The public health emergency for the mpox outbreak (previously referred to as monkeypox) came to an official end this week as the seven-day average for mpox has dropped to three cases from the August peak of 400 cases per day.
The Biden administration announced the public health emergency (PHE) for mpox in August 2022 after the first cases initially began to spread across Europe and the U.S. in May 2022.
“From the outset of the mpox outbreak, the Biden-Harris Administration – working through HHS and many of its agencies – pulled every lever to stop the spread of this virus,” a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said in a statement.
“Given the low number of cases today, HHS did not renew the emergency declaration.”
Updated #mpox U.S. epidemic curve from @CDCgov as of 2/1/2023. 7 day average is 2 cases per day. Although the mpox public health emergency has ended, urgency remains to #vaccinate those who could benefit. Closer to zero, but work to do. More first and second doses needed! pic.twitter.com/sHzMjBtZxt
— DrDemetre (@dr_demetre) February 2, 2023
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As of the most recent CDC data, about 1.18 million doses of smallpox vaccines were administered during the monkeypox outbreak.
During the vaccination campaign, health experts noted that the LGBTQ community was primed for handling viral outbreaks due to the HIV crisis. Many gay and bisexual men were knowledgeable about mitigating the spread of viral diseases.
Federal health authorities would later attribute the early progress made in combating the virus to the changed social practices of men who have sex with men. A CDC survey found that half of men who have sex with men said they reduced their levels of sexual activity in response to the mpox outbreak.
Today, Health and Human Services lifts the public health emergency declaration for mpox, formerly known as monkeypox.
CDC data says there's an average of about 3-4 new cases per day, down from about 450 per day at its peak. pic.twitter.com/MSjfeuPTxS
— The Recount (@therecount) January 31, 2023
Sean Cahill, director of health policy research at the LGBTQ health advocacy organization the Fenway Institute, also gave credit to the LGBTQ community for stepping up.
“We commend the thousands of gay and bisexual men who advocated for themselves, fought hard to get vaccinated and treatment for mpox, and took other steps to reduce transmission of mpox.”
“We also commend health care providers and public health officials at the local, state and federal level who worked hard to end this outbreak.”
More than 30,000 infections and 28 deaths were reported in the U.S. over the course of the outbreak. Read the full report here.
The public health emergency for the mpox outbreak that began last year officially ended as of Tuesday, with the number of reported cases continuing to dwindle and advocacy groups declaring the emergency's conclusion a victory for the LGBTQ community.https://t.co/59NPpnokXN
— 8 News Now (@8NewsNow) February 1, 2023