Rep. Ritchie Torres Leads Resolution Calling on HHS to Declare Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency

Jul 27, 2022

Washington, DC – Yesterday, Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15) introduced a resolution that the Department of Health and Human Services should declare the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency. 

“The Department of Health and Human Services needs to act now and declare monkeypox a public health emergency,” said Congressman Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “The federal government’s response to the monkeypox outbreak so far has been appalling. We must learn from the lessons of the past and begin to act now, so that our nation will not be crippled by another pandemic.”

The monkeypox outbreak in New York City has been plagued by severely slow testing, long lines for vaccinations, and an overall lack of community awareness as the virus continues to spread. Efforts from federal, state and city governments have been made to alleviate these issues, but they have been slow and lagged behind the spread of viruses. As of July 26th, 2022, 3,591 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the United States.

This comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) has just declared monkeypox an international public health emergency and warned that the virus could soon spread far beyond the LGBTQ+ community. This is critically important for the United States as monkeypox cases have jumped tenfold in only a month. 

The federal government must do everything it can to ensure that this does not evolve into another pandemic.. The coronavirus pandemic only exposed and exacerbated the systematic issues that plague our healthcare system. To properly respond to this growing outbreak, it is imperative that the Department of Health and Human Services declare monkeypox a public health emergency. 

The 22 cosponsors include Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Sheila Jackson Lee, Mike Quigley, Nydia Velázquez, Carolyn Maloney, Dwight Evans, Suzanne Bonamici, Paul Tonko, Brian Higgins, Adriano Espaillat, Sara Jacobs, Grace Meng, Yvette Clarke, Marilyn Strickland, Karen Bass, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Tom Souzzi, Mondaire Jones, Jamaal Bowman, Mark Takano, Mark Pocan, Al Green and Don Beyer.

See text of resolution here

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