Biden names White House Coordinator on monkeypox

WASHINGTON – President Biden appointed a veteran emergency response official on Tuesday to manage the U.S. government’s handling of the monkeypox outbreak as some of the nation’s largest states declare states of emergency. grant.

The official, Robert Fenton, a regional manager for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and two-time head of the agency, will serve as the White House smallpox coordinator. Along with him, Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, director of the HIV Prevention Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will be his deputy.

An early morning statement released by the White House said that the two men would be tasked with overseeing efforts “to combat the current outbreak of monkeypox, including increasing availability of testing, vaccination, and vaccination.” and fair treatment”.

Mr. Biden has come under pressure to appoint someone with the president’s backing to lead the response as cases continue to spread, particularly among the LGBTQ community.

Appointments come a day after Governor Gavin Newsom of California declare a state of emergency to help tackle the monkeypox epidemic there. New York and Illinois have made similar statements, as have the mayors of New York City and San Francisco.

The CDC has recorded nearly 6,000 cases of monkeypox since May, with nearly half in those three major states. No deaths have been reported so far – monkeypox is rarely fatal – but the virus can lead to severe pain. It spreads mainly through prolonged physical contact.

The Biden administration did not declare a state of emergency, although The World Health Organization did so late last monthbut Xavier Becerra, US Secretary of Health and Human Services, is looking into it.

The White House said an additional 737,000 doses of the vaccine were shipped on Monday, bringing the total number of doses distributed to 1.1 million.

“That’s very important because we’re trying to really take a really positive approach to dealing with monkeypox,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, told reporters today. Monday. She added that 80,000 tests were performed each week. “It’s another important, meaningful way to make sure people are getting tested so they know if they’ve got monkeypox,” she noted.

The two officials installed by Mr. Biden on Tuesday morning have extensive experience. Mr. Fenton, who oversees the US West for FEMA, has managed disaster response, epidemics, and humanitarian operations and was twice the agency’s rights administrator.

Daskalakis is known as a national expert on health issues affecting the LBGTQ community, having previously led infectious disease management for New York City, including the Covid response. -19.

“Bob Fenton and Dr. Daskalakis are effective, proven leaders who will lead the entire government effort to implement President Biden’s comprehensive monkeypox response strategy to the extent the emergency that this outbreak must warrant,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, said in a White House statement.

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