Image courtesy of Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of Governor Kathy Hochul on Flickr
New York City officials declared monkeypox a public health emergency on Saturday, a move that will open up more resources to fight the spread of the disease. Mayor Eric Adams and Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan called New York City the “epicenter” of the outbreak, with the total cases reaching more than 1,400 as of August 1, roughly 25 percent of cases reported nationally, according to the city’s health department. Gov. Kathy Hochul this weekend also issued an executive order declaring a state disaster emergency in response to the monkeypox outbreak, which makes more public health workers eligible to administer monkeypox vaccines and requires providers to send vaccine data to the state.
“This order will bolster our existing efforts to educate, vaccinate, test, and treat as many New Yorkers as possible and ensure a whole-of-government response to this outbreak,” Adams said in a statement. “In partnership with federal, state, and local officials we will continue to respond with the urgency required to keep people safe and this order is another tool to help us do so.”
Hochul last week announced that the city would be receiving 80,000 additional monkeypox vaccines, with 30,000 more being distributed to the rest of the state. These vaccine doses will be administered over the coming weeks.
“More than one in four monkeypox cases in this country are in New York State, and we need to utilize every tool in our arsenal as we respond. It’s especially important to recognize the ways in which this outbreak is currently having a disproportionate impact on certain at-risk groups,” Hochul said in a statement. “That’s why my team and I are working around the clock to secure more vaccines, expand testing capacity and responsibly educate the public on how to stay safe during this outbreak.”
The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency on July 23. Last week, San Francisco announced a local public health emergency after cases had nearly doubled in a week. Nationwide, a total of 5,189 confirmed monkeypox cases have been confirmed as of July 29, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
New Yorkers can protect themselves and their communities from the spread of monkeypox by limiting close contact with others. Find more information on testing, vaccination, and prevention here.