Biden appoints White House coordinator for monkeypox

WASHINGTON — President Biden on Tuesday named a veteran first responder to lead the US government’s response to the monkeypox outbreak as some of the nation’s largest states declare a state of emergency.

The official, Robert Fenton, FEMA regional administrator and twice acting head, will serve as the White House monkeypox coordinator. Along with him Dr. His replacement will be Demetre Daskalakis, director of HIV prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

morning statement A statement released by the White House said the two men would be tasked with overseeing efforts to “combat the current outbreak of monkeypox, including a fair increase in the availability of tests, vaccinations and treatments.”

mr. Biden has been pressured to appoint a president-backed man to lead the response as cases continue to circulate, especially in the LGBT community.

The appointments came a day after Gov. Gavin Newsom of California state of emergency declared to help deal with the monkeypox outbreak there. New York and Illinois made similar statements, as did the mayors of New York and San Francisco.

The CDC has reported almost 6,000 cases of monkeypox since May, nearly half of which are in these three major states. No deaths have been reported so far – monkeypox is rarely fatal – but the virus can cause severe pain. It spreads mainly through prolonged physical contact.

The Biden administration has not declared a state of emergency, although The World Health Organization did this late last month.but Xavier Becerra, US Secretary of Health and Human Services, is considering it.

The White House said an additional 737,000 vaccines were shipped on Monday, bringing the total number of doses distributed to 1.1 million.

“This is very important as we are trying to be really aggressive about monkeypox,” Karine Jean-Pierre, a White House press secretary, told reporters on Monday. She added that 80,000 tests are carried out per week. “This is another important and important way to make sure people get tested so they know if they have monkeypox or not,” she said.

The two officials appointed by Mr. Biden on Tuesday morning have a lot of experience. mr. Fenton, who oversees the American West for FEMA, has led disaster response, disease outbreaks, and humanitarian operations and served twice as the agency’s acting administrator.

Dr. Daskalakis is known as a national expert on health issues affecting the LBGTQ community, having previously led New York’s infectious disease management, including the Covid-19 response.

“Bob Fenton and Dr. Daskalakis are proven, effective leaders who will lead all government efforts to implement President Biden’s comprehensive strategy to control monkeypox with the urgency that this outbreak requires,” the doctor said. medical adviser to President Anthony S. Fauci.