New York is first state to declare monkeypox outbreak a 'Disaster Emergency', here's what it means for you

New York is first state to declare monkeypox outbreak a 'Disaster Emergency', here's what it means for you
New York Governor Kathy Hochul (inset) declared a 'State Disaster Emergency' on Friday, July 29, 2022, over the monkeypox outbreak (Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images and @GovKathyHochul/Twitter)

Due to the alarming cases of monkeypox, New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a disaster emergency in the state via a tweet on Friday night, July 29. The state has reported a total of 1,345 monkeypox cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.

The announcement, which came a day after the New York State Commissioner of Health declared monkeypox an "imminent threat to public health," said that the disaster emergency declaration would lead to a prompt response. Hochul tweeted, “I am declaring a State Disaster Emergency to strengthen our ongoing efforts to confront the monkeypox outbreak.” She further said, “This Executive Order enables us to respond more swiftly, and allows health care professionals to take additional steps that will help get more New Yorkers vaccinated,” adding, "More than one in four monkeypox cases in this country are in New York, currently having a disproportionate impact on at-risk groups. We are working around the clock to secure more vaccines, expand testing capacity, and educate New Yorkers on how to stay safe."


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As per the Governor’s office, the Executive Order specifically extends the pool of eligible individuals who can administer monkeypox vaccines, including EMS personnel, pharmacists, and midwives, 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. 

Epicenter of the outbreak

Following the declaration made by Hochul, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, and Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan also declared a public health emergency on Saturday, July 30, and called the city "the epicenter" of the outbreak.

Vasan issued a statement saying, "Pursuant to Section 3.01 of the Health Code, I am authorized to declare a public health emergency and issue orders and take actions that I deem necessary for the health and safety of the City and its residents when urgent public health action is necessary to protect the public health against an existing threat."

While Adams, according to DailyMail, said, "New York City is currently the epicenter of the outbreak, and we estimate that approximately 150,000 New Yorkers may currently be at risk for monkeypox exposure."

As per the Governor's office, the federal government had secured an additional 110,000 vaccine doses, resulting in a total of 170,000 doses for New Yorkers to date.

CDC data

New York has recorded 1,345 cases, the highest number of Monkeypox cases in the US, followed by California with 799 cases, according to CDC data. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency late last week. 

On July 26, as reported by NBC, Dr Anthony Fauci called the outbreak a "serious problem". He said that the White House is considering establishing a monkeypox coordinator role similar to its Covid one to streamline response, distribution, and other outreach efforts.

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