A national monkeypox response coordinator was appointed by President Biden on Tuesday to deal with the expanding outbreak, which has affected around 5,800 Americans and more than 23,000 individuals globally.
According to a report by The Daily Wire, Robert Fenton, a regional manager for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and a previous acting head of the organization, was chosen by the White House to head up the government’s response.
He will be assisted by Demetre Daskalakis, who presently serves as the director of the CDC’s Division of HIV Prevention.
“Bob’s experience in federal and regional response coordination, and Demetre’s vast knowledge of our public health systems’ strengths and limits will be instrumental as we work to stay ahead of the virus and advance a whole-of-government response,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra said.
The declaration was made a few days after states of emergency were proclaimed in California, Illinois, and New York due to the ongoing spread of the virus.
Nearly half of all cases as of August 2 were recorded in those three states. However, 48 people have had infections noted.
Since both cities have proclaimed their own states of emergency, San Francisco and New York City have been the epicenters in particular.
According to NYC Mayor Eric Adams (D), up to 150,000 New Yorkers may be in danger of contracting the illness.
“This outbreak must be met with urgency, action, and resources, both nationally and globally, and this declaration of a public health emergency reflects the seriousness of the moment,” Adams and Dr. Ashwin Vasan, the head of the New York City health and mental hygiene department, said in a joint statement.
Monkeypox, which traditionally has been endemic to West Africa, belongs to the same viral family as smallpox. It also results in fevers, pains, chills, and swollen lymph nodes, as well as itchy, visible rashes and sores.
At least 80 different countries have been affected by the latest outbreak, which mainly spread through bodily fluids and close physical contact. Gay men are being hit particularly hard by the pandemic.
A California-based study found that 91.7% of cases in that state are of “[g]ay, Lesbian or same gender loving” people, with men accounting for 98.3% of all infections.