But the recent death of a Los Angeles County resident — the first in the United States to be caused by monkeypox — is a sobering reminder that the epidemic is ongoing and still poses risks.
“There is some hope around these issues,” David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said in a statement Tuesday. The occurrence of this epidemic should not be a comfort to anyone.
“We still need to step up our efforts to respond to this outbreak. And there are many, many data questions, clinical care questions, research questions that need to be answered about this unusual viral outbreak that’s been going on for decades. It’s very different in the United States itself.”
“In July, the CDC estimated that it took eight days for cases nationwide to double. By mid-August, the doubling rate was 25 days, showing encouraging signs of progress,” said Dr. Demetrius Daskalakis, the White House’s monkeypox response coordinator. He said last week.
But Harvey and other public health leaders warned Tuesday that those on the front lines of the response — including local health departments, epidemiologists and sexually transmitted disease clinics — lack the resources to ensure continued progress.
And if the outbreak continues, “there is a very important immunocompromised population in the United States,” said Dr. Cesar Arias, board member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and chief of infectious diseases at Houston Methodist Hospital. He said at the briefing.
Other key concerns raised by U.S. public health leaders on Tuesday included inequity in vaccination, access to testing and incomplete intelligence.
Defending the Biden administration’s call for Congress to immediately provide significant funding to combat the outbreak, $4 billion in funding for the monkeypox response is one of “four critical needs” in the next government funding bill. For Ukraine, the response to COVID-19 and natural disaster recovery.
It was a day before federal leaders – including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci – were scheduled to address the health care committee. , Education, Labor and Pensions Federal Response to Monkey Outbreak.
Fair protection is required
But continued work and investment are needed to sustain the promising trend — especially to reach underrepresented groups, health leaders said.
“In many ways, initial and simple work has been done. Now local health departments need to be more creative in reaching their hardest-to-reach communities with messaging, education, vaccination, testing and treatment,” Lori said. Tramel Freeman, CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials.
The White House’s Infectious Disease Response Team last month highlighted these injustices, highlighting efforts to offer vaccinations at major events and festivals as a strategy to curb them.
“As vaccine availability increases, I think we have a new opportunity in the strategy of getting vaccines to people as opposed to trying to get people to get vaccines.” Daskalakis said.
Last week, Daskalakis noted that case rates were declining in the hardest-hit parts of the country, including New York, Texas, California and Illinois.
But local public health leaders emphasized the importance of a broader perspective.
“We cannot take our foot off the gas just because major cities have the means to respond strongly, leaving small rural communities to fend for themselves,” Harvey said.