New York Governor Hochul declares state of emergency for monkey pox state disaster

People wait online to register for a monkeypox vaccination on July 29, 2022 in New York City.

John Smith | Corbis News | Getty Images

New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency Friday night due to the ongoing spread of monkey pox.

She said the emergency declaration would lead to a faster response and better distribution of vaccinations. It came a day after the New York State Commissioner of Health declared Monkeypox an “immediate threat to public health.”

“I am declaring a state of emergency to strengthen our ongoing efforts to cope with the monkeypox outbreak,” Hochul tweeted Friday.

Hochul said the state is an emerging hub for the virus, which manifests itself in symptoms of rashes and lesions all over the body, limbs and genitals.

New York has recorded the most cases of the virus nationwide — 1,345 — followed by California with 799, according to Centers of Disease Control and Prevention data last updated on Friday.

“More than one in four cases of monkeypox in this country are in New York State, and we have to use every tool in our arsenal when we respond,” Hochul wrote.

The state of emergency, issued by executive order, will allow paramedics, pharmacists, midwives, doctors and certified nurses to administer vaccinations, the governor’s office said in a statement.

The state was already securing more vaccines, expanding testing and distributing information through a website and text reporting system, the governor’s office said.

On Thursday, Hochul said a reassignment by the federal government would mean 110,000 additional doses of the monkeypox vaccine for the state, for a total of 170,000 to date.

The governor stressed the importance of getting vaccines in neighborhoods and communities affected by rapid spread.

“It is especially important to recognize the ways in which this outbreak is currently disproportionately impacting certain at-risk groups,” she said in the statement late Friday.

The virus, spread through physical contact, can develop flu-like symptoms and the first effects can last up to four weeks.

Because men who have sex with men are among the riskiest cohort of the virus, the World Health Organization recommended on Wednesday that people in that group limit the number of sexual partners as a precaution.

Cases of monkeypox have been reported this year in 71 countries where it was previously unknown or unreported, according to the CDC.

The US has recorded 5,189 cases this year, according to CDC data as of Friday.

Oh Thursday, the city of San Francisco declared its own health emergency due to the virus.

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