SAN FRANCISCO -- Activists in San Francisco are calling on local health authorities for more testing, treatment and vaccines amid the monkeypox outbreak in a rally planned on Monday.
Meeting outside the regional office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Aug. 8 at 4:30 p.m. on 7th Street in San Francisco, organizers will express that the government needs to mitigate the spread of monkeypox, as well as provide more resources for those in need of treatment.
They say federal and state declarations are the first step to minimizing red tape barriers, but they want to see more action to address the issue immediately.
"We refuse to allow government inaction to continue to cause pain in our communities," reads a press release from the organization, Demand Action Against Monkeypox Now.
More information on the event can be found online.
The federal government declared monkeypox a public health emergency this past week. San Francisco state senator Scott Wiener applauded the move.
"This declaration by President Biden will be helpful in opening up some resources but also allowing for faster approval of medication as well as new, better kinds of testing," Wiener said. "So, this will definitely be a good step in fighting this outbreak."
Dr. Peter Chin-Hong is an infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco and also sits on California's Monkeypox Scientific Advisory Committee.
"I think it may be a little bit late but better late than never. I think it will have a significant impact," he said. "Until there's a national public health emergency, states and public health jurisdictions are not obligated to share data with the CDC. We need to know what's going on, otherwise it's like walking around with Vaseline or cataracts in our eyes."
He said the federal declaration should help open the door to more resources and is also symbolic move.
"It's procedural, in terms of garnering all of the resources and data collection, etc.," he said. "But it's also highly symbolic. Saying it's a public health emergency makes every American realize that he or she is potentially impacted by what's happening in one population."
The majority of confirmed cases have shown up in men who have sex with men but health officials remain adamant that anyone can get infected with monkeypox. It's primarily transmitted via skin-to-skin contact and exposure to contaminated clothing or bedding.
Max Darrow contributed to this story.
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