US plans to lift mpox emergency declaration

HHS intends to end the nation's mpox, or monkeypox, public health emergency.

The agency initially declared the nation's mpox outbreak a public health emergency in August and renewed the declaration in November. Public health emergencies last for 90 days but may be extended.

On Dec. 2, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra released a statement saying the Biden administration does not anticipate that it needs to renew the emergency declaration when it ends on Jan. 31.   

He attributed the decision to the low number of cases.

"But we won't take our foot off the gas — we will continue to monitor the case trends closely and encourage all at-risk individuals to get a free vaccine," Mr. Becerra said. "As we move into the next phase of this effort, the Biden-Harris administration continues working closely with jurisdictions and partners to monitor trends, especially in communities that have been disproportionately affected."

The recent HHS decision comes as mpox has infected 29,630 people in the U.S., according to CDC data as of Dec. 2. CDC data as of Nov. 30 also show that fewer than 10 cases daily are being reported, down from more than 450 a day in early August, according to The Washington Post.

The World Health Organization and Biden administration recently announced they would begin using the name "mpox" as the preferred term over "monkeypox" to destigmatize the virus. 

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