The Biden Administration announced that it was confident authorities are capable of eliminating monkeypox from the United States by speeding up vaccine rollout and treatment to combat the virus’s spread.
“I think monkeypox can be contained, absolutely,” doctor Ashish Jha, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said.
“We have acted swiftly,” Jha said, defending President Joe Biden’s administration for accusations of being caught flat-footed when the first cases began appearing in US states over two months ago.
“The plan is to eliminate this virus from the United States. I think we can do that,” Jha said.
The World Health Organization on Saturday declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency, which has affected nearly 17,000 people in 74 countries.
US policymakers have complained of the Biden administration’s response, including House Democrat Adam Schiff who wrote the country’s health secretary this week to warn that “the federal government is falling short of the response that is needed.”
The center of the US outbreak is in New York City, where most of the recorded cases are in gay men.
Jha acknowledged that the virus is spreading largely in the gay male community, but stressed that “there are other people who are at risk as well,” specifically those who are in close personal contact with people who are infected.