San Francisco declares monkeypox outbreak local health emergency

San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared the city's monkeypox outbreak a local health emergency on Thursday. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/e7e9a43a83c60aa40a00a3b21360ba59/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared the city's monkeypox outbreak a local health emergency on Thursday. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

July 28 (UPI) -- San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared the city's monkeypox outbreak a local health emergency on Thursday, removing bureaucratic obstacles that have slowed efforts to stymie the disease's spread as they await vaccines from the federal government.

The declaration takes effect Monday and will mobilize resources, accelerate emergency planning and coordinate city agencies as well as permit reimbursement by state and federal governments while raising awareness about the situation San Francisco faces.


Breed made the declaration amid a nationwide outbreak of the disease, which has been disproportionately affecting men who have sex with other men. According to stats from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 46 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia have reported infections for a total of 4,907 cases as of 2 p.m. Thursday. The first case was diagnosed mid-May.

With 799 cases, California has the second highest number of infections behind the state of New York, with San Francisco recording an additional 20 cases on Thursday for a total of 281, making the city one of the nation's "epicenters of this virus," Breed said.


The Biden administration has delivered nearly 337,000 doses of Bavarian Bordic's Jynneos monkeypox vaccine nationwide. A little more than 37,000 doses have been delivered to jurisdictions in California, excluding Los Angeles, which received nearly 24,000.

As the declaration was made, the San Francisco Department of Public Health said it had received an additional 4,220 monkeypox doses on top of the 4,163 it received last week, which falls short of the 35,000 it had requested "as a starting point" for vaccinating its residents who were highest at risk.

"This is not nearly enough, and the reality is we are going to need far more than 35,000 vaccines to protect our LGBTQ community and to slow the spread of this virus," Breed said in a statement.

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Of the cases in San Francisco, some 90% are members of the LGBTQ community.

The Biden administration announced a day earlier that it is to release an additional 786,000 doses and had previously announced that it had ordered 7 million more to be delivered throughout the year and into the next.

Breed said she is aware of the nationwide shortage but argued San Francisco should receive the vaccines they have to protect not only its community but further spread to others.


The Alice B Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club, an LGBTQ political action committee in the city, commended Breed in a statement for declaring the local health emergency, saying it brings "considerable merit" to their concerns for the need of a more urgent, resourced and robust health response to the outbreak.

"We are also hopeful that this declaration will compel the California Department of Public Health and the United States Health and Human Services Department to declare a public health emergency to address the ongoing harm caused by the rise in cases of MPXV," it said in a statement, referring to the virus.

State Sen. Scott Wiener had called for the local health emergency to be declared and has raised concerns over the shaming of gay men in connection to monkeypox.

On Twitter, Wiener thanked Breed for her leadership.

"This is excellent news & will make our public health response stronger & more nimble," he said.

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