The Biden administration on Thursday declared monkeypox a public health emergency, with cases on the rise across the US. The announcement came during a briefing with the Department of Health and Human Services.

The administration has been criticized at times for its handling of the outbreak, and some have called on the government to declare a national emergency without delay. Politico was first to report on the expected declaration. Since the first US monkeypox case was identified in mid-May, more than 6,600 probable or confirmed cases have been detected in the United States.

Cases have been identified in every state except Montana and Wyoming. The declaration follows the World Health Organization announcement last month that monkeypox is a public health emergency of international concern. WHO defines a public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC, as “an extraordinary event” that constitutes a “public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease” and “to potentially require a coordinated international response.”


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Some cities and states, including New York City, San Francisco, California, Illinois, and New York, have already declared monkeypox an emergency, allowing them to free up funding and resources for their responses to the outbreak. On Tuesday, President Joe Biden named Robert Fenton as the White House’s national monkeypox response coordinator.

Fenton — a regional Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator who oversees Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada — will coordinate the federal government’s response to the outbreak. Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, serves as the deputy coordinator.

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