The Biden administration named FEMA’s Robert Fenton as the White House National Monkeypox Response Coordinator and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis as the White House National Monkeypox Response Deputy Coordinator on Tuesday as the government ramps up its response to the virus.
The announcement came as Illinois joined New York and California in declaring monkeypox an emergency.
The White House said they will “advance and accelerate the United States’ monkeypox response to mitigate the spread of the virus, protect individuals most at risk of contracting the virus, and care for those who have been afflicted with it.”
As of Monday, 5,811 Monkeypox cases have been reported in the U.S. in 2022 with most of the cases being reported in the last few weeks.
With cases rising, public health officials have pressured the Biden administration to provide access to additional monkeypox vaccines. The White House said that it has released 1.1 million doses of monkeypox vaccine with more on the way.
Whether the Biden administration joins California, New York and Illinois in declaring a national emergency remains to be seen. For now, President Joe Biden is punting the decision to Health and Human Service Secretary Xavier Beccera.
“But, as you know, we are considering every policy option to help end this outbreak. That is urgent, and that is important to us. But again, that is up to Secretary Beccera to make that decision,” said White House Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
Typical symptoms of monkeypox include a rash, fever, malaise, headache and muscle aches.