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Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on Thursday said he will declare a public health emergency over the monkeypox outbreak.
“I want to make an announcement today I will be declaring a public health emergency on monkeypox,” Becerra said during a call with reporters. We’re prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously.”
The monkeypox outbreak has infected more than 6,600 Americans. The emergency declaration would free up federal money and other resources to fight the virus, which may cause fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity ahead of an official announcement.
The White House said it has made more than 1.1 million vaccine doses available and has helped to boost domestic diagnostic capacity to 80,000 tests per week.
Last week, the World Health Organization called monkeypox a public health emergency, with cases in more than 70 countries. A global emergency is the WHO’s highest level of alert, but the designation does not necessarily mean a disease is particularly transmissible or lethal.
California, Illinois and New York have all made declarations in the last week, as have New York City, San Francisco and San Diego County.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.