California and Illinois became the latest governments to declare monkeypox a public health emergency on Monday, following in the footsteps of several cities and New York state, while President Joe Biden named a new White House coordinator for monkeypox as the US struggles to contain a spike in infections.

Key Facts

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Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) Monday declared a state of emergency to help “bolster the state’s vaccination efforts” and coordinate a “whole-of-government response” to monkeypox as the state had 827 confirmed cases as of August 1.

Also on Monday, in Illinois, which has the third most infections in the US, Gov. UB Pritzker said he was declaring a monkeypox emergency to prevent the spread of a “rare but potentially serious disease.”

The decisions come after New York—the epicenter of the monkeypox outbreak in the US with 1,390 cases as of August 1—became the first state to declare a disaster emergency last Friday, with Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) pleading to use “every tool in our arsenal” to tackle the outbreak.

New York City—which has the most cases of any US city—and San Francisco were the first two cities to declare public health emergencies last week to strengthen government responses to the outbreak.

President Biden Tuesday announced a new team to lead the White House’s monkeypox response, including Robert Fenton with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who will serve as the national monkeypox response coordinator, and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, with the CDC’s Division of HIV Prevention, who was named deputy response coordinator, in a move the administration hopes will help boost the availability of tests, vaccines and treatments.

News Peg

State and city public health emergency declarations can help governments coordinate responses to outbreaks, target outreach to groups most at risk and expand treatment and vaccine efforts. In California, for instance, the emergency proclamation authorizes Emergency Medical Services personnel to also administer FDA-approved monkeypox vaccines. The federal government has been attempting to boost vaccination efforts as and states across the country have cities of limited supply.

Big Number

5,811. That's how many confirmed cases of monkeypox and orthopoxvirus—the family of viruses that monkeypox belongs to—the US had as of August 1 since the current outbreak began in early May, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The agency has confirmed monkeypox cases in every state except Montana and Wyoming.

Key Background

The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern two weeks ago, warning of an outbreak spreading rapidly around the world. Monkeypox is endemic in several countries in Africa, though outbreaks there in recent years have not received much international attention. At least five people in Africa have died this year from the disease, while four deaths have been reported in countries that have not previously experienced outbreaks, including India, Spain and Brazil.

What To Watch For

If other cities and states declare emergencies. Florida and Georgia follow closely behind Illinois with more than 425 monkeypox cases in each state.

India Reports First Monkeypox Death As Major US Cities Declare Health Emergency (Forbes)

California and Illinois declare monkeypox emergencies (NBC News)

WHO Calls Monkeypox A Global Health Emergency (Forbes)