State health commissioner declares monkeypox an imminent threat to public health in NY
The state commissioner of health has declared monkeypox an imminent threat to public health in New York.
It comes as the Department of Health confirmed a total of 1,341 cases on Thursday.
State health officials say the ongoing spread of this virus has increased rapidly, strengthening the need for vaccines.
The declaration will make that easier for local health departments.
Health officials throughout New York are now encouraging those at the highest risk to get vaccinated.
At last check, there were 36 cases of monkeypox in Westchester County alone. Now the pressure is on to get more vaccines delivered to New York City and New York state in hopes of controlling the outbreak.
Monkeypox is growing so quickly, that on Thursday, the World Health Organization declared the viral infection "a global emergency".
Gov. Kathy Hochul expressed gratitude to the Biden administration for its help in securing an additional 110,000 monkeypox doses. Approximately 80,000 doses will go to New York City and the remainder to the state.
Hochul added, "With more than one quarter of all cases in the U.S., New Yorkers and especially our LGBTQ+ community remain among the hardest hit... We will continue to advocate to the federal government for our fair share of vaccines based on the disease burden impacting New York."
Doctors describe monkeypox as a skin condition that's mostly spreading among gay and bi-sexual men. However, the viral infection can affect anyone.
Judy Troilo, executive director of The Loft, said it can spread in places where there is a great deal of skin contact, if one is around a person who has the virus or at bars and clubs.
Meanwhile throughout the country, due to the ongoing low supply of vaccines, many states are only offering them to those who believe they may have been exposed to the virus.