(CTN News) – CDC is cautiously optimistic about the U.S. slowing monkeypox spread as new cases fall in several major cities.
“We are cautiously optimistic and really hopeful that many of the harm reduction messages and vaccines are getting out there and working,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters Friday.
Despite monkeypox cases increasing nationwide, Walensky said the outbreak appears to be slowing. According to CDC data, nearly 17,000 monkeypox cases have been reported in the U.S. since May.
The city health department reports that new monkeypox cases have dropped from more than 70 per day on average to nine as of Thursday.
New monkeypox cases are starting to fall in major cities like New York and Chicago.
Dr. Aswhin Vasan, the city health commissioner, said earlier this week that vaccinations and community outreach have slowed the outbreak. There have been 2,888 monkeypox cases in New York City.
According to the Chicago health department, new cases dropped from 141 for the week ended July 30 to 74 for the week ended Aug. 20. There are 807 cases reported in Chicago.
During a Facebook live event earlier this week, Chicago’s public health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said, “We are not seeing the exponential growth we were seeing earlier.” She added, “It’s too soon to say things look good, but there are signs.”
Dawn O’Connell, head of the department responsible for the national stockpile at the Health and Human Services Department, says the U.S. is nearing the point where gay and bisexual men who currently face the greatest health risk from MPOX will have access to two doses of the vaccine.
The U.S. has distributed over 1.5 million monkeypox vaccine doses, and over 3 million doses should be available by year’s end.
Gay and bisexual men who are HIV-positive or eligible for medicine to reduce their chance of contracting HIV face the greatest health risk from monkeypox, according to the CDC.
So far, the U.S. has distributed 1.5 million doses of the monkeypox vaccine, and more than 3 million doses should be available by the end of the latest distribution round.
Black and Hispanic men are disproportionately affected by the outbreak. CDC data shows that 30% of monkeypox patients are white, 32% Hispanic, and 23% black.
About 59% of Americans are white, while 19% are Hispanic and 13% are black.
In the U.S., the monkeypox vaccine is administered in two doses 28 days apart.
94% of monkeypox cases are caused by sexual contact, according to Demetre Daskalakis.
The CDC says the vaccine will not fully protect patients until two weeks after the second dose. According to Walensky, nearly 97% of the shots administered so far were first doses.
Monkeypox is most commonly contracted by men who have sex with men, and 94% of cases are related to sexual contact, according to Demetre Daskalakis, deputy head of the White House MPOX response team.
A CDC survey of 824 gay and bisexual men found that 48% have reduced their number of sexual partners and 50% have reduced one-time sexual encounters.
According to a separate CDC study, reducing one-time sexual encounters by 40% would reduce monkeypox infections by 31% for gay and bisexual men.
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