The United States has declared a health emergency over the monkeypox outbreak.
“We are prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously and to take responsibility to help us tackle this virus,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said during a briefing.
The declaration will give the federal government access to emergency funding, along with additional powers to speed up vaccine distribution and make it easier to access treatments that have yet to go through a full-federal review.
Earlier in the week, the White House tapped Robert Fenton to lead the nation’s response to the monkeypox outbreak.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been over 6,600 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the U.S. as of August 3. That is the highest number of cases in the world, followed by Spain, which has reported more than 4,500 cases of the viral infection.
New York has become the epicenter of the monkeypox outbreak in the U.S., with nearly 1,700 cases. California is in a distant second with over 800 cases.
New York, California, and Illinois have all declared health emergencies over monkeypox, as have several cities, including San Francisco and New York City. Last month, the World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.