New York officials have declared monkey pox an emergency, with New York City being the “epicenter of the outbreak.”
On Saturday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Ashwin Vasan, the city’s Commissioner for Health and Mental Hygiene, declared monkeypox a public health emergency.
About 150,000 New Yorkers are currently at risk for exposure in the city, which officials call the “epicenter of the outbreak.”
The city is working with “every level of government” to get more doses of the monkeypox vaccine, slow the spread of the virus and keep New Yorkers safe, officials said.
The announcement comes a day after New York government Kathy Hochul issued an executive order in response to the state’s growing outbreak, declaring it a “disaster situation.”
“After reviewing the latest data on the monkeypox outbreak in New York State, I declare a state of emergency for state disasters to bolster our aggressive ongoing efforts to cope with this outbreak,” Governor Hochul said. “More than one in four cases of monkeypox in this country are in New York State, and we must use every tool in our arsenal as we respond. It is especially important to recognize the ways in which this outbreak is currently disproportionately impacting Therefore, my team and I are working around the clock to get more vaccines, expand testing capacity, and responsibly educate the public on how to stay safe during this outbreak.”
There are more than 5,100 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the US, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New York has the highest reported cases of monkey pox, according to the CDC. There have been 1,383 cases of monkeypox reported in New York as of Friday, with the most — 1,289 — in New York City, according to state data.
The state executive order will allow the state to respond more quickly to the monkeypox outbreak and enable health professionals to help more New Yorkers get vaccinated.
Hochul’s statement came a day after monkey pox was released by New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, was considered an “imminent threat” to public health.
Commissioner Barrett said in a statement that the designation meant that “local health departments engaged in response and prevention activities will have access to additional state benefits, after other federal and state funding sources are maximized.”
Monkeypox is mainly spread from person-to-person contact through close and physical contact. Fever, muscle aches, chills, headaches and fatigue are some of the symptoms. Ulcers and painful rashes also develop on a person’s body.
Most cases in the US have been reported in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with the male community and are related to sexual contact between men and women. Although health officials have repeatedly stressed that the virus can affect anyone who has close contact with people who have monkey pox. Those with weakened immune systems, pregnant people and children under the age of 8 may be at increased risk for serious consequences, the CDC said.
“Every American should pay attention to monkey pox,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra told reporters on Thursday. “Monkeypox is not COVID, but it is contagious. It is painful and can be dangerous.”
The World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern last week.
Victoria Arancio and Matt J. Foster of ABC News contributed to this report.