the president Joe Biden On Tuesday, a team of disaster management and health officials was appointed to lead the US response to the monkeypox outbreak as infections continue to rise.
Biden appointed Robert Fenton, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to lead the U.S. effort to contain the outbreak. Fenton currently leads the FEMA region, which includes California, one of the states most affected by monkeypox.
The President has appointed Demeter Daskalakis, director of HIV prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as Deputy Coordinator for the US Monkeypox Response. According to the White House, Daskalakis is an expert on health issues affecting the LGBT community.
Fenton and Daskalakis will work with state and local governments to make sure they have enough tests, vaccines and antivirals to fight the virus, the White House said. They will also assist in efforts to educate the public about how the virus spreads.
Nearly 6,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in the United States in 48 states, Washington, and Puerto Rico, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The outbreak has spread rapidly since Boston health authorities confirmed the first U.S. case in May.
California, Illinois and New York, home to the nation’s three largest cities, are the hardest hit states. Governors of all three states state of emergency declared in response to the outbreak.
The pace of federal efforts to contain the outbreak has drawn criticism from lawmakers in Congress and local communities. But Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said last week that the federal government had done its best to ramp up resources.
To date, the US has delivered more than 330,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine, and on Friday, HHS offered 786,000 more doses to state and local governments. Demand for vaccines outpaced supply as the outbreak grew, leading to long lines at clinics and protests in some cities.
Gay and bisexual men are currently at the greatest risk of infection, although public health officials have repeatedly stressed that anyone can contract monkeypox through close physical contact with someone who has a rash from the disease, or through contact with contaminated materials such as like towels and sheets. .
Monkeypox is rarely fatal, and so far no deaths have been reported in the US. But some patients suffer excruciating pain due to the rash caused by the virus. Last week, World Health Organization officials said that roughly 10% of all patients with the virus are hospitalized for pain and to isolate themselves from others. Currently, monkeypox is mainly spread through skin contact during sex.