US confirmed monkeypox cases rise to 3,600

So far, 3,600 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the United States, according to the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), News.Az reports.

"We want to get ahead of (monkeypox)," said Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra in an interview with CNN.

"You don't want it to become a part of life. But how many people have died compared to COVID? Zero…We declare public health emergencies based on the data and the science, not on our worries."

In a memo obtained by The Washington Post, the Biden administration privately estimated to Congress that it may need nearly $7 billion to mount an appropriate response to the monkeypox outbreak.

The $6.9 billion total would be able to secure 19 million new vaccine doses for monkeypox and replenish about four million doses for smallpox preparedness efforts.

The money would also be used to buy antiviral treatments, expand testing, improve vaccine distribution and provide service coverage for uninsured and underinsured Americans.

Monkeypox symptoms include fever, lesions and severe pain that may last for weeks. The virus, which can be spread by skin-to-skin contact, is mostly affecting the gay and bisexual community, but children and pregnant women are also susceptible.

Health officials say monkeypox is at risk of becoming permanently entrenched in the US.

The Biden administration has distributed 330,000 vaccines and contracted for a total of 6.9 million Jynneos doses by mid-2023.

"There is no other place in the world where they have 300,000 doses of vaccines…distributed to the states, as we have here in America," said Becerra.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Saturday that the global monkeypox outbreak was a public health emergency of international concern, its highest-level warning.

The US is contemplating a similar declaration, with several lawmakers pushing for COVID-like preparedness to have enough monkeypox funding.

“What we’re hoping is the experience of COVID will inform the response to this outbreak,” said US Rep. David Cicilline.


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