New York Gov. Kathy Hochul officially declared a state disaster emergency Friday night due to the rising cases of monkeypox amid the outbreak. A day after, a public health emergency declaration followed in the Big Apple.
Hochul hoped that by declaring a state disaster emergency, public health officials would be forced to provide a better response and vaccination distribution in the area, NBC News reported.
Before New York, San Francisco announced a state of emergency Thursday over the growing cases of monkeypox transmissions in the city.
Data from the San Francisco Department of Public Health showed the city recorded 281 cases thus far. Meanwhile, California has documented a total of 800.
“We are at a very scary place. And we don’t want to be ignored by the federal government in our need. So many leaders of the LGBT community have also, weeks ago, asked for additional help and support and assistance,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said at a press conference, as per CBS News.
New York’s governor’s office explained that with the declaration, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) staff, pharmacists, physicians, nurse practitioners, certified nurses and midwives would be able to administer vaccinations against monkeypox.
However, there is fear that the available monkeypox vaccines may not be enough for at-risk Americans if the situation were to get worse and cases continue to climb.
Although U.S. officials celebrated the recent arrival of about 800,000 monkeypox vaccines, they are not enough to cover people at risk of contracting the virus, especially since additional doses won’t be available until October, according to the Washington Post.
The U.S. only has enough doses to vaccinate a third of the roughly 1.6 million at high-risk gay and bisexual men, added the news outlet.
Although monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, the virus can be passed through sexual intercourse and intimate contact. Preliminary data also found that the transmissions were most common in men who have sex with men.
In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning saying members of the LGBTQ community should take precautionary measures since they are at a higher risk amid the outbreak.
In June, the public health agency released a set of guidelines for sexually active people, promoting safer sex practices that could prevent the spread of the virus. Part of the list was masturbating with a partner while maintaining a distance of at least six feet.