US under pressure in curbing monkeypox outbreak as cases hit 20K

September 8, 2022, 7:05 pm

<p>A sign is displayed on the window of a monkeypox vaccination site in New York, the United States on Sept. 6, 2022. <em>(Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)</em></p>

A sign is displayed on the window of a monkeypox vaccination site in New York, the United States on Sept. 6, 2022. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)

LOS ANGELES – More than three months into the monkeypox outbreak, over 20,000 monkeypox cases have been confirmed in the United States, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Concerns are mounting that the window of opportunity for containing the escalating monkeypox outbreak in the country may be closing, with vaccine shortages leaving some at-risk groups waiting weeks to get vaccinated.

A total of 20,733 known monkeypox cases had been reported nationwide as of Tuesday, CDC data showed.

California had the most cases with 3,833, followed by New York with 3,526 and Florida with 2,126, according to CDC data.

So far, the US has the world's highest tally of monkeypox cases.

While monkeypox cases are increasing nationally, the speed of the outbreak appears to be slowing, said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky recently.

However, health officials caution that lags in data reporting can offer an incomplete picture of the outbreak in recent weeks, making it hard to know if cases have truly peaked.

Public health experts warn it is still too soon to make pronouncements about the country turning a corner.

They are concerned that failure to get the outbreak under control could see it spills over into other populations or species.

The Joe Biden administration is ramping up a monkeypox vaccination campaign -- sending thousands of vaccine doses during the Labor Day weekend to events like Southern Decadence in New Orleans, Atlanta Black Pride and Pridefest in Oakland, to reach large gatherings of gay, bisexual and queer people who are at higher risk of getting exposed to and infected by the virus, according to a report of NPR.

The Biden administration has been facing criticism in its response to the monkeypox outbreak, including failure to order enough vaccines, speed treatments and make tests available to head off the outbreak.

"We should have been able to contain monkeypox -- it was detected early and already had tests, a safe vaccine and an effective treatment. But a chronically underfunded public health system, often lacking even basic supplies like testing swabs and syringes and depleted by two-plus years of the COVID-19 pandemic, failed this most basic test," said a report of The Hill.

"From vaccinations to communications, the White House effort to fight the monkeypox virus has been one mess after another," said a recent report of Bloomberg. (Xinhua)