California governor declares monkeypox state of emergency

The governor of California has declared a state of emergency to speed up efforts to control the monkeypox outbreak, becoming the second US state in three days to take the step.

Overnor Gavin Newsom said the statement will help the state coordinate a government-wide response, seek more vaccines, and guide education and awareness-raising efforts about where people can get treatment and vaccines.

“We will continue to work with the federal government to secure more vaccines, raise awareness about risk reduction and stand by the LGBTQ community in fighting stigma,” Mr Newsom said in a statement in which he announced his statement.

The monkeypox virus spreads through prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact, which can include hugging, cuddling, and kissing, as well as sharing bedding, towels, and clothing.


California Governor Gavin Newsom (Richard Vogel, File/AP)

So far, it has mainly affected men who have sex with men, although health officials note that the virus can infect anyone.

“Public health officials are clear: stigma is unacceptable and counterproductive in the public health response,” Michelle Gibbons, executive director of the County Health Executives Association of California, said in a statement.

“The fact is, monkeypox is primarily transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and sharing of items like sheets 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. However, the lesions and blisters caused by the virus are painful and can prevent swallowing or defecating in the throat or anus.

The statement in California followed a similar one in upstate New York on Saturday and in San Francisco on Thursday. Mr Newsom’s government said on Friday that it was too early for such a statement.

The proclamation allows emergency medical personnel to administer monkeypox vaccines approved by the federal government.


California has received more than 61,000 vaccine doses and distributed more than 25,000 doses (Rick Bowmer/AP)

That is similar to a recently enacted law allowing pharmacists to dispense vaccines, Mr Newsom’s government said.

The state’s response builds on steps taken during the coronavirus pandemic to establish immunization clinics and ensure vulnerable populations are reached in collaboration with local and community-based organizations.

California has received more than 61,000 doses of the vaccine and has distributed more than 25,000 doses.

“We have no time to waste,” Los Angeles County Superintendent Kathryn Barger said in a statement. She said the country’s most populous district must use all available resources to expedite vaccine distribution and help those infected.

Mr Newsom’s office said Los Angeles County received a separate allocation of vaccines.

As of last week, the state had expanded its testing capacity to more than 1,000 tests a week. California governor declares monkeypox state of emergency

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