Monkeypox News Is Only Getting Worse

Former FDA chief criticizes response, as 'NYT' reports on painful cases among patients
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2022 10:59 AM CDT
Monkeypox News Is Only Getting Worse
People stand in long lines to receive the monkeypox vaccine at San Francisco General Hospital in San Francisco on July 12.   (Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File)

Comments from two well-known officials suggest that the monkeypox outbreak in the US is way undercounted and about to get worse.

  • Gottlieb: "I think the window for getting control of this and containing it probably has closed, and if it hasn't closed, it's certainly starting to close," Scott Gottlieb, former chief of the Food and Drug Administration, said on CBS' Face the Nation.
  • Fauci: "This is something we definitely need to take seriously," Dr. Anthony Fauci tells CNN. "We don't know the scope and the potential of it yet, but we have to act like it will have the capability of spreading much more widely than it's spreading right now."

  • The count: The CDC has logged a total of more than 1,800 cases from almost every state. Those with the most are New York (489), California (266), Illinois (174), and Florida (154). While monkeypox isn't an STD, most reported cases currently involve sexually active gay men, per the New York Times. On this front, Gottlieb has concerns. "By and large, we're looking in the community of men who have sex with men, and at STD clinics," he says. "So we're looking there. We're finding cases there. But it's a fact that there's cases outside that community right now. We're not picking them up because we're not looking there." Fauci said the current total may just be the "tip of the iceberg" and called for more aggressive testing.
  • Painful: Monkeypox, which is related to smallpox and cowpox, has long been considered to be a "mild, self-limiting illness," as one doctor tells the Times. But the story recounts how cases in the city have been unexpectedly severe and painful, particularly involving lesions in the genital area. "This is not a mild disease, for a percentage of people it is much more worse than I would have anticipated," says infectious disease expert Dr. Jason Zucker of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
  • 'Two pandemics': The US is working on making vaccines and anti-viral drugs more available, and Axios notes that appointment-only vaccination sites in cities such as New York and DC have filled up quickly. We're "fighting two pandemics at once," New York City health commissioner Ashwin Vasan said last week, per NBC News. In the coming days, the World Health Organization will decide whether to label the global outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern," its highest alert.
(More monkeypox stories.)

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