Washington, Dec. 2 (EFE).- The United States government will not renew a public health emergency it declared in August in response to the monkeypox outbreak when it expires early next year amid a dramatic decline in cases and increase in vaccination rates.
“Given the low number of cases today, HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) does not expect that it needs to renew the emergency declaration when it ends on January 31, 2023,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra announced in a statement on Friday.
Some 30,000 people in the country have contracted monkeypox, out of whom 15 have died.
The weekly cases of monkeypox, renamed “mpox” by the World Health Organization (WHO) this week, have already dropped 90 percent from the peak of the disease in the middle of the year, the organization’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a press conference.
“The global mpox outbreak continues to decline, with 620 cases reported last week – more than 90percent less than the peak in August. Most cases are being reported from Latin America,” the WHO chief said.
Over 81,000 confirmed monkeypox cases, including 59 deaths, have been recorded in more than 100 countries this year, according to the WHO’s data.
The US is the worst affected with 29,000 infections, followed by Brazil, with 10,000, Spain, with 7,400, France, with 4,100 and Colombia with 3,800.
The WHO announced Monday that it would refer to the disease as mpox to prevent the use of racist or stigmatizing language that was observed on the internet when the outbreak broke out earlier this year.
However, the agency said that both terms would be used interchangeably for a year until monkeypox is phased out. EFE