The Biden administration said that it did not expect to extend its declaration of a public health emergency for the outbreak of mpox past its scheduled expiration at the end of January, a signal that the disease no longer constitutes a crisis-level threat in the United States.
Xavier Becerra, the health and human services secretary, cited the low number of new virus cases as he announced the administration’s plans.
“We won’t take our foot off the gas — we will continue to monitor the case trends closely and encourage all at-risk individuals to get a free vaccine,” he said in a statement.
While the disease has not been eradicated in the United States, the announcement on Friday served as an acknowledgment that the virus had been mostly suppressed. The Department of Health and Human Services said the administration was working toward “a durable end of mpox transmission.”
Since the country’s first case in this year’s outbreak was identified in May, nearly 30,000 cases and 19 deaths have been tallied in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the nation is now averaging fewer than 10 cases per day — a steep decline from the roughly 450 daily cases at the peak of the outbreak in early August.
Becerra declared the public health emergency in August after the country recorded over 6,000 cases and as the government came under pressure for its handling of the outbreak.
The disease, which is endemic in parts of Africa, began spreading in Europe earlier this year before moving to the United States.
Data from WHO shows that more than 80,000 cases of mpox have been reported in nearly 100 countries since the outbreak started earlier this year. The number of cases has declined from the peak in August.
A separate declaration of a public health emergency remains in effect for the coronavirus pandemic. It was last extended in October, and the federal health department plans to extend it again in January.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK