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Here We Go Again: Biden Administration Declares Monkeypox As A Public Health Emergency

HealthHere We Go Again: Biden Administration Declares Monkeypox As A Public Health Emergency

The Biden administration has declared monkeypox a public health emergency. The announcement was made on Thursday, as the United States recorded over 6,600 cases of the disease.

By declaring a public health emergency on the virus, Biden’s team is hoping to speed up vaccine distribution and control the disease before it spreads even more in the United States. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra explained the government’s decision in a statement. 

“I will be declaring a public health emergency on monkeypox. We are prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus,” Becerra said.

As noted in a Washington Times report, the World Health Organization (WHO) has already named the spread of monkeypox in nonendemic countries a public health emergency of international concern. Monkeypox is endemic in countries like Africa but not in the U.S.

The disease rarely causes death, though it results in painful rashes and lesions. Those who contract the disease tend to experience body pain, fever, and fatigue. 

Biden’s administration has tapped Robert Fenton and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis to coordinate the federal effort against the disease. Both men have decades of emergency experience under their belt. 

While efforts are underway now to combat the disease, Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, criticized the initiative. According to the Senator, the response to the disease has been very slow, and it risks repeating the mistakes that were made during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“A communicable disease outbreak following so closely on the heels of COVID-19 should be met with a swift, decisive, and organized response,” Sen. Richard Burr, North Carolina Republican, said Thursday. 

“Instead, HHS is repeating the exact same mistakes they made during the pandemic: painfully slow to begin testing, wholly disorganized in distributing vaccines and treatments, and messaging that’s confusing and outdated. HHS appears to have learned nothing from the tragedy of the last three years.”

At a press conference on Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized other leaders who invoked emergency powers due to the disease’s spread. “I am so sick of politicians, and we saw this with COVID, trying to sow fear into the population. We’re not doing fear.”

“You see some of these states declaring states of emergency. They’re going to abuse those emergency powers to restrict your freedom. I guarantee you that’s what will happen,” DeSantis said.

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