San Francisco declares emergency over monkeypox spread

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The mayor of San Francisco announced a state of emergency Thursday over the growing number of monkeypox cases.

“We are in desperate need of vaccines to support the people of San Francisco,” Mayor London Breed said. The city has been pleading with federal health officials for more help, she said, but it has fallen on deaf ears.


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San Francisco's health officer Dr. Susan Philip said the city is “an epicenter for the country. Thirty percent of all cases in California are in San Francisco.”

The city has 261 cases, out of about 800 in California and 4,600 nationwide, according to the San Francisco Department of Public Health. A national shortage of vaccine has resulted in people waiting in line for hours for scarce doses, often to be turned away when the shots run out.

San Francisco shut down its primary monkeypox vaccination clinic earlier this week after it ran out of doses, saying it had only received 7,800 doses of a requested 35,000. Officials said they expect 4,200 doses.

Despite the problems with vaccine supply, federal officials said Thursday that the country’s monkeypox outbreak can still be stopped, amid worries that the US has missed the window to contain the virus.

The monkeypox virus spreads through prolonged skin-to-skin contact, the public health department said. Health officials are asking people who could be at risk to cover exposed skin when out in crowds and to watch out for symptoms, such as fever, blisters and rashes.

The World Health Organization over the weekend declared the monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries a global emergency.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed planned a news conference later Thursday.

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