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HHS Declares Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency

U.S. health officials declared monkeypox a public health emergency Aug. 4, almost two weeks after the World Health Organization first declared the outbreak a global health emergency

White House National Monkeypox Response Coordinator Robert Fenton said the nation’s COVID-19 response has informed its current approach to mitigating the monkeypox virus.

“We are applying lessons learned from the battles we’ve fought — from COVID response to wildfires to measles, and will tackle this outbreak with the urgency this moment demands,” said Fenton.

The declaration could lead to more emergency funding to fight the virus and expand vaccine access, as several states, including California and New York, have struggled to meet vaccine demands. Both states, as well as Illinois, declared state of emergencies Aug. 1, as monkeypox cases continue to rise across the country. As of Aug. 8, the United States has counted more than 8,900 cases.

The declaration, which lasts for 90 days but may be extended, also gives Secretary Becerra significant flexibility to modify federal rules or waive requirements in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


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