Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / World / Americas

Failure on monkeypox highlighted

China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-22 09:59
Share - WeChat
Volunteer pharmacist Foster Knutson fills a syringe with a dose of the JYNNEOS smallpox and monkeypox vaccine through the Pima County Department of Public Health at Abrams Public Health Center in Arizona on Saturday. [Photo/Agencies]

Huge gap exists between CDC's aspirations and its current reality

LOS ANGELES/New York-One hundred days after the monkeypox outbreak was first detected in Europe, no country has more cases than the United States, with public health experts warning the virus is on the verge of becoming permanently entrenched.

For two months US President Joe Biden's administration has been criticized about its failure to order enough vaccines, speed up treatments and make tests available to head off an outbreak that has grown from one case in Massachusetts on May 17 to more than 13,500 last week.

A total of 14,115 known monkeypox cases had been reported nationwide as of Thursday, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The US has the world's highest tally of monkeypox cases. New York state had the most cases with 2,744, followed by California with 2,663 and Florida with 1,372.

Interviews with more than 40 US officials working on the monkeypox response, external advisers, public health experts and patients showed that despite efforts to learn from the country's coronavirus failures, officials struggled to meet growing demand for testing, vaccines and treatments, The Washington Post reported.

Experts fear broader circulation of a virus that can infect anyone by close contact.

The coming weeks will reveal whether the Biden administration has overcome its early struggles, or whether too much time was lost as the virus took hold in the US under a president who had vowed to prevent pandemics, the report said.

Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, conceded that her agency "did not reliably meet expectations" in its "big moment" when it came to confronting the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, NBC reported on Thursday.

In addition to this admission, she also prioritized quicker data sharing and stronger messaging that the public can readily relate to.

"But the bungled monkeypox response underscores just how vast the gap is between the CDC's aspirations and its current reality," the report said, noting that the US has had to declare the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency to emphasize the growing risk.

Multiple mistakes

The mistakes have spanned the entire process from diagnosing monkeypox to treating it. Flawed testing criteria, limited testing availability and processing delays have not only let the virus run amok, but have also led to an underestimation of the outbreak's true scale, the report said.

Vaccines have been misallocated and grievously limited due to 20 million doses that expired while sitting in the Strategic National Stockpile, ordering delays and the Food and Drug Administration's failure to inspect and approve Bavarian Nordic's new facility in Denmark, where the majority of the 1.4 million shots ordered by the US in early 2020 resided, before monkeypox cases took off.

More than 35,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported from 92 countries, rising 20 percent over the previous week, the World Health Organization was quoted by Reuters as saying on Sunday. The WHO declared the escalating global monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern on July 23.

Indonesia on Saturday announced its first case of monkeypox in an international traveler returning home from a country with confirmed cases.

Cuba also reported its first case of monkeypox on Saturday in an Italian tourist who is in critical condition, the country's health ministry said.


Most Viewed in 24 Hours
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349