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White House plans to declare monkeypox outbreak a state of emergency 

BREAKING: White House plans to declare monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency

  • The White House plans to declare monkeypox a public health emergency as early as Thursday
  • It comes as America has confirmed 6,617 cases of the tropical virus, including five pediatric cases 

The Biden Administration plans to declare a public health emergency over the monkeypox outbreak Thursday afternoon, it has been revealed as U.S. cases rose to 6,600.

Officials close to the matter say the move will allow ‘greater flexibility’ in how vaccines are dished out, and let regulators fast-track approvals for medications against the virus.

It is expected to be declared at a press briefing scheduled for later today by Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, the Washington Post reported after speaking to two sources close to the matter.

New York, California and Illinois have all already declared public health emergencies over the outbreak. The World Health Organization made the declaration two weeks ago, after the virus was reported in 70 countries where it is not normally seen.

America’s monkeypox outbreak has surged to be the largest in the world, with a total of 6,600 cases reported in 48 states. No deaths have been registered in the U.S. to date, but there have been four outside Africa including two in Spain.

Almost every case is among gay or bisexual men, but there is ‘great concern’ that monkeypox — which is spread via physical contact — could reach more vulnerable groups. At least five cases have been recorded in children so far, who are more at risk of serious disease from the virus.

Federal officials have been slammed for a delayed response to the virus so far, allowing it to potentially spread unrestricted for weeks before expanding access to testing and rolling out vaccines to the population. At current, the country can perform up to 80,000 monkeypox tests each day.

Federal officials were expected to make the declaration last week, amid alarm over the ever-increasing tally of infections.

But discussions over the move dragged on in the White House, although officials now appear set to make the declaration as part of a broader push to contain the virus.

 This is a developing story