The Biden administration is expected to soon declare monkeypox a public health emergency.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra will hold a press conference on monkeypox on Thursday morning.

A White House spokesman said there were no updates at this time.

Biden officials debated for days whether to declare a public health emergency, as health officials in the US and the WHO said this week that the risk to the general population was low. HHS stated multiple public health emergencies in recent years, including Covid-19 and the opioid crisis.

“I really think he deserves to be one of them,” said Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Health Security Center at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “We have a lot of problems across the country due to the rate of increase in new cases. This is not an emergency that poses… a serious threat to the general population. But it’s still moving… and could spread to other vulnerable communities.”

Talk of such a declaration is heating up as the virus continues to spread across the country. Nearly 3,600 cases have been reported in the US. New York City remains the epicenter of the outbreak, with the majority of cases occurring in men who have sex with men.

CDC on Tuesday said it makes monkeypox dangerous condition requiring national notification, which directs public health authorities to use a specific definition for case detection and to follow a specific rubric when reporting surveillance data to the agency. The move will allow the CDC to monitor the nationwide distribution more closely.

However, concerns about the spread of the virus have led some administration officials to fear future transmission of the virus, given the lack of vaccine doses available. The Biden administration has also faced growing criticism over the pace of its response from public health experts who fear the window to contain and eradicate the disease is closing.

HHS is expected to announce several hundred thousand more doses this week after the Food and Drug Administration said it had completed testing of the vaccine at its manufacturing site in Denmark.

Sara Overmole contributed to this report.