The number of people who’ve tested positive for monkeypox in New York City surpassed 1,000 on Monday — a deeply worrying milestone as the Big Apple continues its efforts to manage that disease and COVID-19 simultaneously.
According to the city Health Department, 1,040 people have tested positive for monkeypox as of Monday — a jump of about 200 compared with the city’s official count of 839 on Friday.
That spike comes just two days after the World Health Organization labeled monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern,” the highest alert designation the entity has and one shared by only two other diseases — COVID and polio.
“We’re grateful for the World Health Organization’s recognition that monkeypox is a global emergency. In New York City; the outbreak has been a local emergency for weeks,” city Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said Monday on Twitter. “This outbreak must be met with urgency, action and resources, nationally and globally. This statement reflects the seriousness of the moment.”
The increase in people testing positive for monkeypox in New York also comes as the city continues to call on the federal government to send more vaccine doses here and just days after the Health Department opened its first permanent vaccination sites — one at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx and the other at Gotham Health Vanderbilt on Staten Island.
So far, the disease has mostly infected gay men, which has prompted the Health Department to focus much of its outreach efforts on that community. Since mid-June, it has distributed nearly 16,000 leaflets at 15 LGBTQ events and is planning about 10 more events geared toward the gay community in the coming weeks, according to a spokesman for the agency.
The Health Department has also reached out to 84 other venues such as medical offices, nail salons, barbershops, bars and clubs, the spokesman said.