US President Joe Biden plans to declare the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency as early as Thursday. The move is intended not only to raise awareness of the virus, but also to free up additional flexibility and resources to combat the spread.
Fast action without extensive testing
The statement would come from Xavier Becerra, the secretary of health, two officials said Washington Post. The health secretary is planning a second statement authorizing federal officials to expedite medical countermeasures, such as potential treatments and vaccines, without undergoing extensive federal scrutiny. It would also allow for greater flexibility in expanding the current vaccine supply, officials said.
The government’s announcement follows decisions by New York, California and Illinois, which recently declared public health emergencies. The World Health Organization declared monkeypox an international public health emergency on July 23, after confirming outbreaks in about 70 countries where the virus has not spread in the past.
Both the White House and the Department of Health did not initially respond to the report Washington Post reacted.