To the surprise of few, the White House has once again jumped on board with declaring monkeypox to be a public health emergency.
This declaration emerges despite far fewer cases of monkeypox relative to COVID, not to mention the very different routes of transmission both viruses take.
The nature of the viruses themselves is also quite different.
Originating in 1958 in monkeys, rather than a nefarious lab, monkeypox features mild, albeit unlikable symptoms, including aches, fever, and notorious skin lesions, which are oftentimes pus-filled.
At this point in time, more than 6,600 cases of monkeypox are present in the United States, and some of the heaviest concentrations are found in the urban centers of New York, California, and Illinois.
Virtually all cases entail men who engage in sexual behaviors with other men, suggesting that the virus is spread through prolonged close contact.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra has proclaimed that the White House is more than ready to take the nation’s response “to the next level.”
“We urge everyone to take this virus seriously,” Becerra intoned, in spite of the fact that monkeypox primarily affects one specific demographic of the population.
After declaring a public health emergency, the Biden administration can formally free up different resources combating the virus, including the improved availability of monkeypox data, as noted by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, who made an appearance alongside Becerra.
Outside of the White House rhetoric, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also jumped on board the monkeypox train, declaring the virus to be a “public health emergency of international concern.”