Health care workers assist people waiting to be vaccinated at a monkeypox vaccination site in New York, the United States, on July 14, 2022. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. states of California and Illinois both declared monkeypox emergencies on Monday, following an emergency declaration made late Friday night by the state of New York.
The announcements were made amid growing concerns that the virus could become the next public health failure in the country.
California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in a statement, saying: "California is working urgently across all levels of government to slow the spread of monkeypox, leveraging our robust testing, contact tracing and community partnerships strengthened during the pandemic to ensure that those most at risk are our focus for vaccines, treatment and outreach."
The declaration will help the most populous U.S. state to get an additional 72,000 doses of vaccine against monkeypox from the federal government, and enable emergency medical services personnel to administer vaccines, along with deploying vaccine clinics through local and community organization partnerships.
Also on Monday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker declared the monkeypox virus a statewide public health emergency, and the state a "disaster area" regarding the disease.
The declaration, with immediate effect and in place for 30 days, will allow the Illinois Department of Public Health to utilize resources for coordinating logistics across state agencies, and quickly and efficiently aid in the distribution of vaccines and in the prevention and treatment of the disease.
It will also assist state agencies in coordinating response with the federal government, Pritzker said in a statement.
Illinois and California were the second and third U.S. state declaring monkeypox emergencies. On Friday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state disaster emergency due to the growing monkeypox cases in the state.
"I am declaring a State Disaster Emergency to strengthen our aggressive ongoing efforts to confront this outbreak," Hochul said in a statement.
People sanitize their hands at a monkeypox vaccination site in the Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, on July 30, 2022. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)
The announcement came a day after the New York state commissioner of health declared monkeypox an "imminent threat to public health."
Data by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the United States has so far reported nearly 6,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox. New York is the epicenter of the outbreak in the country, with 1,390 reported cases as of Monday, while California and Illinois have reported 827 and 520 cases, respectively.
The three states have altogether reported more than 47 percent of all confirmed cases in the country.
An opinion published Saturday by The New York Times said the monkeypox will be "one of the worst public health failures in modern times" facing the United States.
"Our country's response to monkeypox has been plagued by the same shortcomings we had with Covid-19," the article said.
Monkeypox is a rare viral disease that is usually transmitted through body fluids, respiratory droplets and other contaminated materials. The disease usually results in fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes.
On July 23, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern, the highest level of alert the UN health body can give. ■