul continued: “More than one in four cases of monkeypox in this country are in New York, and it currently has a disproportionate impact on risk groups.
“We’re working around the clock to secure more vaccines, expand testing capacity, and educate New Yorkers on how to stay safe.”
The monkeypox virus hits gay men so hard, that 95 percent of infections in the United States occur among them. New York City is home to one of the largest LGBT communities in the United States, and is ready to receive 110,000 of the 800,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine coming from federal governments — but Hochul still wants more.
New York Governor Cathy Hochhol declared monkeypox an emergency in her state, making New York the first state to do so.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has also declared a public health emergency, as he moves to “expand access to vaccines and treatment to keep people safe.”
“New York City is currently the epicenter of the outbreak, and we estimate that approximately 150,000 New Yorkers may currently be at risk of developing monkeypox,” he continued in the statement.
Hochhol echoed his concerns, telling reporters on Saturday, “What we’re seeing are signs that it could escalate significantly.”
Hochul continued: “When I inform the federal government that we need more doses, more than previously allocated, I can demonstrate that there is a high demand and need.
Advertisements are mostly made to release emergency administrative functions, such as increasing the pool of people qualified to administer vaccines.
It also allows practicing doctors and nurses to give a shout, and also makes sure that vaccine providers send data to the state government.
New York expects 110,000 vaccines from the federal government, 80,000 of which will go to New York City.
Hochul emphasized that there was acute danger “particularly in gay males,” but said, “We’ll protect them. We’re not going to sweep this under the rug.”
No deaths have been recorded in the country so far but many patients have been hospitalized.
The United States has become the global epicenter of the monkeypox outbreak, overtaking Spain after a record 24 hours in which 1,048 new cases were confirmed.
Wednesday’s updated data shows there are now 4,639 confirmed cases in the United States
Spain currently has 3,738.
Spain has the highest number of monkeypox cases per capita, while the United States has the largest overall number
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Wednesday that the slight increase in cases was likely due to increased testing, after it expanded capacity from 10,000 to 80,000 swabs per week.
By population – which takes into account the population of the United States seven times the population of Spain – America has about one case per 100,000 people.
In the United States, cases were initially mostly related to international travel, particularly to Europe, but many more infected people are now being detected in the country. Experts suggest that the virus may have been circulating for a while before it was detected.
Hotspots in New York City and Washington, D.C. are rolling out vaccines against the virus for gay or bisexual men with multiple partners within two weeks to put a lid on the virus, but those programs have been deadlocked with very few doses from the federal government.