AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today thanked the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for proclaiming a state of emergency on monkeypox in Los Angeles County. The move came via unanimous vote of the five-member board earlier today on a motion led by Supervisor Holly Mitchell (D- Second District). The proclamation now allows government and public health officials to mobilize additional resources and request recovery assistance under the California Disaster Assistance Act in order to increase and deploy funding and emergency planning to combat the outbreak more effectively.
“We thank the Board of Supervisors for more formally recognizing monkeypox as a public health emergency with its declaration today but must ask: now, what’s the plan?” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “Vaccine doses are—and will remain—in critically short supply. However, there has not really been clear direction from the County on where or how to even access vaccines, and we know that an additional 42,000 doses will soon arrive from the feds. The Supervisors should immediately allocate an additional $10 million for both monkeypox and STDs, which have reached epidemic proportion nationwide throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
New York State, New York City and San Francisco all declared states of emergency on monkeypox last week or over the weekend for virus outbreaks in their jurisdictions. Governor Newsom followed suit proclaiming a state of emergency on monkeypox for the State of California late yesterday afternoon.
Since mid-May, monkeypox, a virus previously endemic in only a handful of African countries, has swept through communities of mostly gay & bisexual men and transgender and nonbinary people throughout the United States and elsewhere in over 70 countries globally. Sadly, the U.S. and many other regions have been woefully unprepared to handle these outbreaks, with vaccines shortages worldwide and with months-long production delays for additional vaccines expected.
Monkeypox has become a worldwide public health crisis, with more than 23,200 confirmed or presumptive positive cases reported as of today across more than 70 countries where it is not considered endemic, according to Reuters’ Monkeypox Factbox.