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San Francisco Becomes First Major US City To Announce Monkeypox Local Emergency

The outbreak is reminiscent of the 1980s AIDS epidemic that ravaged the LGBTQ community in the city.

Published: July 29, 2022 10:55 PM IST

By News Desk | Edited by Shrimansi Kaushik

India has reported nine cases of monkeypox; five from Kerala and four, including a 31-year-old woman from Nigeria who tested positive on Wednesday, from Delhi.
San Francisco is the first major US city to declare Monkeypox local emergency.

San Francisco: Monkeypox has been declared a “local emergency” in San Francisco making it the first major US city to do so. Effective until August 1, San Francisco’s Department of Public Health said the measure will help “speed up and streamline to better respond to Monkeypox”. According to the mayor’s office, the city has confirmed 261 cases of Monkeypox. There are reportedly 799 cases in California, over 4,600 cases in the United States, and more than 19,000 cases globally in 76 countries, reported NDTV.

San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed said, “San Francisco showed during COVID that early action is essential for protecting public health. We know that this virus impacts everyone equally – but we also know that those in our LGBTQ community are at greater risk right now.”

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Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax added that the declaration helps ensure the city has all the tools available to augment “outreach, testing and treatment, especially to the LGBTQ+ who remain at highest risk for Monkeypox”.

Furthermore, the Mayor said that the demand for vaccines remains high in San Francisco, and additional supply is needed to stop community spread. While the San Francisco Department of Public Health had initially requested 35,000 doses of the Monkeypox vaccine to meet the needs of San Franciscans, to date the city has only received approximately 12,000 doses, a statement from the Mayor’s office read.

Members of the LGBTQ community in the city expressed anger and frustration at a city hearing last week, as reported by AP, saying they were relying on social media as the San Francisco Public Health Department had not dispensed basic information on testing or vaccine availability.

The outbreak is reminiscent of the AIDS epidemic that ravaged the city in the 1980s. The mayor said that the city will fight this crisis like it fought AIDS back then.

In the early 1980s, the U.S. government was slow to react as the AIDS epidemic ravaged gay communities in San Francisco and elsewhere, reported AP. Groups like ACT UP emerged to push for action to fight AIDS. That struggle has echoes today.

Despite the problems with vaccine supply, federal officials, as per an AP report, said that the country’s monkeypox outbreak can still be stopped, amid worries that the U.S. has missed the window to contain the virus.

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