Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under President Donald Trump, warns the spread of monkeypox could become the United States’ next public health failure.

“Now if monkeypox ‌gains a permanent foothold in the U‌nited States and becomes an endemic virus that joins our circulating repertoire of pathogens, it will be one of the worst public health failures in modern times not only because of the pain and peril of the disease but also because it was so avoidable,” Gottlieb wrote in a recent opinion-editorial for the New York Times. “Our lapses extend beyond political decision making to the agencies tasked with protecting us from these threats.”

Gottlieb, who now serves on Pfizer’s Board of Directors and is a partner at the venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates, also judged that the U.S. government’s missteps in tackling monkeypox are similar to its failures to combat the coronavirus.

“Our country’s response to monkeypox ‌‌has been plagued by the same shortcomings we had with Covid-19,” Gottlieb wrote.

“With COVID, the virus ‌‌gained ground quickly. With ‌‌monkeypox, which spreads more slowly, typically through very close contact, the shortcomings of CDC’s cultural approach haven’t been as acute yet. But the shortfalls are the same,” he added.

According to data published by the CDC, the U.S. has roughly 5,200 monkeypox cases.

UPI reports:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is designating monkeypox — an infectious viral disease that’s been showing up around the world recently — as a nationally notifiable condition on Monday.

The designation means that states are now required to report all confirmed and suspected monkeypox cases to the agency within 24 hours of discovery. States must also share surveillance data such as case numbers.

[…]

Monkeypox infection generally includes flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes followed by a blister- or pimple-like rash appearing on the skin. It commonly spreads through direct contact with an infectious rash, scabs or bodily fluid or touching items that have previously touched a rash or fluid.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a global health emergency on July 23rd. In recent days, New York City and San Francisco declared a public health emergency over monkeypox, which is allow for the cities to obtain additional resources to combat the viral disease.

W.H.O. chief

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

“We are continuing to see the numbers rise,” New York City Eric Mayor Adams stated. “This order will bolster our existing efforts to educate, vaccinate, test, and treat as many New Yorkers as possible and ensure a whole-of-government response to this outbreak.”

On Monday, CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen urged the Biden administration to “declare a state of emergency” due to the outbreak.

“I do think it’s time for the U.S. to declare a state of emergency […] because that will allow for a much better-coordinated response,” Wen said. “It will allow the Biden administration to appoint a monkeypox czar to oversee these efforts. It will also allow for more resources to be put into this as well. I hope that the window hasn’t closed. I think that there is still an opportunity just to underscore why this is the case. Monkeypox may not be as fatal as a lot of other illnesses, but we don’t want another disease that we have to worry about in perpetuity if it takes hold here.”