Can monkeypox outbreak trigger another pandemic? What President Biden says

The US has enough small pox vaccine stockpiled to deal with the outbreak, Biden said. Still, he said people should be cautious.
The monkeypox virus, which has been largely reported from African nations so far.(AP)
The monkeypox virus, which has been largely reported from African nations so far.(AP)
Published on May 23, 2022 01:52 PM IST
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Bloomberg |

President Joe Biden sought to reassure Americans that the current monkeypox outbreak was unlikely to cause a pandemic on the scale of Covid-19.

“I just don’t think it rises to the level of the kind of concern that existed with Covid-19,” he told reporters Monday in Tokyo at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The US has enough small pox vaccine stockpiled to deal with the outbreak, Biden said. Still, he said people should be cautious.

The president struck a more cautious note a day after telling reporters that the outbreak was “something everyone should be concerned about,” and that if it “were to spread, it would be consequential.”

The rare and potentially deadly cousin of the smallpox virus is traditionally confined to regions in Africa, but health officials are concerned about its recent wider spread.

Confirmed and suspected cases have been ticking up in Europe and North America, including at least two confirmed cases in the US.

Read more: Understanding Monkeypox and How Outbreaks Spread

Ashish Jha, the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator, said Sunday he wouldn’t be surprised if “a few more cases” emerged in the days ahead but that the virus is “not as contagious as Covid” and spreads “very differently.”

“So I am confident we’re going to be able to keep our arms around it,” Jha said.

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