The United States on Thursday became the first country to declare a public health emergency over the monkeypox virus, the only thing is: America’s outbreak is four times smaller than the largest outbreak in Spain, with statistics showing it is the eighth highest number of cases per capita, official figures show.
The US has discovered the most cases of monkeypox from any country, with a total of 7,102 Thursday — more than a third higher than the 4,577 detected in the second-highest country, Spain. But when looking at this number by population — a more accurate measure because it takes into account the much larger number of American workers — the US ranks eighth, with 21 cases per million people.
That’s equivalent to one in 47,000 people with a confirmed infection to date. Conversely, the number in Spain is 96 per million or one in 10,000, also higher than in any US state.
The numbers suggest a knee-jerk response from US health authorities, who declared the virus a public health emergency on Thursday. America is the only country to have declared a state of emergency so far, after a slow early response that failed to roll out tests and vaccines quickly. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a state of emergency two weeks ago and said it would encourage cooperation between countries.
Many local health departments have also shied away from warning gay or bisexual men — the ones most likely to contract the virus — even after the WHO warned people in this group to limit their sexual partners to help quell the spread of the virus.
The left panel above shows the total number of monkeypox infections detected over time by country, and on the right it shows this as a percentage per million people. Experts said it was more accurate to consider the data this way because it shows the difference in infections between countries. Figures come from OurWorldinData, a data platform managed by experts from the University of Oxford
The chart above shows cases of monkeypox per capita in Spain, which has the highest infection rate, and the five US states with the highest rates of the virus: New York, Georgia, Illinois, Florida, and Maryland. It also shows the infection rate for the entire United States (the dotted line)
The above shows the number of cases per state, and each state counts. This data is not presented as a monkeypox infection rate per million people
Pictured above are people queuing to get their first dose of monkeypox vaccine at Obregon Park in Los Angeles, California
Figures for monkeypox infection rates per million people per country were calculated by: OurWorldinData, a platform run by experts from the UK’s prestigious Oxford University. DailyMail.com used population data from the US Census Bureau to calculate the infection rate per million per state.
On the ground floor, it shows that Spain currently has the largest monkeypox outbreak in the world per head with 96 cases per million people (one in 10,000).
Portugal has the second highest rate at 69 per million, followed by the Netherlands at 54 per million and the United Kingdom at 39 per million. Germany (34), France (33) and Canada (23) also have a higher figure than the US.
EU countries face shortage of monkeypox vaccine due to slow procurement program
The EU plans to repeat its COVID vaccine mess with non-delivery of monkeypox shots.
Doctors have to turn down patients due to lack of doses, and the bloc’s collective purchasing policy stalls again.
While the UK has ordered more than 100,000 vaccine doses against monkeypox, Eurocrats have purchased just 160,000 for its 27 members.
As many as 1,000 vaccinations were registered in a single weekend in London. But in Madrid’s hotspot, where monkey pox has died, there have been only 790 vaccinations in total.
dr. Jean-Christophe Goffard, from the Erasmus Hospital in Brussels, said: ‘The vaccine is currently not available in Belgium.
“We’ve had a growing demand for tests… and nearly 90 percent of them are positive.
“We don’t have the impression that we can manage the epidemic well at the moment.”
The two biggest powers of the EU, France and Germany, have turned their backs on the EU scheme and are buying their own vaccines.
Spain was one of the first countries to discover monkey pox in men attending Pride festivals in May, and there are anecdotal reports that the virus may be circulating in the country as early as February.
Both Spain and Portugal have yet to launch a massive vaccination campaign for all gay or bisexual men – although this may be because both countries are struggling to obtain sufficient doses of Jynneos from Bavarian Nordic, which is used to treat the virus.
Sebastian Meyer, a monkey pox adviser to the government of Madrid and also president of an anti-HIV association, said on Friday that those not selected for a vaccine should not “hope desperately” that they get one.
“The answer is to be more careful,” he said, “that’s much better than any vaccine.”
The European countries have also not received the same level of criticism for not testing potential patients as quickly as their counterparts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
But like America, they are struggling to get adequate vaccine doses of the vaccine amid a global shortage.
Spain is the first Western country to confirm two deaths from the virus, both in men who developed brain swelling as a result of the infection. No other European countries have reported a fatal outcome of the disease at this time.
Breaking down America’s numbers into states also shows that none have a higher rate of monkeypox infection than those reported in Spain.
New York had the highest with 88 cases per million, followed by Georgia (50), Illinois (45) and Florida (26).
Compared to their European counterparts, New York, California (ranked 10th among US states) and Illinois have already declared a state of emergency over the virus outbreak and have started rolling out vaccines for gay or bisexual men.
At a press conference Thursday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, admitted that officials were still unsure to what extent the cases they discovered represented new spread or historic cases that were only now being picked up thanks to more intensive testing.
But for the past few weeks, cases have risen by hundreds every day, and the virus is now being detected in every state except Montana and Wyoming — both of which are very rural. Last week, officials warned that the number would likely continue to rise for weeks to come.
Monkeypox is a serious illness that causes flu-like symptoms in the early stages before patients develop a rash that will spread almost all over the body. It’s not like COVID, which is spread only through physical touch.
Nearly every case has been identified in males and the vast majority identify as gay or bisexual in America so far. But it is feared that it will spread to other groups more at risk for serious diseases.
Pictured is a man receiving his first dose of monkeypox vaccine at Dekalb County Board of Health in Atlanta, Georgia. Second doses are delayed in many areas due to lack of supply
Pictured above are men waiting for a first dose of monkeypox vaccine in New York City. It is central to the virus outbreak in the nation
So far, at least five cases have been seen in children — two in California, two in Indiana and one traveling through Washington, DC — who probably contracted the virus through “household contacts” and one case in a pregnant woman. Both groups are more at risk of serious illness.
dr. Xavier Becerra, secretary of the Ministry of Health and Human Resources, said yesterday that he was declaring the emergency: “In light of all these developments and the changing conditions on the ground, I would like to announce today that I have a public health emergency for monkeypox.
“We are ready to take our response to tackling this virus to the next level and we urge every American to take monkey pox seriously and take responsibility for helping us tackle this virus.”
The statement will make more resources available to states, allow federal officials to be deployed across the country, and improve data collection on cases, hospitalizations and testing.
Federal officials have so far been criticized for a delayed response to the virus, potentially allowing it to spread indefinitely for weeks before expanding access to testing and rolling out vaccines to the population. Currently, the country can conduct up to 80,000 monkey pox tests per week.