New York City Mayor Eric Adams lauded the Biden administration Friday for declaring a national public health emergency over monkeypox and pressured him to use domestic-production powers to bolster supplies.
The Democrat’s city is considered the epicenter of the monkeypox outbreak, and New York state as a whole has recorded nearly a quarter of the 7,100 cases in the U.S.
“New York City will continue to get vaccines and treatment into the hands and arms of New Yorkers as quickly and equitably as possible, and I’m hopeful this declaration will allow us to do so even faster,” Mr. Adams said. “This is an important step that recognizes the urgency and scale of the crisis, and I look forward to working with the president and all our federal and state partners to keep New Yorkers safe and healthy.”
The mayor said the government should use the Defense Production Act to accelerate the production of vaccines and tests to ensure people can get both doses of the Jynneos vaccine that is being deployed against the disease.
The act gives the president the authority to make sure certain manufacturers have priority in the supply chain to respond to national emergencies. It was invoked repeatedly during the COVID-19 crisis to speed tools to the front lines.
Monkeypox is endemic to parts of Africa, but it started popping up in nonendemic countries in midspring. It has predominately affected men who have sex with men, sparking a debate about whether members of the gay community should limit sexual partners, though some leaders are leery of an abstinence message.
Monkeypox is rarely fatal, though it features a painful rash. Anyone can contract the virus, which is spread through close personal contact.
Mr. Adams was among local leaders who raced ahead of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and declared a state of emergency of monkeypox.
Fellow Democrats seemed to suggest the Biden administration was behind the curve until it declared an emergency Thursday, allowing it to cut red tape, tap into new funding streams and add personnel to the response.
“This action, which follows the lead of California, is welcome news: unlocking critical tools to strengthen our fight against this accelerating and painful public health threat,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Across our nation, including in my hometown of San Francisco, we are already seeing monkeypox inflict serious harm — particularly, taking a disproportionate toll on our LGBTQ family, friends and neighbors. As we learned from the COVID crisis, we must act swiftly and decisively to get ahead and stay ahead of this virus.”