Monkeypox: Disaster emergency declared in New York in response to outbreak

Albany, New York - Governor Kathy Hochul, noting that New York state is now home to more than 25% of US monkeypox cases, declared a state disaster emergency to secure additional vaccines and slow the spread of the virus.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state disaster emergency to slow the spread of the monkeypox virus.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state disaster emergency to slow the spread of the monkeypox virus.  © POOL / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

"We need to utilize every tool in our arsenal as we respond," said Hochul on Friday night as the number of statewide cases hit 1,345.

"It's especially important to recognize the ways in which this outbreak is currently having a disproportionate impact on certain at-risk groups."

According to the governor, her executive order will allow the state to amp up its response to the monkeypox cases while allowing health care professionals to vaccinate more New Yorkers against infection with less red tape.

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Her announcement came after a coalition of Manhattan lawmakers called on Hochul to declare a state of emergency as the number of monkeypox infections continues to rise.

Monkeypox cases are on the rise in New York

Medical supplies are arranged on the tables before the opening of a monkeypox mass vaccination site at the Bushwick Educational Campus in Brooklyn.
Medical supplies are arranged on the tables before the opening of a monkeypox mass vaccination site at the Bushwick Educational Campus in Brooklyn.  © KENA BETANCUR / AFP

According to city health officials, 1,289 people in New York City already tested positive for monkeypox and the cases are growing. In addition, authorities said, there are likely many more undiagnosed cases across the five boroughs.

"The current cases are primarily spreading through sex and other intimate contact among social networks of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men; transgender people; gender-nonconforming people; and nonbinary people," said NYC Health on its website.

"People in these social circles who have multiple or anonymous sex partners are at a high risk of exposure."

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California, with 799 cases, is second to New York as the number of US virus infections grew to 5,189.

According to Hochul, the state has now received a total of 170,000 doses of the vaccine after the federal government recently secured more than 110,000 additional doses.

"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," the governor said.

Cover photo: POOL / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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