CDC’s Optimistic Outbreak May Be Slowing As Cases Decline in Major Cities

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is cautiously optimistic that the United States is slowing the spread of monkeypox, as new cases fall in some major cities.

“We’re watching this with cautious optimism and really hope that more of our vaccine and harm reduction messages will come out and work,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters Friday in an update on the monkeypox epidemic.

Although monkeypox cases are still increasing nationally, the pace of the outbreak appears to be slowing, Walensky said. According to CDC data, the US has reported nearly 17,000 cases of monkeypox since May, more than any other country in the world.

In New York City, which has reported more infections than any other jurisdiction, the number of new monkeypox cases fell from more than 70 daily averages to nine on Thursday. , according to data from the city’s health department.

Aswhin Vasan, the city’s health commissioner, said earlier this week the outbreak had slowed due to increased vaccinations and outreach efforts. New York City has reported a total of 2,888 cases of monkeypox to date.

In Chicago, another major epicenter of the US outbreak, the number of new cases fell from 141 in the week ending July 30 to 74 in the week ending Aug. city ​​health department. Chicago has reported a total of 807 cases so far.

Allison Arwady, Chicago’s public health commissioner, said in a Facebook live event earlier this week: “We’re not seeing the exponential growth that we’ve seen early on. “It’s too early to say that things look really good, but there are certainly some signs of slowing down of cases,” Awardy said.

According to Dawn O’Connell, head of the office responsible for monkeypox, the United States is approaching a point where entire communities of gay and bisexual men, who face health risks, are at risk. greatest health due to smallpox in monkeys. national stockpile at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The CDC previously estimated that up to 1.7 million gay and bisexual men who are HIV-positive or eligible for medication to reduce their risk of HIV infection face the greatest health risk from monkeypox.

The US has distributed 1.5 million doses of monkeypox vaccine to date, and more than 3 million doses will be available when the latest distribution is complete, according to O’Connell.

The outbreak is disproportionately affecting Black and Hispanic men. About 30% of monkeypox patients are white, 32% are Hispanic and 23% are black, according to CDC data. Whites make up about 59% of the US population while blacks and Hispanics make up 13% and 19%, respectively.

The monkeypox vaccine, called Jynneos in the US, is given in two doses 28 days apart. According to the CDC, patients will not be fully protected until two weeks after the second dose. Data from 19 jurisdictions shows that nearly 97 percent of injections to date have been the first dose, according to Walensky.

According to Demetre Daskalakis, deputy chief of the White House monkeypox response team, about 94 percent of monkeypox cases are related to sex, and nearly all those who have contracted the virus have been male. same-sex sexual relations.

A CDC survey of 824 gay and bisexual men found that 48% of respondents have reduced the number of their sexual partners and 50% have reduced one-time sex during the current outbreak. . A separate CDC study found that a 40% reduction in the number of one-time sex sessions would reduce the eventual incidence of gay and bisexual men infected with monkeypox by 31%.

“We’re really seeing vaccines being used, behavior changes, harm reduction messages heard and implemented,” Walensky said. “And all of those things work together to bend the curve.”

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