The Biden Administration declared a health emergency over the growing Monkeypox outbreak Thursday.
The declaration allows the federal government to amp up its response to the virus without the usual regulatory barriers.
“I want to make an announcement today that I will be declaring a public health emergency,” Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra said in a call with reporters Thursday about the monkeypox outbreak.
“We’re prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus.”
“We urge every American to take monkey pox seriously and to take responsibility and help us tackle this virus,” he continued.
The country has reported more than 6,600 cases of the virus, which cause fever, aches, and bumps or sores on the body.
It spreads through drawn-out skin-to-skin contact, and the main demographic affected so far has been gay and bisexual men.
Biden officials has been under scrutiny for a slow response to the growing outbreak, particularly because vaccines for the virus already exist.
“Importantly, this declaration will also help us continue to expand public health’s ability to expedite data sharing so that we can have comprehensive and timely data available to inform public health decisions,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Thursday.
The President appointed Robert Fenton, of FEMA, as the White House National Monkeypox Response Coordinator on Tuesday and named Dr. Demetre Daskalaki, the CDC director of HIV Prevention, as his deputy.
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