Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under President Donald Trump, warns that the spread of monkeypox could become the next public health failure in the United States.
“Now, if monkeypox gains a permanent foothold in the United States and becomes an endemic virus that joins our circulating repertoire of pathogens, it will be one of the worst public health failures of modern times, not only because of the pain and peril of the disease, but also because it was so preventable,” Gottlieb wrote in a recent op-ed for the New York Times. “Our failings extend beyond political decision-making to the agencies tasked with protecting us from these threats.”
Gottlieb, who now sits on the board of Pfizer and is a partner at venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates, also said the US government’s missteps in the fight against monkeypox are similar to its failures in the fight. against the coronavirus.
“Our country’s response to monkeypox has been plagued by the same shortcomings we had with Covid-19,” Gottlieb wrote.
“With COVID, the virus has quickly gained traction. With monkeypox spreading more slowly, usually through very close contact, the shortcomings of the CDC’s cultural approach have not yet been so acute. But the shortcomings are the same,” he added.
According to data published by the CDC, the United States has approximately 5,200 cases of monkeypox.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is designating monkeypox – an infectious viral disease that recently emerged around the world – as a reportable condition on Monday.
The designation means states are now required to report all confirmed and suspected cases of monkeypox to the agency within 24 hours of discovery. States must also share surveillance data such as the number of cases.
Monkeypox infection usually includes flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes followed by a rash that looks like blisters or pimples appearing on the skin. It is usually spread by direct contact with an infectious rash, scabs, or bodily fluids or by touching objects that have already touched a rash or fluid.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a global health emergency on July 23. In recent days, New York and San Francisco have declared a public health emergency over monkeypox, giving cities additional resources to fight the viral illness.
“We continue to see the numbers go up,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “This order will enhance our existing efforts to educate, vaccinate, test and treat as many New Yorkers as possible and ensure a whole-of-government response to this outbreak.”
On Monday, CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen urged the Biden administration to “declare a state of emergency” due to the outbreak.
“I think it’s time for the United States to declare a state of emergency. […] as it will allow for a much more coordinated response,” Wen said. “This will allow the Biden administration to appoint a monkeypox czar to oversee these efforts. This will also allow more resources to be devoted to it. I hope the window is not closed. I think it is always possible to point out why this is the case. Monkeypox may not be as deadly as many other diseases, but we don’t want another disease that we have to worry about in perpetuity if it takes hold here.