MIAMI – Federal health leaders say the monkeypox virus is only one mutation away from evading a key anti-viral drug, the drug is used to treat at-risk patients.
Health experts are urging doctors to be "judicious" in prescribing the treatment.
Some lawmakers call the U.S. response to monkeypox "a catastrophic failure."
"By every measure, the response from the Biden administration on monkeypox crisis has been a catastrophic failure," said Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).
Senators on both sides of the aisle held nothing back as they grilled public health officials during a Senate hearing about the spread of monkeypox in the U.S.
"Too many missteps were made early on in the response and a couple hundred cases turned into 21,000," said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).
Monkeypox is now in all 50 states.
Tonight, health experts defend their decisions on Capitol Hill.
The CDC says while the spread of the virus is slowing down, there are still pockets of the country where cases are on the rise.
"We approach this news with cautious optimism, recognizing that we must continue to aggressively respond with our entire tool kit, including vaccinations, testing and education about risk to inform behavior changes," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Wolinsky.
The CDC says it's increased the amount of tests to 80,000 per week.
And so far, more than 540,000 vaccine doses have been administered, with millions more available.
Taking a look at monkeypox cases in South Florida:
Miami-Dade now has 782 cases.
That's the most in the state.
Broward is second in the state with 645 cases.
Monroe County has 21.
"The U.S. response to monkeypox should in turn help to inform our response to the inevitable next emerging or re-emerging infectious disease of pandemic potential," said NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.
But senators said the response falls short.
"You repeated each of the mistakes of the early days of the COVID response and the cultural arrogance from public health officials who are supposed to be at the forefront of the response let this country down again," said Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).
The senate hearing comes just days after the virus claimed its first victim in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles County of Public Health is not releasing any other information about the victim except to say they had a severely weakened immune system.
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