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Local expert weighs in on California's monkeypox emergency

Posted at 6:30 AM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 11:35:09-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - There are now more than 700 cases of monkeypox in California, and that has prompted Gov. Newsom to declare a state of emergency to support how the state’s combating the spread of the virus.

“Well, I think the governor’s taking it seriously. Same thing for our county supervisors. There was a big meeting today along with our health department and the mayor who were on board, who were saying, ‘Hey, we got to get this together,’" said Dr. Davey Smith, chief of infectious diseases and global public health at UC San Diego.

Smit said this state of emergency isn’t surprising to see happen, adding, “I was expecting that it was going to happen sooner or later. We have been seeing an increase in cases. So, I think that this is just putting a fine point on it saying this is going to be a problem. This is a problem we want to take care of.”

San Diego County’s website for the virus shows there are close to 30 local monkeypox cases.

Smith said that it was unclear to him what the proclamation is doing to stop monkeypox, including distribution of the vaccine.

“To be honest, there’s no vaccines to give. So, all of the allotment that’s been given to at least San Diego County that’s been used, to the best that they can get it out there,” Smith said.

County Chair Nathan Fletcher took to Twitter to show support of governor's proclamation, adding the county’s working on vaccine distribution and, “We are likely to align with the state in the coming days by making our own declaration.”

Smith is wanting to be optimistic with the state of emergency for monkeypox seeing as it’s still so new.

“And the details of how we are going to do that are still quite a bit up in the air. But, hopefully, this proclamation means more resources will be coming so that we can take care of it,” Smith said.

Smith believes public health officials will need to be judicious on who gets the monkeypox vaccine following the state of emergency.

He said there’ll be prioritization as there has been for those who are exposed and at most risk.