The Governor of California Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on Monday in order to expedite efforts to combat the monkey pox becoming the second entity of USA that applies this measure in the last three days.
Newsom said the declaration will help the state coordinate the government’s response, try to get more vaccines and spearhead education and outreach efforts about where people can get treatment and vaccines.
“We will continue to work with the federal government to ensure more vaccines, raise awareness around risk reduction, and support the LGBTQ community in combating stigma”, Newsom said in a statement announcing his statement.
Monkeypox is spread through prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact, such as hugging, petting, and kissing, as well as through the sharing of bedding, towels, and clothing. The people who have become ill so far have been mainly men who have sex with men, although health authorities say the virus can infect anyone.
“Public health officials are clear: stigma is unacceptable and counterproductive to the public health response Michelle Gibbons, executive director of the California Association of County Health Executives, said in a statement. “The fact is that monkeypox is spread primarily through skin-to-skin contact and by sharing objects like bedding or towels, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity”.
The type of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak is rarely fatal, and people usually recover within weeks. But the lesions and blisters caused by the virus are painful, and can prevent swallowing or bowel movement if they are in the throat or anus.
The state of New York issued a similar declaration on Saturday, and the city of San Francisco did the same on Thursday. But the Newsom administration had said as recently as Friday that it was too early to make such an announcement.
After pushing the governor to declare an emergency, Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco praised the move.
“The monkeypox outbreak is an emergency, and we need to use all the tools at our disposal to control it – Wiener said.