will declare a public health emergency to bolster the federal response to the monkeypoxoutbreak that has infected more than 6,600 Americans, two people familiar with the matter said Thursday.
The announcement comes three days after the Biden administration named top officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to serve as the White House coordinators to combat the monkeypox outbreak.
Such a declaration is an important — and overdue — step, said Lawrence Gostin, a public health law expert at Georgetown University.
Under a declaration by the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency can draw from emergency funds, hire or reassign staff to deal with the outbreak, and take other steps to control the virus.
Public health measures to control outbreaks have increasingly faced legal challenges in recent years, but Gostin didn’t expect that to happen with monkeypox.