NYC says 75 percent of monkeypox cases are in Manhattan

As cases of monkeypox mushroom in New York City, local and federal officials said Thursday they are rushing to distribute thousands of vaccine doses and that nearly 75% of the city’s cases have been reported in Manhattan.

The virus, which is believed to spread primarily through intimate contact and has historically been confined to regions of Africa, first emerged in New York City in the spring. The rare virus appears to present a far less deadly threat than COVID.

By Thursday, the city health department informed of Of the 119 suspected cases, approximately 33% were identified in the Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen areas of Manhattan.

Nationwide, nearly 600 cases had been confirmed as of Thursday, according For the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though health experts believe the tally may be a significant shortfall due to limited testing. No death was reported.

The city’s health department, which has said cases of monkeypox are spreading mainly among men who have sex with men, on Wednesday repeatedly apologized after technical difficulties in the appointment rollout of its vaccine.

The city’s health commissioner, Dr Ashwin Vasan, said on Thursday that the city started its vaccine effort two weeks ago in Chelsea “with an extremely limited supply because that is where the cases are.”

“Equity is an incredibly difficult thing to preserve in a scarce supply environment,” he said at a news conference in Harlem. “We wanted to show that we are moving forward with the tools we have, and we are learning from it.”

Wasson stressed that more shots are on the way, and urged caution to New Yorkers who fall into the high-risk categories.

“We’re asking New Yorkers if they don’t feel well, if they’re concerned about someone else not feeling well, to exercise caution,” he said. “We’re not delivering a message that says: Don’t have sex.”

Dr. Raj Punjabi, the White House’s senior director of global health security and biodefense, said at a news conference that the federal government is on a several-month program to increase vaccine access.

He said the federal government was working Thursday to unveil 144,000 doses nationally, with the aim of releasing 2.2 million doses in the first half of 2022.

The state’s health commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett, said the initial supplies have been dispatched and put in the freezer.

“We’re still working out the details of going from the freezer to Shot in Arms,” ​​Bassett told a news conference. “But we’ve got vaccinations.”

He said distribution could start next week. “We are working as quickly as possible,” she said.

Monkeypox is a generally milder cousin of the long-overdue smallpox. The first human monkeypox infection was discovered in 1970.

It doesn’t spread as easily as COVID – which is also on the rise in the city – but it can still cause nasty and sometimes fatal symptoms.

“I think people are also looking at monkeypox antennae,” Vasan said, adding that “Covid is definitely something we are all at risk for.”

He said monkeypox can infect anyone across New York – not just gay men – but added that the virus demands a “more circulated and targeted approach” than the coronavirus.

At a news conference in Brooklyn, Mayor Adams said the city was taking the threat of monkeypox seriously.

“Be prepared,” he urged New Yorkers, “don’t panic.”

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