The Biden administration does not plan to renew the monkeypox emergency declaration and would end in January

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said Friday that it does not plan to renew the public health emergency (PHE) declaration for monkeypox.

“Over the next 60 days we will focus on supporting the jurisdictions and the Department to ensure that the expiration of the PHE does not impede response efforts,” the agency said in a statement. “The expiration of the PHE will signal that we are exiting the emergency phase of the outbreak and transitioning to the continued and urgent work of vaccinating those at risk and providing treatment and other support to those affected so that we can continue the progress towards a lasting end to the transmission of monkeypox”.

The statement was issued in early August amid criticism that the government had been slow to act on the outbreak, which mainly affected men who have sex with men.

As of Thursday afternoon, 29,603 cases have been reported across the country, with 17 deaths. However, an average of fewer than 10 cases per day is now being reported, down from the peak of more than 600 per day in early August.

“Given the low number of cases today, HHS does not expect it will be necessary to renew the emergency declaration when it ends on January 31, 2023,” US Health Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement Friday. “But we will not take our foot off the accelerator: we will continue to closely monitor case trends and encourage everyone at risk to get vaccinated for free.”