Nearly 3,600 cases have been reported in the US. According to the CDC, including 439 on Monday, the highest in a single day to date. However, state health departments that share information about positive cases, suspected cases, and the number of people treated are not required to provide standardized data to the federal government, leaving the CDC with a patchwork understanding of the spread of the virus.
“Creating a nationally notifiable condition forces public health to continue monitoring and responding to monkeypox after the current outbreak subsides,” CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said Wednesday.
Declaring monkeypox a nationally notifiable condition, however, gives health officials only a glimpse. This will prevent them from knowing, for example, how many people have been vaccinated.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra told CNN this week that the agency cannot require states to provide data.
“We need the states … to supply us with data,” Becerra said. “In most cases, we cannot require states to do this. For Covid, until we declared a public health emergency and started implementing these emergency powers, we couldn’t require states to provide us with this data.”
Administration is still debating whether to declare monkeypox a public health emergency and how the response could be strengthened if it did. But the administration doesn’t need to declare monkeypox a public health emergency to make it a nationally notifiable condition, a senior administration official said.
Another sign of the increased reaction of the administration, The FDA on Wednesday announced it freed up an additional facility in Denmark to complete monkeypox vaccine production, allowing more doses to be distributed and administered.
Last week, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency. WHO officials on Tuesday warned of an increase in transmission, urging people in communities where case numbers are high to take precautions by avoiding sexual contact.