ARS TECHNICA – US monkeypox cases hit 1,470 this week, and federal officials reported Friday that they expect the tally to continue rising amid expanded testing, continued community transmission, and a current shortage of vaccines.
The federal update comes as officials face growing criticism over their handling of the outbreak, and experts fear it may already be too late to contain the virus.
Overall, the multinational monkeypox outbreak has tallied nearly 13,000 cases, with the largest counts in Spain (2,835), Germany (1,859), and the UK (1,856).
The US now ranks fourth worldwide. But, it could potentially move up in the ranks quickly.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky laid out three reasons why they are expecting an upcoming rise.
“[G]ay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men may have higher rates of HIV and STDs.” … The CDC admits the medical facts while blaming “homophobia”, “stigma”, and “discrimination” for gay men’s health problems. – HH
First, the agency has just recently streamlined the reporting process for states, which first began reporting cases in May.
Second, because there’s often a three-week incubation period between exposures and symptoms, officials expect to start seeing the cases from transmission events early in the US outbreak.
Last, the CDC has expanded testing capacity recently, adding some commonly used commercial labs, such as Labcorp and Quest Diagnostics.
The expansion boosted capacity from performing a maximum of about 6,000 tests per week to 70,000. It also makes it easier for clinicians to order tests and will likely speed up the turnaround for results.
Testing had previously been limited to a small network of CDC labs, and there were many reports of delayed results, with patients waiting five to seven days.
“We anticipate an increase in cases in the coming weeks.” – Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Snags in response
But, while the country’s ability to identify cases may improve, treating cases and preventing new ones is still a struggle. The Washington Post reported Friday that doctors have to complete hours upon hours of paperwork to gain access to smallpox antivirals …