In response to a drastic increase in monkeypox cases, the Biden administration declared the virus a public health emergency earlier this week, paving the way for additional funding and faster access to vaccine shipments.
Explaining that the administration is ready to take its response to the “next level,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced the statement Thursday as he urged all Americans to take the pandemic seriously. monkey pox.
Infections have exploded in recent weeks, with cases rising by the thousands. More than 7,500 cases were reported on Friday, up from 1,400 three weeks earlier.
States across the country have also reported an increase in cases, with Illinois and several others declaring the virus a public health emergency. By mid-June, only 10 cases had occurred, a number well below the 602 infections reported on Friday.
Chicago also continues to see an increase in cases. A total of 359 cases were reported earlier this week. However, unlike the country and the state, a declaration of emergency does not appear to be in the city’s future.
The simple answer to why, according to Chicago Health Department Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, is that there is no legal need. The city of Chicago is covered by the Illinois state emergency declaration, which allows for the expansion of vaccine and testing capacity.
The statement, Arwady said, is something she supports, adding that anything that contributes to efficiency and fairness is a “good thing”.
“We don’t have all the geography, of course, that the state needs to cover, and then we have a diverse group of clinical and community partners who work really hard to educate and vaccinate Chicago…and we support that statement, but we don’t need a separate statement here in Chicago,” she said.
Under the declaration, emergency purchases, such as hiring drivers to ship vaccines, are allowed, and the process is generally faster without declaration.
Although it doesn’t appear to be needed anytime soon, Chicago could implement an emergency declaration if it becomes necessary in the future.
“Whether at any time we saw an administrative hurdle, that we had to do it, we would do it, but even during most of COVID we were able to, you know, legally use some of these state declarations or national declarations,” said said Arwady. “And when I can keep things simpler from a legal point of view, that’s always a goal.“