New York governor: Monkeypox is a ‘disaster emergency’

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul issued an executive order on Friday declaring a State Disaster Emergency in response to the monkeypox outbreak.

New York is the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are currently 1,345 confirmed monkeypox and orthopoxvirus cases in the Empire State. 

“After reviewing the latest data on the monkeypox outbreak in New York State, I am declaring a State Disaster Emergency to strengthen our aggressive ongoing efforts to confront this outbreak,” the leader wrote in a statement. 

“More than one in four monkeypox cases in this country are in New York State, and we need to utilize every tool in our arsenal as we respond. It’s especially important to recognize the ways in which this outbreak is currently having a disproportionate impact on certain at-risk groups. That’s why my team and I are working around the clock to secure more vaccines, expand testing capacity and responsibly educate the public on how to stay safe during this outbreak,” she said. 


New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.
(Craig Ruttle-Pool/Getty Images)

Hochul said on Twitter that the order will enable the state’s government to “respond more swiftly” and aid the state’s vaccination efforts. 

Specifically, the order extends the pool of eligible individuals who are able to give the vaccine shots, including EMS personnel, pharmacists and midwives. 

It also allows physicians and certified nurse practitioners to issue non-patient-specific standing orders for vaccines and requires providers to send vaccine data to the New York State Department of Health. 

On Thursday, the Empire State’s health commissioner declared monkeypox an “imminent threat to public health.” 

People wait in line for monkeypox vaccination in New York City, July 14.

People wait in line for monkeypox vaccination in New York City, July 14.
(Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)


“Based on the ongoing spread of this virus, which has increased rapidly and affected primarily communities that identify as men who have sex with men, and the need for local jurisdictions to administer vaccines, I’ve declared monkeypox an Imminent Threat to Public Health throughout New York State,” State Commissioner of Health Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a statement. “This declaration means that local health departments engaged in response and prevention activities will be able to access additional State reimbursement, after other Federal and State funding sources are maximized, to protect all New Yorkers and ultimately limit the spread of monkeypox in our communities.”

Hochul announced then that 110,00 monkeypox vaccine doses were secured for the state, which would be delivered over the course of the next four to six weeks. 

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra speaks June 28, 2022, in Washington.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra speaks June 28, 2022, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, announced Thursday that an additional 786,000 doses of the vaccine would be deployed nationwide.

“Our goal is to stay ahead of this virus and end this outbreak. We have a strategy to deploy these additional vaccine doses in a way that protects those at risk and limits the spread of the virus, while also working with states to ensure equitable and fair distribution,” he said. “These vaccines are the result of years of federal investment and planning.”

On a call, Becerra told reporters the same day that the Biden administration believes it has “done everything we can at the federal level to work with… state and local partners and communities affected to make sure we can stay ahead of this and end this outbreak.”


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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