WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. will declare a public health emergency to bolster the federal response to the outbreak of monkeypox that already has infected more than 6,600 Americans, two people familiar with the matter said Thursday.
The announcement will free up federal funding and resources to fight the virus, which may cause fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement.
The declaration comes as the the Biden administration has faced criticism over the pace of vaccine availability for monkeypox. Clinics in major cities like New York and San Francisco say they haven’t received enough of the two-shot vaccine to meet demand and some have had to stop offering the second dose of the vaccine to ensure supply of first doses. The White House said it has made more than 1.1 million doses of vaccine available and has helped to boost domestic diagnostic capacity to 80,000 tests per week.
In an alarming assessment, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told world leaders Tuesday that nations are “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction” and aren’t ready or willing to tackle the major challenges that threaten the future of humanity and the fate of the planet. Speaking at the opening of the General Assembly’s annual top-level meeting, the U.N. chief pointed to the war in Ukraine, multiplying conflicts around the world, the climate emergency, the dire financial situation of developing countries, and recent reversals of progress on such U.N. goals as ending extreme poverty and providing quality education for all children.
Experts agree that lack of access to nutritious food in certain areas, the impacts of poor eating habits during the pandemic and intense weight-related stigma are worsening childhood obesity challenges.
An influential health guidelines group says U.S. doctors should regularly screen adults for anxiety. It’s the first time the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended anxiety screening in primary care for adults without symptoms. The report released Tuesday is open for public comment until Oct. 17. The group usually affirms its draft guidance. Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health complaints, affecting about 40% of U.S. women at some point in their lives and more than 1 in 4 men. The panel's guidance often determines insurance decisions.
Federal authorities have charged 48 people in what they're calling the largest pandemic-related fraud scheme yet uncovered. The defendants allegedly stole $250 million from a federal program that provides meals to low-income children. But prosecutors say few meals were actually served, and the defendants used the money to buy luxury cars, property and jewelry. Documents made public Tuesday charge the defendants with counts including conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and bribery. Prosecutors say the defendants created companies that claimed to be offering food to thousands of kids, then sought reimbursement. This year, the U.S. Justice Department has made prosecuting pandemic-related fraud a priority and has stepped up enforcement actions.